ADMITEREA LA UAIC: Au fost făcute publice listele candidaților admiși la „Cuza”
Ieri s-au afișat rezultatele admiterii la Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” din Iași.
Iată rezultatele postate pe site-ul oficial admitere.uaic.ro:
Facultatea de Drept – Centrul de Studii Europene (master)
Facultatea de Educaţie Fizică şi Sport (licență și master)
Facultatea de Geografie și Geologie (licență și master)
Facultatea de Litere (licență și master)
Facultatea de Teologie Romano-Catolică (licență și master)
Publicație : Ziarul de Iași
Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” din Iasi, gazda celei de-a doua editii a Scolii de Vara JASSY
În perioada 7 – 21 iulie 2019, Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” (UAIC) din Iasi a organizat cea de-a II-a editie a Scolii de Vara JASSY (a Journey through hArd sciences, economicS, Social sciences and the tourism industrY), la care au participat 67 de studenti din 16 tari: Austria, Belgia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cehia, Egipt, Filipine, Franta, Germania, Iran, Kazakhstan, Republica Moldova, Coreea de Sud, România, Federatia Rusa si Ucraina, respectiv opt liceeni ieseni.
Având posibilitatea de a obtine sase credite ECTS, acestia au urmat cursurile unuia dintre urmatoarele module interdisciplinare: Hard Sciences unveiled: an Interdisciplinary Tour, Strategic Human Resource Management, Finance and Risk Management, Eastern Europe: Cultural Frames, Identities and Social-Political Perspectives, Tourism at the Eastern Border of the EU. Interdisciplinary Training for Tour Guides.
Pe lânga cursuri, programul Scolii de Vara JASSY a inclus activitati zilnice precum initierea în kayaking, practica observarii pasarilor, interpretarea hartii celeste, turul ghidat al orasului, vizite la manastiri, muzee, tehnici de degustare de vinuri, precum si o excursie în Nordul Moldovei.
Participantii Scolii de Vara JASSY au vizitat Muzeul Memorial „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” de la Ruginoasa, Muzeul Satului Bucovinean din Suceava, Manastirea Voronet, Muzeul „N. Popa” din Târpesti-Neamt, Rezervatia de zimbri Vânatori-Neamt si Castelul „Sturdza” de la Miclauseni.
Publicație : Bună Ziua Iași
Admiterea la Medicină, cu emoţii risipite în câteva clipe
Corectarea testelor grilă s-a făcut în faţa candidaţilor, în aşa fel încât aceştia au aflat exact ce notă au luat * ei şi-au putut face media, care reprezintă 90% din testul grilă şi 10% din media obţinută la Bacalaureat
Zi plină de emoţii pentru absolvenţii de liceu care au venit din toate judeţele Moldovei pentru admiterea la Universitatea de Medicină şi Farmacie „Gr.T.Popa” din Iaşi. Ei au avut de susţinut ieri un examen, tip grilă, care a început la ora 10,00 şi a avut o durată de trei ore. După susţinerea examenului, tezele au fost scanate în faţa candidaţilor şi totodată le-au fost comunicate punctajele obţinute la testele grilă. Abia în zilele următoare vor şti dacă au fost admişi sau nu la specializarea medicală pentru care au optat.
Anul acesta la admiterea la cele opt specializări din cadrul UMF Iaşi s-au înscris 2.380 de candidaţi, cu 10% mai mulţi decât anul trecut, când au fost 2.150 candidaţi. „Astăzi a avut loc testul grilă, începând cu ora 10,00 s-au dat subiectele. La ora 13,00 candidaţii au reintrat în săli. Corectarea testelor grilă s-a făcut în faţa acestora, în aşa fel încât candidatul care părăseşte locul ştie exact ce notă a luat, îşi face media, care este 90% din testul grilă şi 10% din media obţinută la Bacalaureat”, a declarat Ivona Burduja, purtătorul de cuvânt al UMF Iaşi.
Cele mai multe emoţii au fost în rândul celor care au preferat studiile medicale superioare de scurtă durată. Un loc de muncă sigur şi bine plătit după patru ani de studii i-a determinat pe cei mai mulţi dintre absolvenţi să aleagă Facultatea de Asistenţă Medicală Generală, unde concurenţa a fost de 6,84 candidaţi pe loc, cea mai mare de altfel. La fel de multe emoţii au fost şi pentru cei care au ales Colegiul de Nutriţie şi Dietetică, unde concurenţa anul acesta a fost de 5,4 candidaţi pe loc. „Am ales Facultatea de Asistenţă Medicală pentru căfacultatea e renumită. M-am gândit şi la viitor, pentru că vreau să lucrez la SMURD după ce termin facultatea. Vreau să lucrez pe salvare pentru căaltfel acorzi un prim ajutor comparaţie cu salvarea unui pacient din spital. Din punctul meu de vedere e mai bine să fii asistent decât medic. Pentru admitere mă pregătesc de doi ani, din clasa a XI-a, la examen am făcut destul de bine. Acum aşteptăm rezultatele”, ne-a declarat Naomi Mocanu, care a venit de la Roman pentru a susţine acest examen.
