Monthly Archives: February 2016

How should we measure the size of a university’s endowment?

How should we measure the size of a university’s endowment?

Congress is rattling its saber at colleges and universities with endowments worth U$1 billion or more. Committees from the House and Senate have sent a joint letter to 56 private colleges and universities, asking for comprehensive information about endowment spending and management policies. Thomas W. Reed, representative for New York’s 23rd Congressional District, is talking […] … learn more→

A fight in Maryland to stop Colleges from stripping low-income students of institutional aid

A fight in Maryland to stop Colleges from stripping low-income students of institutional aid

Imagine that you are a low-income student, and the college you attend does not meet the full amount of financial need that the federal government says you have. Even after receiving all of your financial aid and maxing out on federal student loans, you still owe the school $5,000 in your first year. To cover […] … learn more→

Build your academic brand, because being brilliant doesn’t cut it any more

Build your academic brand, because being brilliant doesn’t cut it any more

One of the recurring portrayals of academics is unworldliness. There was a mortifying episode of The Apprentice when the token PhD candidate buckled in the boardroom because they failed to meet their sales target. The ability to sell rubber dog turds for an egocentric billionaire may not seem a core skill compared with pipetting, coding […] … learn more→

‘Quality assurance’ must be reimagined at Ethiopia’s universities

‘Quality assurance’ must be reimagined at Ethiopia’s universities

Universities and higher education systems around the world have become fixated on quality over the past two decades. They have tried out any number of initiatives designed to improve quality. They have looked for structures that will produce concrete evidence of effectiveness and efficiency. Quality assurance has emerged as one of universities’ most significant management […] … learn more→

Why the UK A-Level psychology exam is already out of date

Why the UK A-Level psychology exam is already out of date

As two university lecturers, we are concerned about the new psychology A-Level, which has been taught to teenagers since September 2015. Our concern is that the new syllabus is narrow and out of step with much psychological research and practice. This is worrying because for many students, A-Level psychology will be their only formal encounter […] … learn more→

Unhelpful PhD advice

Unhelpful PhD advice

No matter who you are, when you start your PhD advice falls around you like fine rain. Despite the fact that I worked in research education already, lots of people felt free to give me advice when I started. I noticed that the advice ranged from the banal and obvious: “Don’t leave all your writing […] … learn more→

Imagine what we could learn if we put a tracker on everyone and everything

Imagine what we could learn if we put a tracker on everyone and everything

We can learn a remarkable amount of information about an individual, such as their health or safety, and about the surrounding environment simply by placing a tracking device on them. For example, consider the recent Tianjin chemical warehouse explosions, which killed 173 people. Investigators found that the explosions occurred because the warehouse was storing hazardous […] … learn more→

Cats and Education

Cats and Education

Anyone teaching in higher education a few decades comes to the conclusion that something is going wrong. There’s a clear trend of enstupidation of our children. It’s not our imagination, as simply reviewing old tests, even old textbooks, shows that the material we cover in class today simply isn’t on the same level of a […] … learn more→

Curriculum changes contradict vision for Britain’s creative future

Curriculum changes contradict vision for Britain’s creative future

The government is pulling simultaneously in two different directions when it comes to how seriously it takes the creative industries. At a speech at the first birthday of the Creative Industries Federation in January, chancellor George Osborne argued that public investment in creative industries was “an investment in who we are as a nation”. He […] … learn more→

The weirdest questions asked about your PhD

The weirdest questions asked about your PhD

A PhD is not just about researching, reading and writing. It’s often about convincing others (and ourselves) that we’ve made the right decision by embarking on this journey. Some questions and advice provide help; others not so much (check out the #unhelpfuladvice on Twitter). Ever since I packed my life in two suitcases and flew […] … learn more→