Saturday, February 25, 2006

In the news this week

(1) The Higher Education Academy of the UK has released its National Professional Standards Framework for Teaching (1) after two years of consultation, as reported in this week's Times Higher (2). Reaction has been mixed, although many institutions and practitioners are broadly supportive, there are still those who feel that it is of little relevance. As Neil MacKay is quoted in the article : "The framework does little to meet the urgent need for reform of lecturers'training programmes, which are felt by many to be built on weak educational theory and far removed from the practicalities of teaching complex and subtle material to increasingly ill-prepared students." Luminaries such as Paul Ramsden and James Wisdom disagree and point out that this is a potential means of ensuring the recognition of the profession of higher education teaching.

(2) Larry Summers (3a) has finally been jetisoned as President of Harvard after continuing controversy over his remarks and approach (3). It would seem that the chauffer-driven limousine's days around campus are numbered, despite the support from many students (4). Derek Bok, well-known past President will be acting in an interim capacity.

(3) The Irish Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, was joined this week by a delegation from Irish higher education institutions on a trip to China to sign a Qualifications Agreement(5).

(4) The National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education has called on institutions to make access part of their core activities (6).



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