Fie din vocaţie, fie pentru câştigurile lunare de peste 10.000 de lei, mulţi dintre absolvenţi continuă să îşi dorească să devină medici. Chiar dacă au mai mult de învăţat, iar perioada studiilor este de şase ani, la Medicină Generală în sesiunea din luna iulie 2019 concurenţa a fost de 3.71/loc bugetat, iar la Medicină Dentară de 3,64. Pentru admitere însă, absolvenţii s-au pregătit intens, unii dintre ei începând din clasa a X-a să facă meditaţii. „Anul acesta a fost mai greu la Biologie, faţă de anul trecut. Am luat 9.30. Am greşit nişte locuri din neatenţie, dar sper să prind un loc la buget”, a declarat Vlad Popescu.
Emoţii au avut şi cei care au preferat să susţină examenul de admitere la Colegiul la Tehnică Dentară, unde concurenţa a fost de 2,79 pe loc bugetat, la Bioinginerie medicală, unde au fost 2,03 candidaţi pe loc sau la Balneo-fiziokinetoterapie şi recuperare unde concurenţa este de 2,62 pe loc bugetat. Cea mai mică concurenţă a fost la Farmacie, de 0,91 candidaţi pe loc. Cu toate acestea, cei care aspiră să devină farmacişti nu au fost lipsiţi de emoţii. „Am ales Farmacia pentru că îmi place chimia şi se pare că este o meserie stabilă şi cu program fix. Am avut emoţii, dar acum s-au mai dus. Mai am ceva, ceva până la afişarea notelor, dar sper să iau”, a declarat Irina Neagu.
Tot din pasiune pentru chimie Sorina Dediu a ales să înveţe despre taineleştiinţei farmaceutice. Mai întâi a urmat o facultate de chimie, după care a făcut un master în „Produse farmaceutice şi cosmetice”. Acum, Sorina Dediu este doctorand dar îşi doreşte să studieze şi la Facultatea de Farmacie. „Mi-am dorit foarte mult să studiez la Farmacie. Este a doua facultate. Mi-am dorit să aplic ceea ce am făcut la Facultatea de Chimie. Subiectele pentru mine au fost uşoare, la prima vedere, şi spun eu că m-am descurcat destul de bine. După finalizarea studiilor voi rămâne în ţară, posibil la Iaşi sau în Bucureşti. Consider că avem nevoie de specialişti buni şi de aceea măpregătesc în acest sens”, ne-a declarat Sorina Dediu
Scotland’s universities to offer guaranteed places to care leavers
Policy aims to propel more students who are or have been in care into higher education
St Andrews University. Its principal, Sally Mapstone, hopes the scheme will be ‘catalytic’. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
Scotland’s universities are to offer guaranteed undergraduate places to students who have been in care at any point in their lives as part of a groundbreaking effort to increase the number from that demographic doing a degree.
The formal announcement by Scotland’s 18 higher education institutions is backed by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, as a way of helping those who have been in care overcome the barriers they face.
Only 4% of looked-after school leavers go directly to university, compared with more than 40% of school leavers across Scotland. In 2016-17, just 335 students who had experience of being in care went to university.
“This announcement demonstrates that universities across Scotland recognise the importance of those who have had an experience of care and the huge potential they have,” said Pamela Gillies, the principal of Glasgow Caledonian University.
The new national policy – the first of its kind in the UK – applies to “care-experienced” applicants in Scotland. It includes those who have been or are currently in care, regardless of duration or age. The definition covers those who have been looked after in residential care, home supervision, foster or kinship care and those who were adopted.
Under the scheme, a place will be automatically offered to applicants who meet an institution’s minimum entry requirements, which are lower for those who have been in care under a policy designed to widen access.
Sally Mapstone, the principal of St Andrews University, said the scheme was thought to be the first of its type in the world.
“This is a decisive and, I hope, catalytic step jointly taken by Scotland’s universities. It gives due recognition to the substantial achievement of people with experience of care who are successful in getting the grades for university, having overcome very challenging circumstances at a young age,” Mapstone said.
“We hope it will enable more people with care experience to feel confident applying to university, knowing that their application is encouraged and will be supported.
“It is important that all of Scotland’s universities have made this guarantee together. That should provide the greatest possible clarity and visibility of this change to people with care experience wherever they live in Scotland and wherever they want to study.”
Scots attending national universities do not pay tuition fees, while the Scottish government provides a support grant for care-experienced students worth £8,100 through the student awards agency, and individual universities also offer support.
Duncan Dunlop, the chief executive of the Who Cares? Scotland charity, which advocates for those who have been in care, said his organisation welcomed the move as long as it was followed by efforts to encourage applications.
