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    Taking Culture Seriously: How can we build positive change and coherent practice within our research communities?

Taking Culture Seriously: How can we build positive change and coherent practice within our research communities?

Change in higher education often progresses slowly. If scholars are serious about wanting to change disciplinary and institutional cultures and not merely to wait for Cultural Change to magically happen, Cameron Neylon argues we need to consider the differing approaches to how certain cultures operate, interact and eventually change. Ultimately, change in higher education requires a variety of levers […]

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    Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

The Case Method is a teaching approach popular in business schools that aims to introduce students to a range of real-life scenarios and build decision-making skills. But little evolution has occurred in the style of Case Studies over the years. Tom Clark looks at innovation in the format and its delivery to teachers and students. In the age of digital learning, the route […]

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    Why do university-managed blogs matter? On the importance of public, open and networked digital infrastructure.

Why do university-managed blogs matter? On the importance of public, open and networked digital infrastructure.

Academic blogging is increasingly valued by academics and institutions as a worthwhile activity. But universities are still struggling to provide the right balance of infrastructure and services to support their academics’ online presence. As universities look to external providers to extend the reach of scholarly ideas, what might be lost by not investing in in-house efforts? Sierra Williams identifies […]

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    Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Having a funding application rejected does not necessarily mean the research is unsupportable by funders – maybe just unlucky. There is a significant risk to wider society in the rejection of unlucky but otherwise sound applications: good ideas may slip through the cracks, or be re-worked and dulled-down to sound more likely to provide reliable results. Oli Preston looks at […]

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    How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

Laura Czerniewicz presents an overview of findings from a study on the practices of university students accessing learning resources at a research-intensive university in South Africa. There is a grey zone in the access of resources that is now simply part of normal life in a new communication and information order. The students’ perspectives raise critical issues for new models of […]

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    What constitutes valuable scholarship? The use of altmetrics in promotion and tenure.

What constitutes valuable scholarship? The use of altmetrics in promotion and tenure.

The traditional ways in which promotion and tenure committees assess scholarship — whether quantitatively or qualitatively — are either inappropriate or insufficient for capturing its true value, argue Stacy Konkiel, Cassidy R. Sugimoto and Sierra Williams. Altmetrics can help fill in the knowledge gaps, but ultimately will only provide a limited view. Richer narratives can always be found by digging deeper into […]

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    The University Press Redux: Balancing traditional university values with a culture of digital innovation.

The University Press Redux: Balancing traditional university values with a culture of digital innovation.

This week the first UK conference on the state and future of university presses is taking place. The university press concept has regained strength in recent years and in the last 12 months alone a host of new presses have been launched in the UK. Anthony Cond, Director of Liverpool University Press shares his thoughts on the changing landscape of […]

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    Enabling authors to pay for open access – The Gold Open Access market and the role of an institutional central fund.

Enabling authors to pay for open access – The Gold Open Access market and the role of an institutional central fund.

Having tracked and analysed the usage data of one university’s central open access fund over an eight year period, Stephen Pinfield shares findings from a detailed case study of the paid-for Gold Open Access market. Mandates, particularly if accompanied by funding, have played a very important role in encouraging uptake of Gold OA. Communication was a crucial factor in making potential users of […]

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    Is it ethical to be passionate in academia? Passion is a central concept for understanding academic labour.

Is it ethical to be passionate in academia? Passion is a central concept for understanding academic labour.

Today we launch a new series of posts from a recent conference about the Accelerated Academy. Pieces over the next few weeks will explore the history, development and structure of audit cultures in Higher Education, digitally mediated measurement and the quantification of scholarship. The first piece in the series is from Fabian Cannizzo. Drawing from his research in Australia, he explores performance management criteria, […]

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    Moving interdisciplinary research forward: Top down organising force needed to help classify diverse practices.

Moving interdisciplinary research forward: Top down organising force needed to help classify diverse practices.

What does “interdisciplinarity” actually mean? Gabriele Bammer argues lumping interdisciplinary work together may be prohibiting an effective evaluation of how this kind of research is faring. A much more intuitive approach is needed to distinguishing between aspects of diverse research practices. Furthermore, developing effective professional organisations is also a key task for moving interdisciplinary research forward.

