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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Making universities safe for trans people doesn’t threaten academic freedom

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on June 20th, 2019 by steve

“Last Sunday a letter appeared in the Sunday Times attacking the LGBT charity Stonewall for its work with British universities as a threat to academic freedom. For context, a non-paywalled version of the text is available here. The letter was signed by some reasonably prominent figures …” (more)

[Chris Bertram, Crooked Timber, 20 June]

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The English Higher Education Funding Mess

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 3rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“One of the items that sneaked out in the news last week was the Augar report on the future of post-18 education and funding in England. A review led by a former equities broker was never likely to be friendly to the higher education sector, and so it seems to have turned out …” (more)

[In the Dark, 2 June]

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Graduate gets £60k payout over ‘false advertising’ claim

Posted in Legal issues on June 3rd, 2019 by steve

“A graduate who sued her university over her ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree has received a £60,000 out-of-court settlement. Pok Wong graduated with a first in international business strategy from Anglia Ruskin University in 2013 …” (more)

[BBC News, 2 June]


University counselling services ‘inundated by stressed academics’

Posted in Life on May 23rd, 2019 by steve

“Stressed out academics are inundating university counselling services as they grapple with heavy workloads and oppressive management, a report says. Referrals to such services had risen by three-quarters between 2009 and 2015, the study for the Higher Education Policy Institute indicated …” (more)

[Hannah Richardson, BBC News, 23 May]

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Should students be (financially) compensated for strike action by lecturers?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on May 22nd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Regular readers of this blog will know that last year I was still employed part of the time at Cardiff University and during that period I was participating in strike action called by the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) over pensions. As a result of that action students on my module on Physics of the Early Universe missed quite a lot of lectures (and I was docked a large fraction of my pay) …” (more)

[In the Dark, 22 May]

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Female authors listed on just 30% of recent UK academic research

Posted in Research on May 15th, 2019 by steve

“Women are listed as authors of just 30% of academic research from British universities, according to a major new ranking of higher education institutions. Although the number of women named as authors is gradually increasing, the slow pace was described by one expert as ‘disheartening’ …” (more)

[Dalmeet Singh Chawla, Guardian, 15 May]

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Universities told to refund half of students’ tuition fees for failing to make up missed lectures during strikes

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on May 14th, 2019 by steve

“Students should be refunded at least 50% of their tuition fees for lost teaching time by universities that failed to minimise the disruption caused by last year’s lecturer strikes, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator has said. The independent body which looks at complaints across higher education, said that was the ‘starting point’ for those affected …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Independent, 14 May]