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 Post subject: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:33 am 
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Location: Bradford
There is a certain sense in suggesting that, if you are going to reduce your "carbon footprint", then you should have a "defined pathway". That way, at least your know where to put your feet. Putting their feet in it, it seems, are three quarters of university students (74 percent) who, according to a survey commissioned by the Carbon Trust, would like their university to have the Carbon Trust Standard to prove it has taken action on climate change.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:45 pm 
I've never thought of students as great tea drinkers!


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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:31 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:22 am
Posts: 19
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Last year at my university's Student Association AGM the students passed motions on keeping the main library open until midnight every day and on instructing the university to pressure the Royal Bank of Scotland into stop investing in the oil and gas industry. What can one say? Oh, they also want to have climate change officers for student residences.


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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:22 am 
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Quote:
on instructing the university to pressure the Royal Bank of Scotland into stop investing in the oil and gas industry.


It was Barclays Bank and South Africa in my day. Plus ça change ....


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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
Posts: 6700
Ahhh, yes..
Still the Kremlin set the agenda then, so there was atb least a Cold-War rationality(!!) to their demands.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:32 pm 
One may wonder whether today's students are less intelligent that those of yesteryear,and it would be true. When I was at Uni in the 80's, only the top 20% had access to degree courses so, from the natural distribution of IQ, that meant that youngsters of IQ of above about 115 entered tertiary education. Today, NuLab has just about achieved Blair's goal of sending 50% of school-leavers to Uni-poly (and not on the dole!) so the base line is 100 IQ points. And the quality of course material has declined in order to accommodate.


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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
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Careful, that's a Thatcher legacy.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:13 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:26 am
Posts: 1291
Location: UK
Allan_Aberdeen wrote:
And the quality of course material has declined in order to accommodate.

If only it was a simple matter of lowering of standards of course material and achievement levels. In a real sense, in traditional terms, there are now no standards. This is at all levels, up to and inclusive of Ph.D.s and post-docs, and is a consequence of no one being allowed to fail. So, it’s not simply that those receiving education are the same as before but a little less knowledgeable. Now, in addition to a lack of technical knowledge, here is only the weakest sense of personal responsibility for their work. There is mind-numbing lack of initiative. There is an excessive belief in subjectivity - that one answer is as good as another. This is a systemic failure, not the difference of 10 IQ points


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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:47 pm 
That's very depressing, ELF.

You sound very much like a man with his finger on the pulse here. So, just restricting this to the hard sciences, do you happen to know:

1. whether this 'fall from grace' is across the board (of all higher institutions) in roughly equal measures or do the 'Ivy League' still fully retain their standards;

2. if we are retaining/maintaining a sufficient number of high-quality academics in place in order to rebuild the culture when eventually we return to our senses (I hope); and

3. how we compare to the rest of the West in this respect? (I hear the Americans, for example, are very unhappy with their schools at least.)


The left have a lot to answer for.


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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:26 am
Posts: 1291
Location: UK
John,

I left academia many years ago, so my information is second hand – my job is high-tech so I have regular contact with UK and european academics. Also personal contacts. The story that I hear is sufficiently consistent, and is a world away from what I, and I suspect yourself, knew. So I posted. But it is necessarily a generalisation, so if someone else posts with contradictory experiences, fair enough.

The consistent themes are - difficulties doing research due to poor junior workers, not being allowed to fail individuals who lack basic competence, and intake into industry with qualifications which don’t mean anything,

Answers to your questions are partial, and subject to the caveat of limited sampling. Sampling spread across hard sciences, engineering and bio-medical.

'Ivy League’ standards – on non-research degrees, I don’t know. For the ‘second tier’, I do know of compromises. Failing overseas students being a particular problem due to the revenue aspects.

Research degrees. A minority of elite groups that can attract competent Ph.D. students, but the position degrades rapidly outside of these groups. The majority of permanent staff still being high quality, but faced with essentially useless junior staff – the occasional good one, when lucky. Permanent staff then either stress themselves to death trying to maintain quality, or chill out and go with the flow. Inevitably, some useless individuals now rising through the system.

US standards – I don’t know. In terms of junior researchers, I’m told that ex-eastern bloc are good, also chinese although their english can be a problem.

Re-building, if we came to our senses? My view is that it would have to start at the base of the pyramid – literally at primary school level. Set a hard-core academic syllabus, backed by tough examination pass levels. Free schools from government control via voucher system, and let them compete to get pupils through the exams. But then, for university intake, let’s say you are talking 10 years to make any impact, 20 years to get back to where we were. If you want a ten year overlap with competent staff, then you are relying on those now in their 30 s. Otherwise you have to buy in top level people from overseas.

That’s my take on things, for what it’s worth.

PS – reduce the number of academic degrees. Massacre “media studies” departments etc. Strengthen meaningful “ technician “ qualifications.


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 Post subject: Re: A Tetley footprint?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:35 pm 
Thanks for that, ELF. My interaction is very limited and no guide to what's going on generally.

ELF wrote:
Re-building, if we came to our senses? My view is that it would have to start at the base of the pyramid – literally at primary school level. Set a hard-core academic syllabus, backed by tough examination pass levels. Free schools from government control via voucher system, and let them compete to get pupils through the exams.
...

PS – reduce the number of academic degrees. Massacre “media studies” departments etc. Strengthen meaningful “technician“ qualifications.
I thoroughly agree. In fact anything with "studies" in the title should by default be assumed to be total crap and junked. Put the onus on those promoting the "course" to show it's otherwise. Ha ha. They'll find out what failure means, finally.


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