In a recent special issue of the journal […]

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    Improving the lack of racial diversity amongst academic staff: will the Race Equality Charter make a difference?

Improving the lack of racial diversity amongst academic staff: will the Race Equality Charter make a difference?

The numbers on diversity in academia are discouraging. There are currently only 70 black professors in the UK; of these, only 17 of are female. As part of ongoing efforts to address these disappointing numbers, the Race Equality Charter mark was recently introduced by the Equality Challenge Unit. But will it make academia more diverse? Kalwant Bhopal explains how the process works and writes […]

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February 5th, 2016|Higher Education|2 Comments|
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    Student evaluations of teaching are not only unreliable, they are significantly biased against female instructors.

Student evaluations of teaching are not only unreliable, they are significantly biased against female instructors.

A series of studies across countries and disciplines in higher education confirm that student evaluations of teaching (SET) are significantly correlated with instructor gender, with students regularly rating female instructors lower than male peers. Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni and Philip B. Stark argue the findings warrant serious attention in light of increasing pressure on universities to measure teaching effectiveness. Given the unreliability […]

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    How to think like a neoliberal: Can every decision and choice really be conceived as a market decision?

How to think like a neoliberal: Can every decision and choice really be conceived as a market decision?

Kean Birch reflects on a classroom exercise introducing students to the reach of market-driven actions in everyday life. He finds the exercise is also helpful for his own engagement with an intellectual tradition with which he disagrees. According to Hayek, Friedman and Becker, every decision and choice can be conceived as a market decision. But in the process of negotiating and renegotiating every action in […]

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    The moral baseline of social media policies: Institutions and scholars need to examine practices with a critical eye

The moral baseline of social media policies: Institutions and scholars need to examine practices with a critical eye

Although scholars are often encouraged to promote their research online, institutional recognition of networked scholarship often appears to be as much about control and surveillance as about integrating public scholarship into academic criteria for success. George Veletsianos argues staff members, faculty, and administrators need to work together to devise forward-thinking policies that take into account the complex realities present in […]

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    An election propelled by academia? Blurring the lines between political science and politics in Spain

An election propelled by academia? Blurring the lines between political science and politics in Spain

The recent Spanish general election has proven to be fertile ground for interactions between politics and academia. Tena Prelec and Stuart Brown single out two phenomena that have developed in Spain: the progressive engagement of precariously-paid junior scholars in politics, and a thriving community of young academic commentators which supplements, and in some cases supplants, the work of the mainstream media.

The results of the Spanish elections on […]

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    Universities need to hone their argument for staying in the EU

Universities need to hone their argument for staying in the EU

Emran Mian looks at four arguments that British universities have so far mustered for staying in the EU – and says universities must engage further, detail by detail, with the Eurosceptic rebuttals to these arguments. Even in universities the support for staying in the EU is soft. There is still time for universities to construct better arguments.

A referendum on […]

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Spending Review brings good news for science.

The government’s recognition of the value of the UK research budget in the Spending Review is good news for science and good news for the economy. Romesh Vaitilingam argues new knowledge and innovative ideas generated by research – whether done in the public or private sector – are key drivers of productivity growth. But without public investment, society as […]

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    Peer review of teaching and the TEF – We need more than a tick-box exercise to improve the quality of teaching.

Peer review of teaching and the TEF – We need more than a tick-box exercise to improve the quality of teaching.

Improving teaching in universities is a worthy aim, but how will the Teaching Excellence Framework recognise and reward quality? Marty Chamberlain looks at how teaching is currently assessed. Peer review of teaching tends to operate superficially when it is decoupled from formal staff development and employee feedback processes. Further complicating matters, in professions underpinned by tacit knowledge, experts tend to rely on personal and […]

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    Addressing societal challenges: Joined-up research funding could facilitate innovation and engagement.

Addressing societal challenges: Joined-up research funding could facilitate innovation and engagement.

With changes looming for research councils and research funding as a whole, John Goddard looks at what a more joined-up research council driven by societal challenges would mean for the social sciences. Universities are going to have to increase their capacity to support engagement with society. The social science community therefore needs to actively enter into the fray locally and […]

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