“The fact that the guaranteed offer has no upper age limit demonstrates a commitment by universities to seek out ways to support care-experienced learners beyond the statutory requirement of age 26,” Dunlop said.
About 2% of all children in Scotland are looked after or are on the child protection register.
A survey of students conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute found that 72% agreed that university admissions should take account of applicants’ backgrounds.
Publicație : The Guardian
Universities ‘should take students’ backgrounds into account’
Nearly three-quarters of students in the UK believe candidates’ backgrounds should be considered in university admissions, research suggests.
Almost half back lower grade offers for those from disadvantaged areas, the study for the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) found.
And a slightly smaller percentage were against this, the survey suggested.
Some 73% of the 1,000 undergraduates surveyed said it was harder for pupils from poorer areas to get good grades.
Universities sometimes try to compensate for this by offering promising pupils from poorer backgrounds easier entry routes into university.
These are known as contextual offers and have in the past caused controversy and accusations of „dumbing down”.
Overall, 47% of students backed lower grade offers for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, while 45% opposed the idea.
But a higher proportion of those studying at the most selective universities, some 57%, supported lower grade offers for disadvantaged candidates.
- Unconditional uni offers face clampdown
- University offers ‘should be made after results day’, say lecturers
Hepi policy officer and report author, Hugo Dale-Harris, said: „We might have expected students, who are typically from more advantaged backgrounds, to be more resistant to contextual offers.
„But these results demonstrate for the first time that most students recognise educational inequalities and want universities to address them.”
He added: „Contextual offers are the most promising tool universities have for picking students with the most academic potential regardless of background.
„It is encouraging to see most students recognise educational disadvantage makes it harder to do well and want university admissions to recognise the huge potential of those who achieve against the odds.
„It’s striking that students at the most selective universities are most supportive, with 57% supporting lower grade offers for applicants who’ve had to struggle harder.”
Publicație : BBC News
Russell Group students more likely to back contextual admissions
But overall students are split on the policy of making lower grade offers to applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds
Student opinion is divided on whether universities should give lower grade offers to those from disadvantaged backgrounds, but undergraduates at Russell Group institutions are more likely to support the policy, according to the first poll of students on contextual admissions.
A survey of 1,035 full-time undergraduates in the UK by the Higher Education Policy Institute found that almost three-quarters (72 per cent) think university admissions should take account of applicants’ backgrounds. Support was higher among students at Russell Group universities, at 82 per cent, but much lower, 66 per cent, among those at post-92 institutions.
Another large proportion, 73 per cent, believe that it is harder to achieve good exam results if you grow up in a disadvantaged area.
However, just under half (47 per cent) of students surveyed backed universities making lower grade offers to those from disadvantaged areas, with a similar share (45 per cent) opposing such a move.
Support for contextual offers was stronger among students at Russell Group universities, with 57 per cent of this group in favour of the policy and 36 per cent opposed.
Hugo Dale-Harris, policy officer at Hepi and author of the report, said it was “striking that students at the most selective universities are most supportive”, given that they are the most likely to be affected by contextual admissions offers.
Of the 49 per cent of students who “strongly” believe that growing up in a disadvantaged area makes it harder to achieve good A-level results, an overwhelming majority (82 per cent) support contextual admissions.
The poll was conducted between 28 June and 1 July 2019.
The lack of overwhelming support for contextual admissions might be linked to perceptions regarding competition for university places and the academic ability of those with lower grades.
Just over half (53 per cent) of those surveyed disagreed with the notion that lower offers “would make it harder for students like me to get into university”, but 28 per cent agreed with this statement. Students from more advantaged backgrounds were more likely to agree with the statement.
Meanwhile, 54 per cent of students thought those admitted with lower grades would be able to keep up with the course requirements, but 38 per cent did not.
Awareness of the prevalence of contextual admissions is low, with two-thirds (65 per cent) of students saying they do not know whether their university makes contextual offers. Just one in six (16 per cent) is certain that it does and one in five (19 per cent) is certain that it does not.
The Office for Students has targets to reduce the ratio of students from the most advantaged areas at higher-tariff institutions from the current 5:1 to 3:1 by 2024-25 and to 1:1 by 2038-39. It regards contextual admissions as one tool for achieving this.
The report recommends that universities build greater confidence in contextual admissions by using a range of individual-level criteria rather than relying on “imprecise proxy measures”, such as postcodes or participation in widening access schemes.
It also calls on the OfS to collect evidence on the performance of contextually admitted students at different institutions, and on the effectiveness of foundation courses and other interventions for supporting these students
Publicație : The Times
Dropout rates in focus at English for-profits as regulator decision day looms
Some alternative providers could lose access to public student loans if OfS judges non-continuation rates too high
Key decisions on whether or not to bar some of the biggest English for-profit colleges from accessing public student loan funding are looming, and could hinge on the number of learners leaving midway through their studies, Times Higher Education understands.
