School Safety Plans Show PhDs Should Not Be Treated as an ‘Afterthought’

Posted in Governance and administration on August 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“PhD students have consistently expressed frustration with College’s lack of communication with them, and it seems that the pandemic has not improved the situation. The University Times this week reported that PhD students had been left in the dark about plans to reopen College this September. Once again, it seems, PhDs have firm grounds for frustration – perhaps even more than any other year …” (more)

[University Times, 16 August]

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PhDs Raise Concerns Over Lack of Communication on Re-Opening Plans

Posted in Teaching on August 14th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“PhD students have said that they were frozen out of reopening plans by the College and feel left in the dark about what teaching and tutorials are going to look like for the coming year. One of the founders of Trinity’s PhD Workers Rights Group, Thomas Dineen, told The University Times that some schools in Trinity did not involve PhD students in their ‘return to work’ committees, set up to plan the reopening of College …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 13 August]

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PhD Students Fear Entering Library Due to Lack of Face Coverings

Posted in Governance and administration on August 10th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A number of PhD researchers have said that they no longer feel safe studying in the library as most students working there are not wearing face coverings. It is currently not mandatory to wear face coverings in the library, but students are expected to social distance while studying there …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 9 August]

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Viva Zoom!

Posted in Life on July 13th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“They say that there’s a first time for everything and this morning I conducted my first ever viva voce examination as an External Examiner via Zoom. Given the Covid-19 restrictions it was inevitable that I’d have to do this at some point! As it turned out candidate in question happened to be at University College London …” (more)

[In the Dark, 13 July]

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Zoom, shut up and write: How PhD students cope amid COVID-19

Posted in Research on June 22nd, 2020 by steve

International“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted researchers, academics and students worldwide. No one in academia is spared the direct or indirect consequences of this novel coronavirus. For higher degree research (HDR) students (masters and PhD students), the impact of COVID-19 on their research and how they keep themselves sane and academically productive during these unprecedented times is profound …” (more)

[Kimkong Heng and Daeul Jeong, University World News, 20 June]

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Trinity’s PhD Campaigners Slam New Government Plans for Third-Level

Posted in Governance and administration on June 16th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Trinity’s PhD workers’ rights group has denounced a new draft programme for government for its failure to promise a new department for higher education, arguing it represents a ‘failure to show a strong commitment to our youth’ …” (more)

[Emer Moreau, University Times, 16 June]

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NUIG postgraduates launch petition for ‘fair working environment’

Posted in Governance and administration on May 21st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“NUI Galway’s Postgraduate Workers Alliance launched a petition this week calling for ‘a fair working environment and Covid-19 response’ for PhD and post-doctoral researchers at the university …” (more)

[Kernan Andrews, Galway Advertiser, 21 May]

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Virtual Thesis Defense

Posted in Teaching on March 27th, 2020 by steve

“PhD students defending their dissertations must do so remotely right now. Could videoconference defenses become the new normal? ‘Can you move the computer closer?’ asks a disembodied voice. ‘Because we see a lot of roof.’ ‘Ah, I think it looks much better’, another invisible person says a few minutes later …” (more)

[Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, 27 March]

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Teaching assistants debate strike at PhD townhall meeting

Posted in Governance and administration on February 6th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“PhD students have expressed their anger during a townhall meeting this evening at a decision approved by College’s finance committee to cut the pay of casual staff who work as lab demonstrators. The decision to cut pay was temporarily reversed on Tuesday at a meeting of the finance committee, and a final decision has been deferred to a future meeting …” (more)

[Finn Purdy, Shannon Connolly and Madalyn Williams, Trinity News, 5 February]

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PhD student awarded €13,035 damages against NUI Galway over final ‘viva’ exam delay

Posted in Legal issues on January 17th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“A PhD mathematical student has won his action against NUI Galway over a delay in scheduling his final ‘viva’ exam, which delayed his graduation and damaged his employment prospects. Isaac Burke (27), of Castlebar Co Mayo, who represented himself in the proceedings, was awarded damages of €13,035 by Judge Raymond Groarke at Galway Circuit Civil Court for breach of contract …” (more)

[Eavan Murray, Independent, 16 January]

