Academic warns against using third-level only for workforce

Posted in Governance and administration on April 12th, 2018 by steve

“The treatment of third-level education just as a way to build the country’s workforce could prove costly in the long run, an Irish-based international academic has warned. Professor Carl Anders Säfström from Maynooth University Social Science Institute (MUSSI) said attempts to cater higher education in Ireland towards industry’s labour needs have often come at the expense of the humanities, because precedence is given to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 12 April]


University challenge

Posted in Teaching on March 15th, 2018 by steve

“Sir, – Unfortunately I never studied for an arts degree in UCD, and up to yesterday I thought I had muddled along reasonably well. However, upon reading Lindsey Earner-Byrne’s letter (March 14th) responding to David McWilliams’s article ‘Third-level education is yesterday’s idea’ (Opinion, March 10th), I am now advised that I am unable to ‘think critically’ …” (more)

[John Levins, Irish Times, 15 March]


Third-level education – yesterday’s idea?

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on March 14th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – David McWilliams, in ‘Third-level education is yesterday’s idea’ (Opinion, March 10th), makes some interesting points, in particular about the impact of the printing press and the pressure placed on today’s teenagers, but his article is based on a misunderstanding of what someone can get from a third-level education …” (more)

[Letters, Irish Times, 14 March]


Third-level education is yesterday’s idea

Posted in Governance and administration on March 14th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Our family is not good at filling out forms. It’s just not our thing. Life would be easier if we had an enthusiastic stenographer in the tribe – someone who loves a form and a deadline – but such a creature doesn’t exist in our immediate bloodline …” (more)

[David McWilliams, 13 March]


Is Third-Level Education worth it? Maybe not – says David McWilliams

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on March 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“It won’t come as any surprise to readers of this blog that I would not be in full agreement with David McWilliams who wrote in Saturday’s Irish Times that ‘Third-level education is yesterday’s idea’ …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 12 March]

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Higher education: what is it good for?

Posted in Governance and administration on March 8th, 2018 by steve

“Why go to university? When asked, today’s students are openly careerist and materialist. In a 2012 survey by the Higher Education Research Institute in Los Angeles, almost 90% held that ‘being able to get a better job’ was a ‘very important’ or ‘essential’ reason to go to college. The rationales of being ‘very well-off financially’ and ‘making more money’ were almost as popular …” (more)

[Bryan Caplan, Times Higher Education, 8 March]


Parents warned of obsession with sending children to university

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 24th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir Ken Robinson came to worldwide prominence when he argued that schools were killing creativity and failing to recognise the diversity of children’s intelligence. His 2006 Ted talk on the topic holds the record for the most watched talk online with more than 50 million views so far …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 23 February]

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Trends in higher education

Posted in Teaching on February 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – James O’Sullivan raises some reasonable points about recent trends in higher education, notably an apparent emphasis on ‘skills’ (‘Universities have become like Ikea – just follow the instructions’, Education Opinion, February 7th). There is a suggestion in his column that these trends are driven by neoliberal politicians aided by armies of faceless administrators …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 12 February]

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The Civic University Symposium: Reimagining the University for Public Purpose: NUI Galway, Sat 2 December 2017

Posted in Governance and administration on November 18th, 2017 by steve

IrelandWhat is the purpose of higher education? Is higher education a public good – and if so, how do we understand the claim that this requires a private cost, and therefore a private gain? Is the knowledge produced by higher education a public good – and if so, how do we understand this in relation to the tendency to lock this knowledge behind paywalls demanded by private publishing companies … (more, registration)

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The University Is Not a Technology

Posted in Research on October 18th, 2017 by steve

“Andrew Piper and Chad Wellmon observe that a small subset of elite universities are disproportionately represented in the most prestigious journals in the literary humanities. This ‘epistemic inequality’, they write, ‘would surely be as undesirable as economic inequality. In fact, most of us would presume a relationship between the two’. No doubt they are closely related …” (more)

[Sam Fallon and Len Gutkin, Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 October]