Several institutions are awaiting a final decision on whether they will be included on the Office for Students’ new register of providers, a necessary condition for their students being able to take out publicly funded loans.
THE reported in May that 20 providers had been informed that the OfS was “minded to refuse” applications to the register and earlier this month the regulator issued its first notice saying that a provider – Bloomsbury Institute Limited – had failed to meetregistration conditions on two grounds: quality, and management and governance.
The OfS’ decision is said to have sparked concern among some other providers still awaiting final decisions, expected by mid-August. Any refusal decisions by the OfS could have major implications for the future of for-profit higher education in England.
One of the “core” metrics that the OfS is considering in registration applications is data on student dropout rates, such as whether a learner continues their studies after one year at an institution.
Although the OfS creates its own indicators on non-continuation, data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that a number of institutions that have yet to gain registration have high dropout rates.
One of the largest, GSM London, which had almost 3,000 full-time students starting a full degree course in 2016-17 and is England’s biggest for-profit recruiter of students with public loans funding, had a dropout rate for such students of 36.5 per cent, according to Hesa data. This was 12.5 percentage points higher than its “benchmark”, the level that would be expected for its mix of students, a gap that was one of the biggest in the dataset.
It was also higher than the dropout rate for full-time students at the Bloomsbury Institute, which for 2016-17 entrants was 29.3 per cent, 7.6 percentage points above its benchmark.
Another for-profit college, St Patrick’s College, had one of the biggest gaps from its benchmark for undergraduates on non-degree courses: 44.2 per cent of its 530 full-time entrants in 2016-17 had left higher education the following year against a benchmark of 27.5 per cent.
Both GSM and St Patrick’s have applied for the OfS register but, at the time of publication, neither was on the current list of 378 providers, which already includes all established universities and a large proportion of major alternative providers. Both colleges had access to loans under the previous regulatory regime.
A spokeswoman for GSM said it was “continuing to work closely with the Office for Students and we expect their final decision on our registration to be confirmed in mid-August. It would not be appropriate to comment further ahead of that decision being made.”
THE did not receive a response from St Patrick’s in time for publication.
The OfS said “while we have made decisions on a significant majority of applications, we are continuing to assess a small number of applications”.
It added that where a provider had been told that the OfS was “minded to refuse” an application, providers had an opportunity to “make representations before we finalise our decision”.
Both GSM and St Patrick’s told THE in May that they had not received a “minded to refuse” letter.
The prospect of some more institutions being excluded from the register comes as the latest National Student Survey results revealed how some large alternative providers are struggling with overall student satisfaction scores.
Among them was the University Campus of Football Business, where just under half of students (49 per cent) agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of their course against a benchmark of 82 per cent.
The NSS is not one of the core metrics used by the OfS in assessing registration applications. However, UCFB, which has previously had access to loans, is also not currently on the OfS register and had told THE in March that it intended to apply.
Brendan Flood, chairman and chief executive of UCFB, said the use until recently of Wembley stadium – one of its main campuses – by Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur had „caused significant challenges to our student experience”.
“We are investing £110 million in Wembley to develop dedicated high-quality facilities comprising 700 student beds and 50,000 square feet of academic and office accommodation. We have listened to feedback and are investing appropriately.”
Other large alternative providers with relatively low student satisfaction scores in the NSS are already on the OfS register.
However, Alex Proudfoot, chief executive of Independent Higher Education, said that although nine alternative providers had NSS ratings significantly below benchmark, this was compared with 42 publicly funded higher and further education institutions. A higher proportion of alternative providers were also significantly above their benchmark compared with the established sector, he added.
Publicație : The Times
Life beyond the ivory curtain
Three scholars reflect on finding new purpose outside the academy
Many academics dream that the grass might be greener outside higher education. But for those who are genuinely discontented, what is holding them back? Here, three people tell their stories of taking the plunge.
‘I had narrowed my perceived career paths and distorted my measures of success’
My decision to step outside academia was difficult. As someone who has since moved jobs and worked in multiple sectors, I now value my career mobility, but at the time I knew so little about work outside theoretical mathematics that a new job felt like a foolish move and a form of self-imposed exile. When we are graduate students, as I explain in my contribution to a forthcoming book, A Celebration of the EDGE Program’s Impact on the Mathematics Community and Beyond, we often inherit the value system of our academic advisers. In my own case, I “unjustifiably narrowed my perceived career paths and distorted my own measures of success. The result was that I consistently undervalued my worth and abilities outside of research mathematics early on in my career.”
After graduate school, I returned to teach at my undergraduate institution – a small and friendly school – as a tenure-track assistant professor of mathematics. Unsure what I wanted to do next, I tested the waters over four years, eventually teaching overseas in China and on a Fulbright Fellowship in India before I formally stepped out of academia into a position with the US Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, the training branch for America’s diplomatic corps. I have since worked for a Silicon Valley algorithms start-up, co-own a robotics software company with my husband and serve as executive director of a professional society, the Association for Women in Mathematics.
