Ulster University leaps to second place in postgrad research survey

Posted in Research on July 30th, 2021 by steve

“Ulster University (UU) has risen to second place in the UK rankings for researcher satisfaction in the latest Postgraduate Research Experience Survey. The PhD benchmarking exercise surveyed postgraduate research students from 89 universities about their experiences, with UU leaping from eighth in the table in 2019 …” (more)

[Mark Bain, Belfast Telegraph, 30 July]

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Karran, Beiter and Mallinson, ‘Academic freedom in contemporary Britain: A cause for concern?’

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on July 21st, 2021 by steve

Abstract: Using comparable legal information, and empirical data from over 2000 members of the UK’s University and College Union and 2000 staff in universities of the European states, gathered by means of similar surveys, this paper is a comparative assessment of the de jure protection for, and the de facto levels of, academic freedom enjoyed by academic staff in the UK, when compared to their EU counterparts. The paper examines the legal and constitutional protection for academic freedom and the current levels of, and changes to, the two substantive elements (freedom to teach and freedom to research) and three supportive components (autonomy, governance and tenure) of academic freedom. The study reveals that UK academic staff believe that there is a low level of protection for academic freedom and that it has declined, both in general, and with respect to the two substantive elements and three supportive components of academic freedom. Similar trends are evident in the EU states, but statistical tests reveal that for every measure utilised, the decline in academic freedom is significantly greater in the UK than in the EU states.

Terence Karran, Klaus D Beiter and Lucy Mallinson, Academic freedom in contemporary Britain: A cause for concern?’, Higher Education Quarterly, https://doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12346. First published: 20 July 2021.

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20% of year 2&3 students have no ‘real friends’ at university

Posted in Research on July 19th, 2021 by steve

“One in every five students in years two and three in the United Kingdom say they don’t have a ‘real friend’ at university, according to a survey of more than 12,000 students nationally. The finding has renewed fears that students are struggling with loneliness and declining mental health. Some 42% of students have experienced suicidal thoughts at some time, the survey reveals …” (more)

[Brendan O’Malley, University World News, 17 July]

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Brexit and universities – The last pieces of the puzzle

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration, Research, Teaching on July 17th, 2021 by steve

“Five years since the Brexit referendum and more than six months since the final deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom was agreed, the final pieces are falling into place when it comes to cooperation between universities on both sides of the Channel …” (more)

[Thomas Jorgensen, University World News, 15 July]

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All over higher education, mothers are exhausted

Posted in Life, Research on July 14th, 2021 by steve

“When the first England lockdown was announced in March 2020 we shared a sense of outright panic with many of our colleagues who are parents. But we are lucky to be part of Durham University’s Mothers and Mothers-to-be Support Network (MAMS), which was established in 2013-14 with the aim to support and advocate for mums who work at the university …” (more)

[Nicole Westmarland, Wonkhe, 14 July]

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The Turing Scheme: A Brexit-Induced Alternative to Erasmus

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 30th, 2021 by steve

“‘There is no threat to the Erasmus scheme’, Boris Johnson told a crowded House of Commons in January 2020. Students across the UK breathed a collective sigh of relief but the sceptics among them warned them not to hold their breath. By the time December rolled around, however, things had taken a turn for the worse as Johnson told the British public that a ‘tough’ decision had been made: Erasmus was off the cards …” (more)

[Naoise D’Arcy, University Times, 29 June]

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Cross border John Hume University should be located in Derry

Posted in Governance and administration on June 29th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Derry is the fifth largest city on the island of Ireland, closely matching Limerick in population size. Of the six largest cities on the Island, Derry is the only one without a university. The decision in 1965 to establish Northern Ireland’s second university, now Ulster University, in Coleraine and not in Derry was strongly influenced by political and sectarian considerations …” (more)

[Colm Burke TD, Irish News, 28 June]

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No More 3-Hour Exams?

