Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hardest working weeks so far

So it's Sunday afternoon and I'm trying to catch up on last week by doing some more work. I've slept a lot this weekend, and I'm still not sure it's going to be enough rest to get me through the next 10 days. I've worked harder the last two weeks then I have ever worked in my working life. I haven't been up until midnight - my poor CFS riddled body can't do that - but my brain has not taken a vacation once.

I'm about halfway through the hell that is exams and assessment season - peak season for the part of my job that supports the processing of serious academic misconduct cases. So wish me luck for the second half, I'm going to need it. 

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Thoughts on the Dawkiniversity or 'Bloomsbury Polytechnic'

Ok, so I've had a mooch around their website now. I'm amazed that they've got this far into the set up without it being leaked - or am I just not in the right gossip loops?

My thoughts to date:

- By hooking up with the University of London they've managed to bypass the long and (necessarily) laborious degree awarding powers process. I want more info on how the governance and quality assurance of this 'collaborative provision' is going to work. I know UoL is a weird unique institution but how is this new relationship going to work?

- It looks, frankly, parasitic. Leading researchers who are current or emeritus professors at top universities and have had/still have all the benefits of plugging in to a full flavoured university, take all that experience and reputation and set up on their own, and charge fees only £3k less than Harvard.

- Related to the above, this is effectively a teaching only institution, undergraduate only in fact, so a polytechnic. How about we campaign for the name to be changed to Bloomsbury Polytechnic?

- With the government promising to fund up to £6k loans for students registered at private institutions this will mean students will have to find £12k just for tuition up front. This is equivalent or less than the top private secondary schools in the UK - they might find a market, but I'm still not sure exactly what type of students are going to want to go here when you could go to Standford for a top liberal arts education at a bargain £8k, rather than an untested quasi UoL degree.

- If they're planning on recruiting international students...they'll need to be accredited by QAA if they want highly-trusted sponsor status. Bagsy fly on wall for that Institutional Review.... {update} just been corrected by a friend, UoL will be the sponsor, so they've bypassed that set up issue too!

And I second @WilliamCB - who is financially behind this venture... answers on a postcard please.

P.S. Currently reading Arum and Roska's Academically Adrift so I'm all for us re-focusing on undergraduate education... but I don't think this is the way to do it.