- We don’t understand what careers in business, industry or government (or “BIG jobs”) entail, much less know if we would enjoy the work or succeed
- We don’t believe that our skill set is translatable because we lack the vocabulary to discuss the knowledge, skills and abilities that we possess and that BIG jobs require
- Because of their inherited value system, those who leave academia might believe that they are pursuing another career because they have failed in academia. They are therefore unlikely to bring insight or information about BIG jobs back to their academic community
- In my own field of theoretical mathematics, I am not aware of any structures or pathways to bring someone with a career outsideacademia to a research and teaching career inside. This one-way street might be interpreted as academia not valuing other work environments and what people from them can bring into the ivory tower. We therefore fear that we might not be welcomed – much less valued – if we later try to return to the academy
- There are many reasons why academic positions are desirable, including control over one’s own time, working on virtuous projects (such as expanding the frontiers of human understanding) and teaching the next generation. Before working outside the sector, I would have assumed that such noble pursuits and job flexibility were unique to academia.
For me, attempting to look out through the “ivory curtain” was daunting. I didn’t know what a BIG job entailed, and because I was unable to articulate my value, I was afraid I would be unable to demonstrate value. I left academia because I wanted to “flourish”: I knew I had more to offer than the talents I was using in my current position and did not find it personally rewarding to work towards publications, grants or the other narrow objectives that defined success in my field. Although I enjoyed my time in academia, I left because the reward system did not align with my interests, an indicator that I would not be happy there in the long term. I have since been able to pursue projects, programmes and causes that have rounded out my life, even if they would not have rounded out an academic CV.
We need to make the boundary between academia and BIG careers permeable. People working in BIG careers could enrich and expand the academic environment for both students and colleagues, just as those with academic training enrich other sectors. Some of this needs to be addressed at the level of administration and university values (which translate into hiring mechanisms and procedures), but there are small things that even departments can do. I would urge all those working in STEM fields to look at the BIG Math Network, a multi-society collaboration (resources and career stories can be found at bigmathnetwork.org). For practical guidance on preparing for careers in mathematical sciences, you can pick up a copy of The BIG Jobs Guide (available on smile.amazon.com).
I currently have the perfect job. As executive director of the Association for Women in Mathematics, I work with others in my discipline – across academia, industry and government – on projects that promote individuals and drive institutional change. I work to strengthen my organisation’s structure, broaden its reach and engage a volunteer army of women and men who are devoted to improving our profession. By stepping out of academia, I have been able to grow and hone the skill set that allows me to strategically manage complex organisations. That means that my next career step could be anywhere within businesses and non-profits, or even back into academic administration.
Acronyms, bullying and camaraderie: the things I am – and am not – going to miss in academia
As I count down the weeks and days and lectures until I leave academia, having taken voluntary redundancy, Steely Dan’s Things I Miss the Most has been playing regularly on my internal iPod. Unsettlingly so.
Unlike the song’s divorced narrator, I won’t have a comfy Eames chair, good copper pans or a ’54 Strat to grieve over, much less an Audi TT or a second home on the Vineyard, let alone a third on the Gulf Coast – but still. Breakin’ up will be every bit as hard to do as Neil Sedaka suggested.
That said, I know what I won’t miss. I won’t miss the constant shifting of the goalposts. Two-year degrees, online degrees, foundation degrees: anyone for six-week summer crash courses? Has the research excellence framework been a fairer or more accurate metric than the research assessment exercise? Should the teaching excellence framework mean more than the REF – and I can see why it should – or is it unfit for purpose? And don’t get me started on all those blasted acronyms.
Nor will I miss the bullying, something I have witnessed with staggering and soul-destroying frequency. Not the shouty, spur-of-the-moment bullying that pervades newspaper and magazine offices the world over, but something more insidious. And worse, because it emanates from people who like to see themselves as being more attuned to, and respectful of, other people’s feelings and vulnerabilities. In one department where I worked, a psychologist was summoned to heal divisions; staff still found the situation intolerable and took extended leaves of absence.
Being an insufferable pedant, I won’t miss marking, either. What blights the process is less that so few students actually read your comments and corrections, let alone take heed of them (a struggling second-year once confessed to me that he could not take the rejection), than the standard of written English.
Even on journalism courses, which I have helped to run for 25 years, literacy levels are shockingly poor, numbingly so. Indeed, when people ask me what I do for a living, I say I’m a remedial English teacher. Scandinavian students are often superior at choosing appropriate words and crafting sentences than native speakers, which is particularly infuriating for anyone, like me, who errs towards the fascistic on such matters.