Posted in Teaching on June 25th, 2021 by steve

“Traditional three-hour university exams may soon be a thing of the past as leading British institutions eye a switch to online and more ‘authentic’ forms of assessment post-pandemic. The University of Cambridge said that over the next academic year it would ‘draw on the lessons learned’ from the COVID-19 pandemic and respond ‘to the desire of many faculties and departments to move away from the traditional three-hour written examination format as the primary means of assessment for such programs’ …” (more)

[Anna McKie, Inside Higher Ed, 25 June]

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Brexit is behind University of Cambridge’s new Irish outpost

Posted in Governance and administration on June 25th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Brexit has forced the University of Cambridge – one of the world’s leading third-level institutions – to establish a unit in Ireland so that it can continue to engage in clinical trials research across the EU, the Irish Independent has learned …” (more)

[John Mulligan, Independent, 25 June]

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Third Level Fees – Scotland

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

IrelandCian O’Callaghan (Dublin Bay North, Social Democrats): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Irish students are being charged additional fees for the Scottish graduate-entry medicine programme based in the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee which contradicts the memorandum of understanding on the common travel area; the steps he will take to address the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 17 June]

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University Troubles

Posted in Governance and administration on June 10th, 2021 by steve

“I noticed an article today in the Grauniad about a wave of redundancies about to hit English universities. Among those affected are the University of East London; Goldsmiths; and the University of London and the universities of Liverpool, Leeds, Leicester, Southampton Solent, Brighton. Dundee is also threatening redundancies (Higher Education is a devolved matter in the United Kingdom). There are probably many other institutions planning similar moves …” (more)

[In the Dark, 9 June]


European Commission drops plan to ban UK from science projects

Posted in Research on June 8th, 2021 by steve

“The European Commission has dropped plans for a blanket ban on UK involvement in EU research on space projects and supercomputers after a backlash from member states and leading scientists. Thierry Breton, the former French finance minister who is now the EU internal market commissioner, had claimed the EU needed to keep control of intellectual property and that the UK’s involvement was an unacceptable security risk …” (more)

[Daniel Boffey, Guardian, 7 June]

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‘Lion’s Share’ of Additional College Applicants Coming from the EU, Says CAO Chair

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 1st, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The ‘lion’s share’ of this year’s 7,000 additional CAO applicants are coming from the EU, according to Prof Pól Ó Dochartaigh, the chair of the CAO. Approximately 5,000 of the additional applications have come from the EU. The increases may be related to Brexit, as the UK, in comparison, has seen a major drop in EU applicants …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 31 May]

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Ireland’s Colleges Can Look to England for Guidance – Or Warnings

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

Ireland“This week, The University Times reported on re-opening measures taken by English universities as they prepare for their summer term. For many students and staff, the summer term will facilitate their return to campuses across England after almost 15 months. The re-opening of English universities will provide important insights as to how Ireland’s third-level sector can function come September, and Irish stakeholders should be watching these developments closely …” (more)

[University Times, 23 May]

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University students in England return to campus after months of remote lessons

Posted in Governance and administration on May 17th, 2021 by steve

“University students in England will be returning to campus for in-person lessons and activities after months of remote learning. Returning students will be expected to get tested for Covid-19 twice a week throughout the summer term …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Belfast Telegraph, 17 May]

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International Student Exchange Will Be ‘More Inclusive’ Than Erasmus

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

“A new international student exchange scheme will provide more opportunities for US students and be more inclusive than its predecessor, according to the UK’s universities minister. The EU’s long-running Erasmus program gave students the chance to study abroad, as well as running an exchange scheme for staff …” (more)

[Nick Morrison, Forbes, 7 May]

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Startling fall in EU applications to study in the UK

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on April 15th, 2021 by steve

“Applications from the United Kingdom’s number one overseas student market have plummeted by 40% for undergraduate courses starting in 2021-22, but it is Brexit and not COVID-19 that is to blame for the fall …” (more)

[Nic Mitchell, University World News, 14 April]

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Students returning to university in England from 17 May

Posted in Governance and administration on April 14th, 2021 by steve

“Students on all university courses in England will return ‘no earlier than 17 May’, the government has announced. About a million students, taking courses taught online since Christmas, will be able to go back to university campuses …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 13 April]

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Graduates now earn more in Ireland than in UK, but Germany tops both

Posted in Research on April 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“With the exception of the second World War, there has always been free movement for people between Ireland and Great Britain. This has also included the right for Irish and British people to work in either jurisdiction. Despite Brexit, this situation remains unchanged …” (more)

[John FitzGerald, Irish Times, 9 April]

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Irish students attending UK universities

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on April 5th, 2021 by steve

IrelandAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the post-Brexit treatment of Irish students attending UK universities in terms of funding and State support; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 31 March]

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