Brexit fears spur Northerners’ Trinity snub

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on July 2nd, 2018 by steve

“A sharp fall in applications to Trinity College Dublin from students from the North has been blamed on Brexit. Just 759 CAO applications were made to Trinity from Northern students this year – a hefty drop from last year’s 964. Between 2014 and 2018, application numbers had steadily increased each year to the high of 964 last year, following efforts by Trinity to become a ‘university for the whole island’ …” (more)

[Nick Bramhill, Independent, 1 July]

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Crying ‘grade inflation’ dismisses students’ achievements at university

Posted in Teaching on June 22nd, 2018 by steve

“On Thursday morning, I travelled to another university to act as an external examiner for one of their degrees. Before I left the house, I listened to the Today programme. On the show, I heard Tom Richmond from the think-tank Reform complaining that universities were ‘handing out incredible numbers of top degrees’ because the system allows them to ‘mark their own homework’ …” (more)

[Alice Bennett, New Statesman, 22 June]

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Universities UK renews call for ‘urgent clarity’ on EU students’ fee status

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 21st, 2018 by steve

“Universities UK has renewed its call for urgent clarity about the fee status of EU students starting courses in the UK during the Brexit transition period (2019-20), warning that the country could see a drop in EU students otherwise …” (more)

[Kerrie Kennedy, The PIE News, 20 June]

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Too many firsts risk universities’ credibility, says think tank

Posted in Teaching on June 21st, 2018 by steve

“Universities risk losing their credibility due to ‘rocketing’ grade inflation, a think tank has said. According to Reform, the proportion of firsts awarded almost doubled between 1997-2009 and rose by 26% since 2010 …” (more)

[BBC News, 21 June]

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Universities urged not to offer places to students based on predicted grades

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 19th, 2018 by steve

“Predicted grades should not be used by universities to make offers to students, a union has said. The UK is ‘out of step’ with the rest of the world on university admissions, according to the University and College Union (UCU) which is calling for an overhaul of the system …” (more)

[Alison Kershaw, Belfast Telegraph, 19 June]

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University of Limerick seeks to rebuild trust after controversies

Posted in Governance and administration on June 18th, 2018 by steve

“The walls of the University of Limerick (UL) president’s office are plastered with Post-It notes, maps, flow charts and lists of faculty members. Dr Des Fitzgerald has no shortage of plans for the university, but much of his time has been spent mired in a swamp of allegations over misspending and poor human resources practices …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 June]

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We must confront the culture of overwork to tackle academia’s mental health crisis

Posted in Life on June 17th, 2018 by steve

“For me, as for many others at Cardiff University, the recent news coverage of Malcolm Anderson’s suicide has been a real blow. I did not know the accounting lecturer personally. The thing that was so shocking about reading the articles was just how familiar many of the details felt …” (more)

[Grace Krause, Times Higher Education, 14 June]

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NI student loan debt hits almost £3.3bn

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 15th, 2018 by steve

“Northern Ireland’s outstanding student debt stands at almost £3.3bn. The total tuition fee and maintenance loan debt has risen 10% since last year when it stood at just under £3bn. Only about one in six people in Northern Ireland have fully repaid their student loans …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 15 June]

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Open access – are we almost there for REF?

Posted in Research on June 14th, 2018 by steve

“A report published today by Research England (on behalf of the research councils, Jisc and Wellcome) shows that UK universities are working hard to ensure that they are compliant with funders’ open access policies. The support from authors, professional services staff and academic libraries has been crucial in implementing open access …” (more)

[David Sweeney, Wonkhe, 14 June]

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UK university figures show up to fivefold rise in first-class degrees

Posted in Teaching on June 14th, 2018 by steve

“British universities have been handing out higher-class degrees at an unprecedented rate over the past decade, according to detailed figures released by the higher education regulator. The figures, from a selection of universities taking part in the government’s latest teaching excellence framework, known as Tef3, show huge variation …” (more)

[Richard Adams, Guardian, 13 June]

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What’s in a name – how much does the word ‘university’ matter?