I know I’m far from alone in ascribing this seemingly inexorable decline to two things: the reluctance of young people to read anything longer than a tweet (or, at best, a blog) and the way bad habits are allowed to flourish at school. When I secured my first staff job at a university in 2005 and began handling admissions and reading personal statements, I was adamant that an English A-level pass was the one qualification essential to studying and practising journalism, the trade I had immersed myself in for the previous 22 years. I soon learned to my horror that even an A grade was no guarantee of competence.
And yes, it goes without saying that I won’t miss those ludicrous vice-chancellorial salaries, not because they are so much higher than mine, but because they are so much higher than anyone in a struggling sector has any right to be earning, especially in a sector that purports to set an example to the rest of society about equality. And to think that there are primary schoolteachers out there who are willing to take a £7,000 cut to their meagre wage to save the jobs of two teaching assistants. Then again, this is the university business we’re talking about, so perhaps we should give up expecting anything more community-minded.
So, what will this grumpy old man miss? The camaraderie and generosity of colleagues, of course. Being paid to indulge my research interests and to exchange views with other academics about how to steer the world in a juster direction, certainly. But what I shall miss the most, for all the preceding rants, are the people who matter the most: the students.
The 18- to 21-year-old age group is unfailingly fascinating and rewarding, not only to teach but to counsel. Students come to us at the outset of a new, scary and often lonely chapter of their lives, and we are there to guide them as best we can, proffering a shoulder to cry on as well as wisdom to feed off. Patience and compassion, for me, have always been more vital than erudition or knowledge.
After extensive duty in the cut-throat world of journalism, the needs, the innocence and the smiles of my students softened me, banishing cynicism. My rewards, though, lie beyond the post-graduation achievements communicated via Facebook and LinkedIn.
Those students have taught me two priceless lessons: how to help my children as they approached the same critical juncture in their lives and how to cope with their absence once they began attending university. From inspiration to compensation. My gratitude is endless.
Teenagers will now vanish from my life, possibly for ever. That’s why I know I’ll miss those students appreciably more than they’ll miss me.
The grass is greener
If you have always wondered about a life outside academia, I’m here to tell you: the grass is greener. Since my PhD days, I’ve been peeking over the fence. In 2019, I finally took action. My aim is to speak to you, an academic who’s contemplating leaving, and suggest why it might be a positive life-changing move.
One month into my new career, I had a drink with a still-academic friend. She’d been running three internal committees in the hope of making a vague promise of tenure come good. She’d neglected writing articles and had put a book idea on hold to monitor internal politics, and as she drank her wine she told me she’d lost. She’d been denied tenure. I listened, and I was outraged.
But then I recognised something. My heart was not racing. I was not consumed by the fight-or-flight response that usually overtook me during such conversations. Why? Although it made me angry, her story no longer reminded me of my own desperate plight. I’d found an alternative work universe where academic troubles did not exist. I know I’m still in the honeymoon period of my new job, but this professional pivot made me realise: after 15 years in an academic bubble, the best thing about leaving is finding out that the world is more than the ivory tower.
How did I get to this point? When building up my academic CV, I remember being drilled about the importance of “solo author” or “first author” publications: I would demonstrate my worth through individual visibility. Why do academics find stories such as my friend’s outrageous? She took on a role that contributed to her department at the expense of her own research output and, eventually, her career. We are socialised to baulk at collaboration, and horror stories such as this just push us further into isolation.
As an assistant professor, I loved how I could focus on my very own research topic. It’s a privilege to publish under your name. But there’s a dark side. If you don’t get credit, you have no value. We are afraid to share our research project until it’s finished – or, better still, published. I learned the lonely but effective strategy of keeping my cards close to my chest.
“Collaboration” is certainly one of today’s buzzwords. While networking for non-academic jobs, I heard the concept thrown about. In my second week in my new job, I saw it in action. Several colleagues presented work in progress, from a project that had been conceived four days earlier (four days: not four months, not four years). Everyone in the room gave constructive feedback. Not simply because they were nice people, but because the success of the project involved them, too: their work would excel if their colleagues’ work excelled. Their insights could contribute to the insights of the entire team.
There is no “I” in team, but there is one in “academic”. When there is scientific collaboration in an academic department, there’s an inevitable fight for authorship, which in my experience extends even to internal policy documents. In my brief time outside, I’ve learned that contributing to the research strategy and production of a team and, eventually, an entire company can be empowering. For the first time in my professional life, I believe that I can actually change a place for the better. It turns out that authorship isn’t so important after all.
There was a time when I forgot about my urge to leave. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, they say. The phrase is meant to reprimand people who aren’t satisfied with their current situation. I was determined to be optimistic: I was on the tenure track, living the academic dream! I did the dance of grant submission, convinced that I was on my way to being a star. I failed, and failed again. And again.
