Tag Archives: universities

Blogs we like #6

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Keeping informed about the problems in Italian higher education lights your fire? The effort to evaluate academic performance in Italy’s universities floats your boat? Then you will certainly want to have a look at the ROARS (Return On Academic ReSearch) blog. Recent contributions have focused on the Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca 2004-2010 –  the third, by far the most detailed and systematic, evaluation of the research productivity of staff and departments in the past ten years, covering the 184,742 books, chapters, articles and conference papers produced in Italy’s scientific communities over that period which were submitted for assessment. Parts of the discussion – how to use bibliometric data fairly, deal with the distinctive publishing practices of different disciplines and ensure that friends and enemies will nonetheless provide informed and impartial assessments – match the debates in Australia and elsewhere when similar exercises were introduced. But many of the distinctive features of higher education in Italy are also brought out clearly in the cut-and-thrust of the contributions. The blog’s list of tags shows the very wide range of university issues covered, some of which have been addressed in the posts by Marino Regini (22 November 2012) and Edda Orlandi (11 April 2013).

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LCNAU for you, for Italian, for all languages in the Australian university sector

John Hajek & Anya Woods    University of Melbourne

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The Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU – pronounced ell-see-now) was established in 2011 as the first coordinated national organization for languages in Australia’s tertiary education sector. The network is the result of a national project, ‘Leadership for future generations’, originally funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), with additional significant support provided by a number of universities around the country. Italian, and all other languages have long faced many serious challenges in Australia’s universities – not the least of which are fragmentation and isolation (both university- and language-specific across a very large nation); LCNAU is here precisely to address these and many other issues in a positive fashion. Continue reading

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Dalla parte dello Studente Non Frequentante

Edda Orlandi   Università degli Studi di Milano

Del mio primo giorno di università mi rimane solo questa impressione: trovai bellissimo il fatto che le porte fossero sempre tutte aperte, e quindi che chiunque, anche senza essere iscritto, potesse entrare in università e ascoltare una lezione, qualunque lezione volesse.

Alla terza lezione del corso di economia politica, e alla quarta di diritto pubblico, in effetti, il mio entusiasmo per tutta questa accessibilità del Sapere si era già in gran parte esaurito, e iniziavo a meditare di sfruttare questa liberalità delle aule universitarie statali per fare un giro esplorativo in altre facoltà, prive di numeri, formule e commi, e valutare se cambiare corso di laurea fin che ero ancora in tempo. Di lì a poco avrei indirizzato il mio interesse per il libero accesso alle aule universitarie nella direzione opposta: alla libertà di uscirne, o, se per questo, di non entrarvi neppure, come studente non frequentante. E, in fondo, l’essermi laureata in Scienze Politiche e non aver deciso di cambiare facoltà lo devo un po’ anche a questo. Continue reading

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Cultura, caffè, calcio: the Monash Prato experience

Luke Bancroft   Monash University

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La curva Fiesole, 2 December 2012

A colleague of mine once told me that I was the odd one out.  It was early one evening, about mid-way through my first semester of tutoring, and I was having a bit of a vent because my students weren’t as engaged as I had hoped they would be.  ‘Remember’, she said, ‘you can’t expect them to be as interested in it as you are…it’s what you do.’  It made perfect sense to me then, and ever since I have tried to be mindful of the fact that a good teacher/tutor/mentor/whatever must always consider the complexities of keeping their students engaged.  Surely having a happy and interested student is half the battle…right?  Whilst this may be a strange place to start a post on five weeks spent assisting forty-five students explore the Renaissance in Tuscany, there was definitely a lesson in those words that resonated.

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Italian Universities: The Unrecognised Problem

Marino Regini   Università di Milano

La Statale (University of Milan). Photo Danilo Gioia.

As Martin Trow already noticed some forty years ago, universities in the developed world are going through different stages: from “élite institutions” to “mass universities” that allow for “generalized access” to higher education (HE). In most European countries, the main response by governments to this process has been to differentiate their HE systems. A first wave of differentiation occurred in the 1960s-1970s, as a response to the need to accommodate a mass of students with different backgrounds and ambitions: the Polytechnics in the UK and the Instituts universitaires de technologie in France served this purpose. Several Continental-European countries went as far as setting in place a formally “binary” HE system: this was the reason to create “Universities of Applied Sciences” first in Germany and The Netherlands, then in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium. A second wave took place in the late 1990s, when the competitive allocation of research funds as a result of the RAE in the UK or of the Exzellenzinitiative in Germany (soon followed by France) served the same purpose.

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