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Time for PhD supervision

Posted in Teaching on December 29th, 2019 by steve

“Some aspects of academia show great international variation. There is one on which I haven’t found any good data, and hence thought I’ll ask the crowd here so that we can gather our own data, even if it will be not very scientifically collected. The question is this: if you are a university teacher/professor and your department awards PhD-degrees, do you get any official time allocated (or time-compensation) for PhD supervision? …” (more)

[Ingrid Robeyns, Crooked Timber, 29 December]


Postgraduate and ‘casual’ teaching staff are taken for granted by Trinity

Posted in Governance and administration on December 4th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Contrary to popular belief, teaching and lecturing at university by no means automatically guarantees secure employment, ample time to pursue research, and a cosy office in which to do it. Over the past decade or so, especially since the recession in 2008/09, Irish universities, and indeed universities throughout the world, have begun to rely more and more on hourly paid or temporary staff to cover tutorials, seminars, lectures, and lab sessions …” (more)

[Trinity News, 3 December]

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SIPTU and USI launch charter for better rights and conditions for postgraduates

Posted in Governance and administration on October 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“SIPTU and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have launched a Charter of Rights and Conditions for Postgraduates which calls for a living wage, better access to supports and training as well as other improvements for those who carry out teaching and other work in third level institutions across the country …” (more)

[SIPTU, 30 October]

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Trinity’s PhD Students Face a Litany of Issues. They Must Pick Their Battles

Posted in Governance and administration on October 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“If anyone was in any doubt about just how bad conditions are for PhD students working and studying in Trinity, they’d have had them dispelled – firmly – last week. At the first meeting of Trinity’s new PhD campaign group – set up to fight for the rights of PhD students – those in attendance spilled a litany of beans …” (more)

[University Times, 28 October]


Trinity PhD workers rights group to be established

Posted in Governance and administration on October 19th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A Trinity PhD workers rights group is being established to advocate for the recognition and protection of working rights of PhD students in Trinity and other Irish universities. Among the group’s central aims are the recognition of PhD students as workers, with contracts and full employee and collective bargaining rights; an end to unpaid teaching; and PhD stipends based on the living wage …” (more)

[Aisling Grace, Trinity News, 18 October]

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Former Trinity lecturer accused of plagiarism by student

Posted in Legal issues, Research on September 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Adebola Adedimeji, a former Trinity lecturer, failed to defend his work in court after being accused of plagiarism by his former thesis supervisee, Annette Rochford. Rochford, a clinical nurse specialist, has accused Adedimeji of presenting her research as his own on two separate occasions …” (more)

[Jessica Hobbs Pifer, Trinity News, 8 September]

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‘I’ve had enough’ – Trinity PhD student writes to minister demanding rent subsidy

Posted in Life on September 4th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A Trinity College Dublin (TCD) student has penned a letter to the minister of third level education claiming that PhD students are forgotten in Ireland. The letter asks for an accommodation subsidy to be provided to students as the maximum stipend of €18,000 per year makes living in Dublin difficult to afford …” (more)

[Gabija Gataveckaite, Independent, 3 September]

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Sausage Machines in the Academic Lab

Posted in Life on July 22nd, 2019 by steve

“There was a bit of a spat over Twitter last week regarding how many hours students (and postdocs) should be expected to do at the bench. This originated in a tweet from a professor of chemistry but I don’t think it is necessary to go through the exchanges in any detail. Suffice it to say that the originator believed that it was impossible to ‘do world class science in 38 hrs per week’. Others challenged him that work-life balance was important, amongst other complaints …” (more)

[Athene Donald’s Blog, 22 July]

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PhD student has monthly grant cut by €400 over Google Maps calculation

Posted in Governance and administration on July 12th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A PhD student will have her monthly grant cut by €400 after a shorter route to her university was calculated via an unnamed road on Google Maps. Niamh Dillon, who is in the second year of her PhD at the University of Limerick, will see her Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant cut after the awarding body calculated a shorter distance for her to travel to university …” (more)

[Jess Casey, Irish Examiner, 11 July]

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What is this ‘anti-PhD’ attitude about?

Posted in Life on May 15th, 2019 by steve

“Lately, more and more students want a non-academic job when they finish their PhD. Anecdotally, some graduates seem to be experiencing the PhD as a barrier to employment, not an enabler. In fact, I’ve heard so much negative talk about how employers react to PhD holders over the years that it seemed important to start looking at this phenomenon more closely …” (more)

[The Thesis Whisperer, 13 May]

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