Grants: all your ideas, painstakingly laid out over months and sometimes years of preparation. That list of publications you fought to assemble tacked on as proof of your competence. Then there’s blind peer review, in which an anonymous person gets to decide whether the grant proposal is good enough. A lonely professor, halfway across the world, who has some weird negative association with your topic, rejects your idea, and it goes in the bin. “It’s a lottery,” they say. “It doesn’t mean anything.” But it does. If you don’t win, you don’t know if it’s because your ideas suck or you just missed the mark by chance. That uncertainty, to put it mildly, messes with your mind.
In the end, this was the reason why I would never get promoted. The necessity of grant success became the thing that wore me down, more than anything else. For years I saw grant submission as a curse, but failing at it was also a blessing in disguise. It gave me the momentum to declare that I would no longer play a rigged game and to say goodbye. Now I have weekly meetings with a manager who measures my success through tangible outcomes. It’s as if I’m taking great gulps of air into my lungs after what feels like a lifetime underwater.
Should you quit? I know I just spelled it out, but forget about the dysfunction: the real question is simply whether you have that nagging feeling that you’re in the wrong place. If you’ve got that and you have the audacity to quit, find something else and realise there is a life outside the ivory tower, then I guarantee: the grass is always greener.
Publicație : The Times
Universities’ critical thinking is in a critical state
Calls for critical thinking from their students are rarely reflected in academics’ own writing or institutional behaviour, says Alex Wright
We can all agree that universities should be places where critical thinking is embraced, developed and practised. Unfortunately, those who manage higher education institutions and those who work within them just don’t seem very good at it.
I was once – albeit briefly – a member of a senior team in a UK business school. I was present at many meetings where we were presented with dubious reports and bizarre strategies (as a strategy academic I have some knowledge of strategy) that we were expected to accept unquestioningly, merely because they originated from an authoritative source: usually the vice-chancellor’s office.
The unspoken rule seemed to be that, as a senior team member, my duty was to support initiatives and changes that I didn’t believe in. To challenge them resulted in being labelled “against change”, a charge that implicitly questioned your right to senior team status. Leaders, it seemed, were those that championed change, no matter how wrongheaded it appeared.
These experiences were in stark contrast to how I was teaching strategy to my MBA students at the time. I tried to emphasise to them the importance of thinking critically when confronted with organisational strategies: not to accept them at face value but to seek out and question the underpinning assumptions. I encouraged them to apply models and theories knowing that they have limitations as well as strengths. Yet the strategies I was exposed to on the senior team were often justified through ham-fisted use of simplistic management models; I often reflected that if my MBA students had produced those strategies, they would be marked as fails.
Another example of the hollowness of universities’ claims around critical thinking can be seen in student assessments. Rare is the social science student who is not asked to engage their critical faculties. They are routinely instructed to critically evaluate, critically analyse and critically discuss. And yet neither the academic who inserts the word “critical” into essay instructions nor the students required to demonstrate the quality have any real idea what the difference is between “critically” assessing and just assessing.
The most common response to such wording by both students and faculty is to ignore it. Students find attempting any form of criticality in their work a high-risk approach, as they tend to associate it with negativity. And while faculty may instinctively feel that their students should engage deeply with the material they encounter – interpreting benefits as well as problems, revealing assumptions and questioning claims – they know that such skills are not easily developed or straightforwardly assessed.
One problem with asking students to critique is that its form cannot be known in advance. This makes it difficult to craft marking guidelines for the demonstration of critical thinking. Much better, then, for all concerned to pay the concept only lip service: to include it as a requirement in assessments but to not worry too much if it is not in evidence.
Indeed, academics do not always exercise critical thinking in their own writing. Take review papers. These are meant to constitute a critical appraisal of a body of knowledge. They are important because they help to articulate the current state of the field; they are widely cited and are seen as accomplished scholarship. But while they typically bill themselves as “critical” reviews, that is rarely the reality.
At August’s Academy of Management annual conference in Boston, Snejina Michailova of the University of Auckland and I will present our (ahem…) critical review of 275 review articles. Unfortunately, I can reveal that the vast majority are not critical in any sense of the word. Rather, they are unquestioningly accepting of the literatures they cover. Instead of reviewing the empirical research, most authors simply group the studies, re-present their main findings and offer a benign summary.
This misuse of the term “critical” has to stop. If we state that the piece of work is a critical review, examination or analysis, it has to live up to that billing. This is a fundamental requirement of academic integrity: if we make a claim for our work, we must deliver on it. Regrettably, it seems that a sizeable number of academic colleagues make no effort to substantiate their claims – and reviewers and editors make no effort to oblige them to do so.
So, while there will no doubt be further calls for our students to demonstrate more critical engagement with their academic studies, let us all try harder to mean it. And let us try a lot harder to practise what we preach.
Publicație : The Times
Why OfS decisions on for-profits matter for whole sector
The fate of big alternative providers has implications for the future of English for-profit HE, writes John Morgan
The impending decisions from the UK’s Office for Students about whether or not to strip some big for-profit providers of their right to benefit from public student loans money are important for the whole sector.