Why Companies Value(d) Higher Education

Posted in Governance and administration on October 5th, 2017 by steve

“I recently read the book A Perfect Mess: the Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education by David Larabee.  It’s very good – in fact, the first two chapters are for my money the best short history of pre-1900 American higher education ever written.  I’m going to refer to this book a few times over the next couple of weeks.  But today, I want to talk about an engaging little passage he penned about how business came to view college (that is, American ‘college’, our universities) as an indispensable pre-requisite to white collar jobs …” (more)

[HESA, 5 October]

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Why universities are being hollowed out

Posted in Governance and administration on September 27th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – As a lecturer happily retired from the University of Limerick, I can verify from painful experience everything noted by Sarah Alyn Stacey (September 16th). Let me press the argument further. Why should the ordinary citizen care about this? …” (more)

[Peter Labanyi, Irish Times, 27 September]

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Academics must take action to save colleges from market’s incursion

Posted in Governance and administration on September 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“In Flannery O’Connor’s 1955 short story Good Country People, a young woman named Hulga Hopewell holds a PhD in philosophy. Hulga is an expert on the German philosopher Martin Heidegger and she believes not in the importance of God but in the importance of nothing. Over the course of O’Connor’s story, however, the PhD doesn’t do much for Hulga’s critical capacities …” (more)

[Áine Mahon and Shane Bergin, Irish Times, 20 September]


Universities are being hollowed out

Posted in Governance and administration on September 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The recent conference held in Trinity College Dublin on academic freedom has shed invaluable light on the shifting identity of universities from liberal centres of learning in the service of the community to failing centres of economic interest in the service of capitalism …” (more)

[Sarah Alyn Stacey, Irish Times, 16 September]

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‘We are teaching too many students to do jobs that our society doesn’t need’

Posted in Governance and administration on August 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“We have every right to be angry with the many institutions that seem to be taking advantage of us all. Banks, insurance companies and real estate agencies to name but a few are well-known culprits, but nobody appears to be protesting with the same vigor about the biggest scam of all that is going on right under our noses: the scam of third level education …” (more)

[Chris Fitzgerald,, 14 August]

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What are universities for?

Posted in Governance and administration on May 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“So asked Diarmaid Ferriter recently in the Irish Times. It’s easy to dismiss a question like this as being too vague or too ‘philosophical’, the sort of ivory tower question that academics are prone to ask without ever providing any answers. But, in fact, this question goes to the heart of the entire debate around third level education …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 15 May]


President urges universities to return to ‘humanistic’ values

Posted in Governance and administration on April 11th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“‘Creativity’ is in great danger of misuse and at risk of being reduced to an ‘advertising slogan’, President Michael D Higgins has warned. Speaking at the opening of NUI Galway’s (NUIG) new O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, Mr Higgins has also appealed to universities to ‘re-dedicate themselves to originality of thought and a commitment to humanistic values in teaching’ …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 10 April]

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Hatred, Division and the University

Posted in Governance and administration on March 22nd, 2017 by steve

“Although I am not a citizen of The Netherlands, I am relieved that Geert Wilders will not be the next prime minister there. I found his anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric reprehensible. Likewise, I hope that Marine Le Pen will fail in her election bid to become France’s next president …” (more)

[Liz Reisberg, Inside Higher Ed, 21 March]

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A University is not a Factory

Posted in Governance and administration on September 21st, 2016 by steve

Ireland“There has been a great deal of debate over the future of Irish universities over the past few weeks. The publication of the Cassels report, along with the plummeting of almost all Irish universities down the QS rankings, has pushed the issue of third education in Ireland into the limelight …” (more)

[Michael Foley, Trinity News, 21 September]

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Universities also have to ask themselves a few questions about their slide in rankings

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on September 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The sizeable falls in world university rankings of practically all Irish universities is adding to the pressure on the Government to take some action on third-level funding. The current model is broken …” (more)

[Richard Curran, Independent, 8 September]

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