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Cop on Comrades

25 May

Feminist Ire

We are a group of activist women from a wide variety of backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Last week, a good number of the left-wing men we work and organise with seriously disappointed us. These men – our friends, our fellow trade unionists, activists, writers, organisers, and artists – shared and commented on a reductive and damaging article written by Frankie Gaffney, which was published in the Irish Times.

We live in a world where our advantages are tangled up with the things that disadvantage us – some of us are working class, some queer, some of us are poor, some of us come from minority ethnic groups or have disabilities or don’t enjoy the security of citizenship. As well, some of us have had a multitude of opportunities in our lives while some of us have had to fight our way through. It is an obligation on…

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What’s wrong with management in higher education?

30 Apr


By Rob Cuthbert 

Matthew Reisz reported for Times Higher Education on 30 March 2017 that ‘the results beginning to come in from the National Senior Management Survey are both startling and dismaying.’ He said: ‘Early data from the National Senior Management Survey, which is being developed by academics at eight universities, find that barely one in 10 (10.4 per cent) respondents is satisfied with the way their institution is managed; 76.5 per cent are not.’

This is fake news: take a look at the National Senior Management Survey. It has grand aims but asks a series of leading questions, and its self-selecting sample is likely to be all those who want to complain about senior management in their institution. There is something wrong with the methods of this survey, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing wrong with senior management in HE. Indeed, the progenitors of the National Senior…

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Our benefit concert was ‘a HUGE success’.

2 Apr


Michelines Three Conditions

IMG_8196We’ve been inundated with thanks and praise for the benefit concert on Wednesday night. It really was a great night and it felt lovely to have organised something that gave such happiness to nearly everyone involved: audience, the performers and all the volunteers wearing our yellow T shirts.IMG_81852.jpg The only complaint was from a woman who thought she was coming just to see the ‘stunning Tommy Tiernan’. Otherwise it was just heartfelt thanks. Someone told us it was the best gig they’d ever been to, and they weren’t young! The reason it went so well was the shared aspiration of nearly all the 800 people: there to help the five women.

So a great big thank you to the two bands for doing it for us. My Fellow Sponges opened the show with sweet melodies and wonderful words. Then after the interval The Stunning were magnificent, and the quality, with

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Notes on last night’s Claire Byrne Live

14 Dec

Cunning Hired Knaves

"Public opinion, c'est moi!"“Public opinion, c’est moi!”

On last night’s show a debate on Europe’s refugee crisis was preceded by a standing ovation from the studio audience for members of the Irish Navy, who stood in line in full uniform.

The panellists for the debate were actor Liam Cunningham, government minister Paul Kehoe, and Irish Independent columnist Ian O’Doherty. I had started watching the programme out of curiosity after seeing tweets objecting to Ian O’Doherty’s presence on the show.

Ian O’Doherty -a dull-minded figure who poses as a Christopher Hitchens-style contrarian but without the allure of the turncoat, the ostentatious learning, or the mental dexterity that Hitchens had on offer – served up a farrago of racist talking points that originate with the far right. It was O’Doherty’s views that were allowed to frame the discussion, and Cunningham, and to a lesser extent Kehoe, were called upon to respond.

Of those who spoke…

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Spread some cheer this Christmas… A personal post

9 Dec


***updated list at midnight Wednesday – thank you for the enormous response, these are the kids who aren’t covered yet but we’re nearly there! If I haven’t replied to you apologies, just try me again as I’m fielding a lot of very generous offers***

2 boys under 6 months
1 girl and 1 boy aged 6-12 months
2 boys and 1 girl aged 1 year
2 girls aged 2 years
1 girl aged 3 years
1 girl aged 4 years
1 girl aged 6
1 girl aged 8
1 boy aged 9
3 boys aged 11
1 girl aged 12
Teenagers, 7 boys 5 girls

Eleven weeks after our little boy joined us, I’m finally able to sit down and write again, prompted by an article I read in the Irish Times last week. After an emotional year – as well as Ferdia’s birth, we’ve moved house, watched my mother go…

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The Valley of Shit

25 Jan

Great truths in this.
Also, the post-doctoral valley of shit deserves its own post!

SAS Confidential

Author: Inger Mewburn
Original: Thesis Whisperer

I have a friend, let’s call him Dave, who is doing his PhD at the moment.

I admire Dave for several reasons. Although he is a full time academic with a young family, Dave talks about his PhD as just one job among many. Rather than moan about not having enough time, Dave looks for creative time management solutions. Despite the numerous demands on him, Dave is a generous colleague. He willingly listens to my work problems over coffee and always has an interesting suggestion or two. His resolute cheerfulness and ‘can do’ attitude is an antidote to the culture of complaint which seems, at times, to pervade academia.

I was therefore surprised when, for no apparent reason, Dave started talking negatively about his PhD and his ability to finish on time. All of a sudden he seemed to lose confidence in himself, his…

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What Parents Need to Know About College Faculty

14 Dec

SAS Confidential

Author: Joseph Fruscione
Original: PBS NewsHour

It was a nice spring day in 1999 — my second semester of teaching. I was walking past a campus tour group and saw one of my students leading it. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect: as I was passing them, a parent asked if all university faculty were full time. “Yes,” my student said. I was taken aback, because I’d told my classes about being adjunct, as well as a bit about what “adjunct” meant and how many of us there were in the English department alone teaching freshman writing.

The next day, I pulled him aside after class and asked him about it. “I’m not mad at you; I’m just curious: Your class knows I’m a graduate student, not a full-time professor with tenure. I don’t even have my doctorate yet. Why did you tell that parent all university faculty were…

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