Posted in Governance and administration on June 14th, 2018 by steve

“Oxford and Cambridge, with their medieval foundations, photogenic colleges, ample wine cellars and large endowments, are held up as the archetypical universities. Their graduates go from PPE to PR to PM …” (more)

[George Feiger, Wonkhe, 13 June]

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Universities’ league table obsession triggers mental health crisis fears

Posted in Research on June 12th, 2018 by steve

“Academic researcher John Banks (not his real name) still has big personal regrets about bowing to pressure from his former university in the run-up to the government’s last high-stakes audit of research. Universities obsess about the government’s Research Excellence Framework, known as the Ref, with good reason …” (more)

[Anna Fazackerley, Guardian, 12 June]

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Brexit and higher education – the Irish question resolved?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 12th, 2018 by steve

“Intractable discussions about how to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland may be continuing, but one element of the relationship between Ireland and the UK post-Brexit appears to be capable of a positive resolution …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 11 June]

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Student loan debt harms mental health, careers and home ownership for many years, study says

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 11th, 2018 by steve

“Having large student loan debts leads to lower job satisfaction, harms people’s physical and mental health and affects their lifelong finances, a study has found. Such debts are more likely to make people delay buying a home and to mean that when they do take out a mortgage, they buy lower-value properties, the researchers say …” (more)

[Jane Dalton, Independent, 11 June]

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What will Brexit mean for Irish students?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 5th, 2018 by steve

“Big intractable political and economic issues continue to dominate Brexit negotiations. Almost everything else is relegated to a ‘it will be all right on the night’ approach backed by vague assurances from the UK government and dismissive ‘we’ll see’ responses from Europe …” (more)

[Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish Times, 5 June]

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Book Review: ‘Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures’ edited by Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad

Posted in Governance and administration on June 3rd, 2018 by steve

“It is all too easy when reviewing academic books to refer to collections as ‘timely’, ‘pressing’ or ‘wide-reaching’, but these words can be no more sincerely meant than in the case of Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad’s Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures. In the wake of the widespread strike action across UK universities in recent months, and ensuing discussions about the marketisation of higher education, academic precarity and the relationship between the individual and the institution, Taylor and Lahad’s work is more pertinent and necessary than ever …” (more)

[LSE Impact Blog, 3 June]

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I struggle when hiring academics – because the candidates are too good

Posted in Governance and administration on June 1st, 2018 by steve

“Some employers complain about not having enough good candidates to fill roles. I envy them. Imagine working in an industry where entry-level jobs require ‘world-leading’ research records, where far more people are graduating from PhD programmes than the academy will ever employ. The problem is that nearly everyone on the long list for your new permanent lectureship is amazing …” (more)

[Guardian, 1 June]

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Call for Ireland to maintain strong research links with UK after Brexit

Posted in Research on May 31st, 2018 by steve

“The Government’s Brexit Strategy should seek to preserve the closest possible research links between Ireland and the UK, according to the president of the Royal Irish Academy, Prof Peter Kennedy. The strength of the current relationship was reflected in the scale of research collaborations currently undertaken jointly by the neighbouring countries, he said at a ceremony in Dublin to admit new RIA members …” (more)

[Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish Times, 29 May]

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Why UK universities are funding Irish students to come home to vote

Posted in Governance and administration on May 23rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Tears poured silently down my face as the Oxford Student’s Union debated the merits of the proposed motion: should eligible Irish students, regardless of means or voting preference, be financially supported to exercise their democratic right in Ireland’s upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment? …” (more)

[Jennifer Cassidy, Irish Times, 23 May]

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Grade inflation: a clear and present danger

Posted in Teaching on May 18th, 2018 by steve

“Grade inflation is endemic in our higher education system. What’s more, its pace appears to be accelerating and neither high tariff nor low tariff institutions are immune. The regular newspaper articles showcasing the latest growth in firsts and 2:1s have become an expected feature of the summer, yet the sector still shows a failure to truly grip this nettle. Too often, debates over whether it really exists are still taking the place of genuine attempts to reform …” (more)

[Iain Mansfield, Wonkhe, 17 May]

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