Are university seats different?

Posted in Governance and administration on December 14th, 2019 by steve

“Though a Conservative landslide was always on the cards, something about the 2019 election result has unsettled the higher education sector. The infamous Michael Gove quote about experts, and very visible remain advocacy during the 2016 referendum campaign, has positioned the sector outside of the mainstream of UK culture …” (more)

[David Kernohan, Wonkhe, 14 December]


University of Limerick staff to be balloted for industrial action next week

Posted in Governance and administration on December 5th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“University of Limerick staff are set to be balloted for potential strike action next week as they reject UL’s Executive Committee’s offer for an extended consultation period for structural changes within the university’s schools and departments. On Monday, the Executive Committee, which is chaired by UL President Des Fitzgerald, informed staff via email that they are ‘more than happy’ to provide ‘additional time to facilitate collaborative debate’ on the proposed condensing of the university’s 24 schools and departments into 10 …” (more)

[Rebecca Laffan, Limerick Leader, 5 December]

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Solidarity with the UCU Strikers!

Posted in Governance and administration on November 25th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The anticipated strikes of staff from UK universities have begun: they will last from today (November 25th 2019) until December 4th. The cause of the dispute is twofold: (1) the long-running saga of the Universities pension scheme (about which there were strikes in 2018); and (2) over pay, equality, workloads and the ever-increasing casualisation of lecturing and other work …” (more)

[In the Dark, 25 November]

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Universities braced for compensation claims as reveal plans to limit the impact of lecturers’ strikes

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on November 22nd, 2019 by steve

“Universities are braced for compensation claims as reveal their plans to limit the impact of lecturers’ strikes. Over a million students face disruption as academics from 60 universities signed up to strike over their pay and pension. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) voted to back strike action in two ballots over pensions and pay and working conditions …” (more)

[Camilla Turner, Telegraph, 21 November]


Queen’s and Ulster universities face eight-day strike

Posted in Governance and administration on November 7th, 2019 by steve

“Queen’s University and Ulster University face eight days of strike action from many lecturers and support staff, starting on 25 November. The action by University and College Union (UCU) members is due to disputes over pay and pensions. The walkout follows votes in favour of industrial action and will affect about 60 universities across the UK …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 7 November]

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University strike could affect more than a million students, says union

Posted in Governance and administration on November 6th, 2019 by steve

“Staff at 60 universities across the UK are to walk out on strike later this month over pensions, pay and conditions in a wave of action which could disrupt the studies of more than a million students, according to union leaders …” (more)

[Sally Weale, Guardian, 5 November]

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Gender not children ‘holds women academics back’

Posted in Governance and administration on October 18th, 2019 by steve

“Women academics do not rise through the ranks as fast as men with the same credentials and personal circumstances, research indicates. The study, of 2,270 academics at 24 top UK universities, found the men reached more senior levels than the women, even after parenthood was accounted for …” (more)

[Hannah Richardson, BBC News, 17 October]

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IUA Submission to Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU

Posted in Governance and administration on October 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“We would like to thank the Chair, Senator Neale Richmond, and the Committee members for inviting the Irish Universities Association to address the Committee. We would like to start by highlighting the importance of higher education and research to the Irish economy and the role it plays in protecting Ireland from global crises before discussing Brexit specifically in terms of higher education and research …” (more)

[IUA, 9 October]

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IUA Response to Hugh Brady’s Speech

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

Ireland“Jim Miley Director General of the Irish Universities Association today responded to comments made by Hugh Brady, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, at the British Irish Chamber event this morning, Jim Miley said …” (more)

[IUA, 4 October]

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Full text of Hugh Brady’s speech

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

Ireland“Thank you for the invitation to address you this morning: I had the honour of taking up the role as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol in 2015. For those of you not familiar with the UK system, most universities are run by a Vice-Chancellor who is both the Chief Academic Officer and Chief Executive …” (more)

[IUA, 4 October]