These are big institutions in terms of their numbers of students with public funding. GSM London, the biggest for-profit college in England, had 4,587 students with Student Loans Company funding in 2017-18 – more than Imperial College London with 3,522, for example.
Via student tuition fees, £152 million of public money went into GSM London in the six years to 2017-18, SLC figures show.
The size of some of these for-profit colleges matters for a couple of reasons.
First, if the OfS does indeed decide to bar some of the biggest for-profit recruiters of students from its register of providers, this would change the outlook for for-profit higher education in England.
Institutions such as GSM London and St Patrick’s College based their business models on high-volume recruitment of students, often mature ones, without the qualifications to go into traditional higher education (but with access to SLC funding). If the OfS refuses registration to any providers of this type, citing dropout rates as a key factor, it could, in effect, kill off such high-volume recruitment by for-profits.
It could look too risky to for-profit providers, and their investors, to recruit large numbers of non-traditional students (which is pretty much the only high-volume market not dominated already by universities).
That isn’t to say there would be no future for for-profit higher education in England. But if the OfS makes a big statement through refusals of registration, the future of for-profit provision would likely be more in niche specialisms or in using UK degree-awarding powers overseas, rather than mass domestic recruitment.
Although providers can still grow rather large in niche areas, the OfS could potentially – and not with this intent – finally kill off the vision of former universities minister Lord Willetts that for-profit providers would compete with universities at scale.
Second, if a sizeable for-profit institution were to get into financial difficulty because it was refused access to loans for new students by the OfS, it would be a test of the regulator and the government in terms of their ability to find alternatives for its students.
The English sector has never really seen a sizeable institution leave. In some of the scenarios imaginable after OfS action, we might get a better picture of what a “market exit” really looks like.
But it is also easy to imagine providers challenging the validity of the data used by the OfS in any refusal decisions (on dropout rates, for example) and perhaps ultimately challenging in the courts any refusals to allow access to student loan funding.
This could be a big battle, with some big implications for higher education as a whole.
Publicație : The Times
Polytechnique: le commandant de promo 2019 écarté pour ses propos tenus sur Facebook
Au cours des dernières années, le lieutenant-colonel Emmanuel Desachy a manqué à son devoir de réserve en partageant ses opinions sur des sujets de société via les réseaux sociaux.
Son nom avait été proposé par l’armée de Terre. En tant que «commandant de promotion», Emmanuel Desachy devait encadrer militairement la nouvelle promotion de Polytechnique dès la rentrée. Selon les informations du journal Le Point confirmées par Le Figaro, le comité exécutif de l’école a finalement décidé d’annuler sa mutation lors de sa dernière réunion, lundi 22 juillet. En cause, plusieurs publications sur son compte Facebook, qui n’est aujourd’hui plus accessible.
Sur le réseau social, le lieutenant-colonel partageait ses opinions sur des sujets politiques et sociétaux, comme le mariage pour tous ou encore l’avortement, ainsi que de nombreuses pétitions. Il aurait surtout tenu des propos critiques à l’égard de deux présidents de la République: Emmanuel Macron et François Hollande, à l’instar d’un lien, partagé le 30 mars 2017 et qui renvoie à une page Facebook intitulée «Hollande démission».
Des élèves ont eux-mêmes fait remonter le problème à l’administration
Problème: en tant que militaire, Emmanuel Desachy est soumis au devoir de réserve. Cette obligation, qui ne concerne pas le contenu de ses opinions personnelles mais la façon dont il les exprime, signifie qu’il doit faire preuve de mesure et de réserve quant à l’expression écrite et orale de ses idées, même en dehors de son service.
L’école Polytechnique a pris connaissance de ces publications controversées au mois de juillet. Visiblement dérangés par ces prises de position, des élèves de l’école avaient fait remonter ce problème à l’administration après avoir compilé les publications parues sur la page Facebook d’Emmanuel Desachy.
Un rapprochement entre les terroristes et les fans de métal
Parmi celles ci, Emmanuel Desachy aurait fait un rapprochement entre les victimes du Bataclan, venues assister à un concert de métal, et les auteurs de l’attaque, qu’il décrit comme leurs «frères siamois».
Le militaire s’est également exprimé librement dans la presse. En 2013, le secrétaire général de la section du parti socialiste du pays de Bitche (Moselle) avait adressé un courrier au colonel du 16ème bataillon de chasseurs, au sein duquel Emmanuel Desachy était alors officier. Il lui demandait de «faire appliquer le devoir de réserve», à la suite d’un article paru dans le journal Le Républicain Lorrain du 20 avril 2013 et dans lequel Emmanuel Desachy s’était exprimé sur le mariage pour tous. Il y affirmait que le ministère de l’Intérieur de l’époque mentait sur le nombre de personnes présentes lors d’une manifestation organisée à Sarreguemines (Moselle).
Publicație : Le Figaro