Tributes paid following death of Jack Daly, former Chancellor at the University of Limerick

Posted in Life on June 30th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Many tributes were paid this week to Jack Daly former Chancellor at the University of Limerick and chairman of the Shannon Development Company, who has passed away. ‘He played a major role in the development of the Mid-West region through his role with Shannon Development and at the university where he was both Chancellor and the first chairman when it received university status’, said Deputy Willie O’Dea …” (more)

[Limerick Leader, 30 June]

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Students need a sense of home not found on a screen

Posted in Life on June 29th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Despite overwhelmingly positive advancements with regards to the easing of Ireland’s lockdown restrictions, uncertainty about the future still remains a huge issue weighing on the minds of students in Trinity and beyond. Between the choice students face regarding Erasmus, and uncertainty surrounding housing and accommodation, the idea that all possible outcomes could culminate in working from a screen at home is becoming all the more plausible …” (more)

[Laura Galvin, Trinity News, 28 June]

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Posted in Life on June 26th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“In France during the lockdown there was a predictable run on Albert Camus’s 1947 novel La Peste (The Plague). I certainly ran back to it when the Pandemic struck. How, across the distance of three quarters of a century, does the Algerian-French writer put the experience of ‘plague’ into words? …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 26 June]

Maynooth University survey shows 62% of students felt ‘optimistic’ a little, or a lot, less often than usual’

Posted in Life, Teaching on June 25th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The latest results from a survey of Maynooth University students in response to Covid 19 show ‘62% of students indicate that they felt ‘optimistic’ a little, or a lot, less often than usual in the 30 days preceding the survey’ …” (more)

[Leinster Leader, 24 June]

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Can Modern Languages fly again in Irish HE?

Posted in Life on June 22nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“In a triumph of faith over experience, I’ve been preaching for well over a decade that UCD needs to introduce BA majors in Arabic, Russian, Japanese or/and Chinese language and literature. I believe this will happen one day. Later rather than sooner, I suspect. In the meantime, my organisation will continue to fail ourselves and to fail Ireland and its future. There are, granted, two flickers of hope …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 22 June]


Psychological Time

Posted in Life on June 21st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“So, the Summer Solstice for 2020 is now in the past. It’s all downhill from here! As the Solstice approached last night I was thinking back to the Vernal Equinox which had happened this year on March 20th, exactly three months before. That was at the end of Study Week in the Spring Semester but the students did not return the following week and we switched to remote teaching …” (more)

[In the Dark, 21 June]


Erasmus, interrupted

Posted in Life on June 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“In what would turn out to be one of my last classes at the University of Zaragoza (Unizar), a student raised her hand and asked if our assessed presentations would continue if the university had to close. The class laughed while the professor joked; we were all sure that it wouldn’t happen and so we turned our attention back to Postcolonial thought …” (more)

[Caoimhe Sweeney, Trinity News, 19 June]

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Calculating Academic Impact

Posted in Life on June 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Every academic currently working in an Irish university knows what ‘impact’ is. We all understand that, operationally, it’s a fairly brutal accounting tool, a means of calculating the individual academic’s net value to their employer and, indirectly I suppose, to Ireland inc. Perhaps other Irish universities are different, but certainly mine is not in the business of employing academics for the benefit of some nebulous ‘greater good’ or ‘common-wealth’ …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 18 June]


Reimagining University in the age of Covid-19

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Life on June 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Over the past months, much attention has been given to the impact of Covid-19 on those embarking on their third level education journey. Should you defer your university spot in the hope of a future college experience à la Normal People? Or would it be better to plough onwards, embracing Zoom lectures as part of the ‘new normal’? …” (more)

[Alison Burns, Irish Times, 17 June]


CAO applicants willing to go to college in autumn, but concern around making friends and online learning – survey

Posted in Life on June 16th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Almost all CAO applicants in a recent survey said they would take up a college place in autumn, despite the Covid-19 restrictions. However, many have concerns about adapting to an online learning environment and making friends …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 16 June]

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The Ivory League

Posted in Life on June 15th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I hope I’m far, far away when the Irish universities’ EDI bonfire becomes an inferno. Because when it does it will be Dante-esque. For now though, there’s absolutely no sign that we’ve read any of the warnings on the box – Pandora’s …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 14 June]

Continuity UCD, the French President, and the Pandemic

Posted in Life on June 14th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I need to revisit the War metaphor. Is it really an apt way of saying today’s universities have gone to the dogs? Is it the right term to capture the de-realising contagion? Does it help or hinder our grasp of why this infection is so deadly for the wider body politic? I must also re-think the Plague image. Camus’s ‘plague thinking’ in his novel La Peste (The Plague) is an immense help, of course …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 12 June]


History, Languages, and the Public University

Posted in Life on June 13th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Regardless of the Pandemic, Europe is in deep trouble and so is the Public University. In this context, European Language & Literature departments need to make common anti-amnesiac cause with university History departments. Consider two salient facts. First, the way Irish current and cultural affairs are commented upon by academic voices in the Irish media …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 13 June]

Many students will struggle to find part-time jobs as costs drop only slightly

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Life on June 12th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The projected cost of living for students away from home has dropped for the first time in a decade to just under €12,000, according to a survey by Technological University Dublin. The marginal decrease from €12,171 to €11,948.25 is primarily down to lower mobile costs and the curtailment of social activities due to Covid-19. The survey of over 1,500 students was completed last month …” (more)

[Sarah Burns, Irish Times, 12 June]

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Academic Freedom on Leave from UCD

Posted in Life on June 11th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Academic freedom takes on a very ‘real’ complexion when you’re on research leave. Each day you’re absolutely free, in theory, to decide how to spend your time. In practice, the choices are limited. And this is not just because you will rightly have to account for your full-salaried time in your end-of-leave report …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 11 June]


Normal People is Flawed, But it Filled a Gap: Stories for College Students

Posted in Life on June 11th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“If you were to ask my eight-year-old self what my top three favourite books were, I would have ranked them as follows: (1) Molly Moon Stops the World, (2) The Dragonfly Pool and (3) Under the Hawthorn Tree. Molly Moon takes the lead, of course …” (more)

[Molly Furey, University Times, 10 June]

Dodging the Zombie Draft at UCD

Posted in Life on June 10th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“If Belfield were to burn, what would I mourn from my office? Not the books. Not the three filing cabinets and umpteen shelves already full of decades worth of teaching notes and administration memos and minutes. No. I’d miss three archives …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 10 June]


For Many Students, Summer Jobs Pay for College. Now That’s Gone

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Life on June 10th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“As someone who has embarked on several short-lived careers to fund my luxurious lifestyle of Xi’an spicy chips, sustainable vintage clothing and various summer trips, the prospect of not being able to earn money for the foreseeable future is a daunting and stressful one …” (more)

[Ella Connolly, University Times, 9 June]

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Confessions of a UCD Birdwatcher

Posted in Life on June 9th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“If bad things happened in your academic life, especially if they made a habit of it, what would you do? If it was less a question of things going wrong than of things not being sufficiently right for you to do your best work, then you might retreat …” (more)

[In a Strange Land, 9 June]


Can student life survive online?

Posted in Life on June 9th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Studying and learning is moving online. But third level is about so much more than academia: it’s about getting involved, joining clubs and societies, having new experiences, making new friends and making mistakes. If the Covid-19 crisis continues well into the next academic year, will students – particularly incoming first years – miss out on that formative college experience? …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 9 June]