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Former UCD president calls Brexit a ‘national crisis’ regards higher education

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

Ireland“The former president of University College Dublin has called for immediate action to address a ‘national crisis’ ahead of Brexit. Now the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, Hugh Brady spoke at the British Irish Chamber of Commerce earlier today, insisting that the ‘state of Ireland’s higher education and research system should be viewed as a national crisis’ …” (more)

[Rebecca Stiffe, Irish Examiner, 4 October]

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Educational connections on these two islands are deep and longstanding

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 1st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The most common query Ireland’s Higher Education Authority is receiving in relation to Brexit comes from school students who hope to study in the UK after their Leaving Certificate exams. These students want to know will this still be possible …” (more)

[Emma O Kelly, RTÉ News, 1 October]

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‘The way universities are run is making us ill’: inside the student mental health crisis

Posted in Life on September 27th, 2019 by steve

“When he started working at Brunel University in London 19 years ago, Terry Vass, who is now head of security, recalls that most of his work involved breaking up drunken fights outside the bars and nightclub on campus. Over the two decades he has been in the job, he has noticed a shift. Now, an increasing number of calls are for mental health incidents …” (more)

[Samira Shackle, Guardian, 27 September]

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Are freshers the new realists when it comes to mental health support?

Posted in Life on September 17th, 2019 by steve

“‘I had an issue in Freshers’, said Lucy, ‘so this was like three days into me moving into the university house and I just had a meltdown and I had no idea what to do. So I was literally, like, I have known these people for 48 hours, where do I go?’ …” (more)

[Jenny Shaw, Wonkhe, 17 September]

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Are UK universities facing a terrible catastrophe?

Posted in Research on September 14th, 2019 by steve

“A repeated theme of mainstream media reporting on university rankings (nearly always QS or THE) is that Brexit has inflicted, is inflicting, or is surely going to inflict great damage on British education and the universities because they will not get any research grants from the European Union or be able to network with their continental peers …” (more)

[University Ranking Watch, 14 September]

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‘Ban all watches from exams to stop cheating’

Posted in Teaching on September 10th, 2019 by steve

“All watches should be banned from exam halls to discourage cheating, says an inquiry into the extent of malpractice in exams taken by pupils across the UK. Smart watches, connected to the internet, are already banned from use by students taking public exams …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 10 September]

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The great British university con

Posted in Governance and administration on August 22nd, 2019 by steve

“The UK’s reputedly world-class higher education sector has long been a source of pride and consolation for a diminished power. At first glance, universities have relentlessly expanded without any reduction in standards. Since 1990, the number of undergraduate degrees awarded has increased fivefold, while the proportion of Firsts granted has quadrupled …” (more)

[New Statesman, 21 August]


Women-only professorships

Posted in Governance and administration on July 25th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – The creation of 75 women-only professorships is a textbook example of how members of the higher socio-economic classes who have connections and influence in political and media circles can bend the the Government into making irrational and fiscally irresponsible decisions to their advantage, with all parties assuming the taxpayer will foot the substantial bill …” (more)

[Dave Slater, Irish Times, 25 July]

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‘Grade inflation’ means 80% more top degree grades

Posted in Teaching on July 11th, 2019 by steve

“The proportion of students in England awarded first-class degrees continues to increase – rising by 80% since 2010-11, the university watchdog says. The Office for Students, warning of grade inflation, says for almost three-quarters of universities such increases in top grades are ‘unexplained’ …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 11 July]

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Unconscious Bias Training Isn’t a Magic Wand

Posted in Governance and administration on June 22nd, 2019 by steve

“This week saw a sober assessment of the impact – both positive but also depressingly negative – of schemes to improve gender equality. As the Athena Swan Review Group wrestles with how to improve their own awards, it is important to learn from mistakes as well as successes. In years gone by I spoke up for Athena Swan …” (more)

[Athene Donald’s Blog, 22 June]

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