Meeting in Person

Posted in Governance and administration on October 16th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday was the end of Week 4 of the Autumn Semester. Because Hallowe’en is on Sunday this year, the mid-term study break is a bit earlier than usual, meaning that Week 5 is the last week before that. That’s not to say we have a holiday of course, apart from the October Bank Holiday on 25th October, the first day of that week …” (more)

[In the Dark, 16 October]

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Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Life on October 6th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“On my way through the drizzle to my 2pm lecture today I happened to see Maynooth University Library Cat at his usual position so stopped to take a snap …” (more)

[In the Dark, 6 October]


Maynooth University’s first female president: ‘I have a daughter. I have a life. It is possible’

Posted in Governance and administration on October 4th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Until just over a year ago there had been no female university president in 428 years of higher education in Ireland. Today there are four; Prof Eeva Leinonen is the latest woman to take that step after taking over as president of Maynooth University last Friday …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 4 October]

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A New Regime

Posted in Governance and administration on September 30th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“With the departure of Professor Philip Nolan (whose last day at Maynooth is today) there will soon be a new regime in place at the University. Nobody knows what changes will take place, but there will undoubtedly be some. On a more personal note some things will change less than I originally planned …” (more)

[In the Dark, 30 September]

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Professor Philip Nolan retires as Maynooth University president after 10-year term

Posted in Governance and administration on September 30th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Professor Philip Nolan is retiring as president of Maynooth University today, after a 10-year term. Prof Nolan has also played a critical role in controlling the spread of Covid in Ireland as chair of Nphet’s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 30 September]

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University runs a 200km-roundtrip for students who can’t find a place to stay

Posted in Governance and administration on September 27th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“One of the country’s top universities has had to organise a more than 200km round-trip commuter bus due to the student accommodation crisis. Maynooth University said it has on-campus accommodation for 1,170 students, but this is ‘heavily oversubscribed’ and fully booked …” (more)

[Luke Byrne, Independent, 27 September]

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Back to the First Year

Posted in Teaching on September 27th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It’s a rainy Sunday evening and I’ve spent most of the day sorting out material for my first year module on Mechanics and Special Relativity. I’m looking forward to teaching a full class again. I like a big room and I particular like Physics Hall. The first lecture will be very introductory …” (more)

[In the Dark, 26 September]


Irish university warns students that lecturers may call security if masks aren’t worn in class

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on September 24th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“An Irish university has told students that campus security may forcibly remove them from lectures if they refuse to wear a face coverings or leave a classroom, as part of plans to ensure the safe return of classes this year. In an email circulated to students in one faculty in recent weeks, University College Cork told students that lecturers will ask them to wear a mask or leave the lecture hall …” (more)

[Stephen McDermott,, 24 September]

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The Autumnal Equinox 2021

Posted in Teaching on September 22nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“… Anyway, this is Welcome Week in Maynooth and, barring any sudden changes of plan, we’re due to start teaching first year students on Monday 7th September. Returning students commenced on Monday 20th. I gave my first lecture on Vector Calculus yesterday. That was the first in-person lecture I’ve done for over a year …” (more)

[In the Dark, 22 September]

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Back to Campus

Posted in Teaching on September 20th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Well here we are at last, back to campus. Returning students were back to lectures this morning and although our new students don’t begin their lectures until next Monday (27th September) a sizeable contingent who accepted first-round offers were also here today doing orientation activities …” (more)

[In the Dark, 20 September]


One week to go …

Posted in Life, Teaching on September 13th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It’s Monday 13th September 2021 which means that teaching begins a week today. Gulp. We still don’t really have any idea how many students we’ll have on our courses in the first year …” (more)

[In the Dark, 13 September]


Offers and Points

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday the Central Admissions Office released the first round offers for entry to Irish Universities; today the details appeared in the Irish newspapers. I don’t usually buy a newspaper on a weekday but I couldn’t resist getting a copy of the Irish Times so I could pore over the information presented in the CAO supplement, of which the picture above shows only a part …” (more)

[In the Dark, 8 September]

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AIB loans Maynooth University stainless-steel sculpture representing ‘hope and freedom’

Posted in Governance and administration on September 7th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The stainless steel ‘Freedom’ sculpture by artist Polish-Irish sculptor Alexandra Wejchert has been installed on the North Campus of Maynooth University. ‘Freedom’ appearing on campus is the result of under a long-term loan agreement between AIB and the University …” (more)

[Ciarán Mather, Leinster Leader, 6 September]


Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Life on September 2nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It occurred to me today that I haven’t posted anything about the famous Library Cat of Maynooth University for a while. He has generally been away on his wanders whenever I’ve passed his usual spot …” (more)

[In the Dark, 1 September]


Back to School …

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 31st, 2021 by steve

Ireland“… Three weeks today we are supposed to start teaching returning students; first years won’t start until 27th September. I wish I could say I was optimistic about this. With Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations climbing it feels very much like it did last year. Nevertheless the powers that be are insisting that we proceed with full lecture theatres without social distance …” (more)

[In the Dark, 30 August]

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Students will return to ‘near normal’ college experience in September

Posted in Research, Teaching on August 23rd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Students will return to a ‘near normal’ third level experience when colleges reopen in September, Nphet’s Prof Philip Nolan said. Prof Nolan, a public health expert and president of Maynooth University, said some mitigations such as mask wearing and distancing measures will remain …” (more)

[James Ward, Belfast Telegraph, 23 August]

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Vaccination for Lectures?

Posted in Teaching on August 21st, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The full guidelines on the return to on-campus teaching in September that I referred to on Monday have now been distributed to all staff, not without comment. Basically the new advice is that in-person teaching will return in September (in fact a month from today in Maynooth) for all forms of class except lectures containing over 250 people, which will be online. Lecture halls and labs will be at full capacity, ie with no social distancing requirement …” (more)

[In the Dark, 20 August]

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A period of readjustment …

Posted in Life, Teaching on August 15th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It’s been a rather busy weekend as I’ve tried to complete the grading my repeat examinations. I’m almost done but I have six more scripts to do, which I will finish tomorrow morning. Once again I’ve set a bad example by being later than everyone else, but at least I’m not going to miss the deadline …” (more)

[In the Dark, 15 August]

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Repeat Message …

Posted in Teaching on August 4th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Back to work after yesterday’s Bank Holiday and almost immediately it’s the repeat examination period at Maynooth University, which starts tomorrow. My first is tomorrow afternoon, actually. I have another on Thursday and three next week. All these papers are to be held online as has been the case for the past year and a bit. Perhaps the next set of examinations in January 2022 will be back to normal, but we have to wait and see about that …” (more)

[In the Dark, 3 August]

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New Term Ahead!

Posted in Teaching on July 28th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“I know that there are quite a few people out there who think the summer is one long holiday for academic staff. Well, it may still be July but after my 10 days away that’s the holidays over as far as I’m concerned. Next week the Repeat Examination period begins; it lasts from 4th August to 14th August. Once again these examinations are online and once again they have to be supervised by a member of academic staff. I have five paper scheduled and have to be at the screen for all of them …” (more)

[In the Dark, 28 July]