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]


Stepping Down

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on July 3rd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“I was planning to be on leave now; I intended to make up for the fact that I didn’t get a summer holiday last year by taking most of July off. Unfortunately that was not to be and I have to stay at work for at least another week to participate in an interview panel …” (more)

[In the Dark, 3 July]

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Boards of Examination

Posted in Teaching on June 12th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“We’ve at last staggered to the end of a week dominated by Examination matters. For myself that consisted of preliminary Examination Boards for Theoretical Physics and Engineering (for which we teach modules in Engineering Mathematics) followed by Final Examination Boards in both subjects with External Examiners present. Those final meetings both took place today so it’s been a particularly busy end of the week …” (more)

[In the Dark, 11 June]

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Former professor ‘disagrees’ with Maynooth president at Labour Court hearing

Posted in Governance and administration on May 15th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“A former professor at Maynooth University said he ‘strongly disagreed’ with the conclusion of the college’s president, Prof Philip Nolan, that the professional relationship between two senior academics had broken down and one of the parties needed to be moved to a different role where they had no teaching or research work …” (more)

[Seán McCárthaigh, Irish Times, 14 May]

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Remote Exam Time Again

Posted in Teaching on May 14th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It’s Friday 14th May 2021 which means that it’s the first day of the Summer examination period here in Maynooth, so let me begin by sending my best wishes to everyone taking examinations today and over the next few weeks, wherever you are. It’s a lovely morning in Maynooth. It seems to be a law of Nature that examinations always take place when the weather outside is nice …” (more)

[In the Dark, 14 May]

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Prof Philip Nolan accused of acting as ‘judge, jury and executioner’ in row between two senior academics

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on May 14th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The president of Maynooth University, Philip Nolan, has been accused of acting as ‘judge, jury and executioner’ in dealing with a row between two senior academics, which has left one professor on an annual salary of €154,000 without work for almost five years …” (more)

[Sean McCarthaigh, Irish Examiner, 13 May]

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Maynooth University: ‘We are planning for a number of scenarios’

Posted in Governance and administration on May 11th, 2021 by steve

IrelandQ: How ready is Maynooth University for a return to campus? A: We would like to bring our students back to the campus as soon as we can. Ultimately, the key factor is the public-health guidance that is in place in September. We are planning for a number of different scenarios, in consultation with the Department for Higher Education. While on-campus, in-person activity remains at the core of what we do in the university, there are aspects of the online teaching and learning environment that we would like to retain to further enhance the student experience …” (more)

[Irish Times, 11 May]

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Our resilient third-level students deserve action

Posted in Life on April 30th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“I teach sociology at Maynooth University which means I used to spend most of my waking hours surrounded by 18- to 22-year-olds, not to mention a good number of mature students. During the pandemic, I have heard people saying that third-level students, like mine, are impatient, demanding, materialistic, selfish and above all they are the ‘snowflake’ generation – fragile and lacking in resilience. They have no backbone or strength. To this I ask: Have you met my students? …” (more)

[Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Independent, 30 April]

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Prison university project to ‘bring third-level to those furthest away from it’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on April 19th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“A programme to support prisoners to go to university, and ‘bring third-level education to those furthest away from it’ will be unveiled on Monday by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and her colleague, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris. The Mountjoy and Maynooth University (MJMU) project aims to become a template across the prison service to ‘disrupt the inevitability’ of a life in and out of the prison system for many offenders …” (more)

[Kitty Holland, Irish Times, 19 April]

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Spring Return

Posted in Life on April 12th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“After a few days off last week following the Easter Bank Holiday weekend it’s time to get back into the swing of things for the four weeks of teaching term that remain. It’s back to school today for all school students in Ireland too, so good luck to them on their first day in the classroom since Christmas! …” (more)

[In the Dark, 12 April]

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Maynooth University Library Cat Update

Posted in Life on March 19th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Yesterday I was summoned to a meeting on Campus so on the way there I took the opportunity to check up on Maynooth University Library Cat who I haven’t seen for over a month …” (more)

[In the Dark, 19 March]

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A Year of Closure

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

Ireland“Today is 12th March 2021, which means it is exactly one year since Maynooth University campus closed because of Covid-19. Last year 12th March was on a Thursday and I remember doing my Computational Physics lecture in the morning and a computer lab in the afternoon and then heard we couldn’t go back to teaching the following day …” (more)

[In the Dark, 12 March]

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Fears for STEM at Maynooth

Posted in Governance and administration on March 11th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“On Monday I reported that Maynooth has selected a new President in the form of Professor Eeva Leinonen who is currently Vice Chancellor at Murdoch University in Australia. I was initially pleased to see the announcement, but news is coming out now that is filling me and my colleagues in STEM subjects with a sense of alarm …” (more)

[In the Dark, 11 March]

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Eeva Leinonen unveiled as next Maynooth University president

Posted in Governance and administration on March 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Maynooth University has announced the appointment of Prof Eeva Leinonen as its next president. Prof Leinonen will formally assume the position on October 1st and replaces Prof Philip Nolan who has led the university for the last 10 years …” (more)

[Mark Hilliard, Irish Times, 8 March]

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Minister Harris launches National Gender Equality resource for Higher Education Institutions

Posted in Governance and administration on March 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today marked International Women’s Day by launching the National Gender Equality Dashboard for Higher Education Institutions. The dashboard, developed by Maynooth University, provides an invaluable resource on gender equality in Higher Education Institutions …” (more)

[, 8 March]

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Announcement of the Next President of Maynooth University

Posted in Governance and administration on March 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The Governing Authority of Maynooth University today appointed Professor Eeva Leinonen to be its next President effective from 1 October 2021. Professor Leinonen will succeed Professor Philip Nolan who has led the University for the past 10 years. Professor Leinonen has held the role of Vice Chancellor of Murdoch University, Perth, Australia since 2016, having previously been Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia …” (more)

[Maynooth University, 8 March]

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Academic on €154,000 salary has no work to do, Labour Court hears

Posted in Legal issues on March 6th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“An academic on a €154,000 salary claims he has had no role or work at Maynooth University for the last 4½ years as a result of being penalised by the institution’s authorities for making a protected disclosure …” (more)

[Sean McCárthaigh, Irish Times, 5 March]

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A Year of Covid-19 in Maynooth

Posted in Life on February 22nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“One useful thing about having a blog is that I can look through my back catalogue of posts quite easily to remind me exactly when things happened. Doing that over the weekend I discovered that it was exactly a year ago today that I travelled from Maynooth into Dublin to see a production of Fidelio …” (more)

[In the Dark, 22 February]

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College costs have fallen but expect return to ‘normal’ in 2021

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Life on January 12th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Student budgets, like the rest of the world, have been thrown upside down by the pandemic. For some, the costs of living have increased because they’re out of work, still paying rent and paying higher broadband, heat and electricity bills as a result of working at home …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 12 January]

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Cold Spell

Posted in Life on January 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“It’s bitterly cold in Maynooth today. We haven’t had much snow but it sure is freezing. As I write it’s 1pm and the temperature is only -4°C. I went to put some stuff in the wheelie bin just now but the lid was frozen shut …” (more)

[In the Dark, 9 January]