What are universities for?

Posted in Governance and administration on May 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“So asked Diarmaid Ferriter recently in the Irish Times. It’s easy to dismiss a question like this as being too vague or too ‘philosophical’, the sort of ivory tower question that academics are prone to ask without ever providing any answers. But, in fact, this question goes to the heart of the entire debate around third level education …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 15 May]


President urges universities to return to ‘humanistic’ values

Posted in Governance and administration on April 11th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“‘Creativity’ is in great danger of misuse and at risk of being reduced to an ‘advertising slogan’, President Michael D Higgins has warned. Speaking at the opening of NUI Galway’s (NUIG) new O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, Mr Higgins has also appealed to universities to ‘re-dedicate themselves to originality of thought and a commitment to humanistic values in teaching’ …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 10 April]

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Hatred, Division and the University

Posted in Governance and administration on March 22nd, 2017 by steve

“Although I am not a citizen of The Netherlands, I am relieved that Geert Wilders will not be the next prime minister there. I found his anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric reprehensible. Likewise, I hope that Marine Le Pen will fail in her election bid to become France’s next president …” (more)

[Liz Reisberg, Inside Higher Ed, 21 March]

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A University is not a Factory

Posted in Governance and administration on September 21st, 2016 by steve

Ireland“There has been a great deal of debate over the future of Irish universities over the past few weeks. The publication of the Cassels report, along with the plummeting of almost all Irish universities down the QS rankings, has pushed the issue of third education in Ireland into the limelight …” (more)

[Michael Foley, Trinity News, 21 September]

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Universities also have to ask themselves a few questions about their slide in rankings

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on September 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The sizeable falls in world university rankings of practically all Irish universities is adding to the pressure on the Government to take some action on third-level funding. The current model is broken …” (more)

[Richard Curran, Independent, 8 September]

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Third-level education in crisis

Posted in Governance and administration on September 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I wish to express my concern and disappointment at the failure to date to address and to help resolve the crisis in the funding of Irish universities. The significant falls in the ranking of our best universities in the QS ranking of world universities highlight the impact funding cuts have had …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 8 September]

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Why Society Needs Historians

Posted in Research on June 7th, 2016 by steve

UK“… Johnston, it must be remembered, was an oncologist before going into university leadership, so he’s one of the Good Guys. He deserves our respect. But this doesn’t stop this being stupid, philistine, nonsense …” (more)

[Jonathan Healey, The Social Historian, 4 June]

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In an Underfunded Sector, We Cannot Let Financial Interests Dictate Academia

Posted in Governance and administration on June 6th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Comments made by the vice-chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, Patrick Johnston, earlier this week sparked passionate backlash from academics and those interested in the preservation of a university’s mission of academia …” (more)

[University Times, 5 June]

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Massification Causes Stratification

Posted in Governance and administration on May 5th, 2016 by steve

Canada“Once upon a time, higher education was small. Really small. Only a very few people could enter it, and the value of a degree was enormous. Not just in terms of skills/knowledge acquired, or the credential, but also social status …” (more)

[Alex Usher, HESA, 5 May]

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Role of the universities

Posted in Teaching on April 25th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The success of Ireland’s second-level education system used to lie in its capacity for turning out broadly and soundly educated students. Now, however, Colin Walsh (April 15th) would like university humanities students to study differential equations, and university engineering students to learn about the German Enlightenment …” (more)

[Anthony Quinn, Irish Times, 25 April]


The role of universities

Posted in Governance and administration on April 15th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – When universities bow to pressure from industry to produce less learned but more skilled graduates, they do students a disservice. Degrees take at least three or four years to complete; there is sufficient time to teach skills useful to the workplace and also to expose students to ideas from other disciplines that might help them to develop insight, perspective and critical thinking …” (more)

[Colin Walsh, Irish Times, 15 April]

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President Higgins: Universities facing ‘intellectual crisis’

Posted in Governance and administration on April 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Universities are under increasing pressure to produce graduates solely for the labour market and face an ‘intellectual crisis’ over their role in society, President Michael D Higgins has said. Speaking at the annual conference of the European Universities Association in NUI Galway, Mr Higgins said higher education has a crucial role to play in laying the foundations of a society that is more inclusive, participatory and equal …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 8 April]

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Third level intellectual progress needed – Higgins

Posted in Governance and administration on April 7th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“President Michael D Higgins has said universities must drive social and intellectual development, instead of focusing solely on economic requirements. President Higgins was speaking at the annual conference of the European Universities Association, which is being held at NUI, Galway …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 7 April]

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It’s time somebody shouted stop to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s education plans

Posted in Governance and administration on March 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“In his famous essay ‘The Murder Machine’, Pádraig Pearse’s wrote that ‘without freedom there can be no right growth, and education is properly the fostering of the right growth of a personality’ …” (more)

[John Walshe, Independent, 29 March]


What are universities for?

Posted in Governance and administration on March 18th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Tom Boland, chief executive of the Higher Education Authority, claims that the latest exercise in assessing performance in Irish higher education ‘offers proof to those who fund it, and rely on it, that it is meeting national needs’, (‘We finally know for sure how our colleges are faring’, March 15th) …” (more)

[Peadar Kirby, Irish Times, 18 March]

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Education for all …

Posted in Governance and administration on March 5th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Odd piece in the Irish Times recently, by Joe Humphrey’s in that papers all too unprovocative ‘unthinkable’ slot, which asks in the headline and subhead …” (more)

[The Cedar Lounge Revolution, 4 March]

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The free market and education

Posted in Governance and administration on February 24th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I enjoyed reading Stephen O’Brien’s warning about the dangers of free-market principles dominating third-level education (‘We don’t need no free-market education’, Education Opinion, February 23rd). I share his implicit fear that Irish universities will simply become training institutes for multinational corporations …” (more)

[William Prasifka, Irish Times, 24 February]

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Over-educated and unproductive: the reality of third-level today

Posted in Governance and administration on January 15th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The Irish Mammy’s greatest pride is no longer a son in the priesthood – it’s a child with a PhD. We’ve been herding students into third-level to the point where Ireland now has the second highest proportion of young people in Europe with a third-level degree …” (more)

[Fionn Rogan, Irish Times, 14 January]

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We cannot change our core values for Chinese students

Posted in Governance and administration on January 14th, 2016 by steve

China“One of the great ironic juxtapositions of 2015 must surely have been the cheering, red-T-shirted crowds lining the Mall in London for the carriage procession of China’s president, Xi Jinping, to Buckingham Palace, while, half a mile away, a very different crowd queued for tickets to Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts …” (more)

[Tao Zhang, Times Higher Education, 14 Janauary]

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A knowledge economy or a spoofers paradise?

Posted in Teaching on December 17th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The dreary Atlantic weather has plastered itself upon my window as I find myself in the early December struggle that us students often face at this time of year – that seemingly eternal battle against procrastination …” (more)

[Darren Campion, Irish Times, 16 December]