Jul 28 2012

B.Sc. in Problem Solving and Software Development (PSSD)

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 8:37 am

I noticed that DCU has recently launched a new computing degree (B.Sc.) titled Problem Solving and Software Development (PSSD). The novel thing about it is that entry is achieved by showing an aptitude for programming rather than by the traditional exams results method. For more information see DCU School of Computing launches new degree to produce top programmers.

I think that it is a really great idea, and I hope that it is a success! Of course, I assume that the course will be suitably tailored for entrants that have a natural aptitude for computing!

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Jun 07 2012

Irish University Staff Overpayments

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 8:58 pm

The Irish Government’s spending watchdog (the Comptroller and Auditor General) has reported on the staff overspending in Irish Universities, and some of the findings are reported in University staff paid €8.1m in excess of approved rates – Comptroller & Auditor General.

The breakdown is as follows:

However, it is not all good news regarding DCU – it bailed out two of its subsidiary companies. I do not understand why these companies were created as commercial ventures in the first place.

WIT (not a university) also receives criticism:

It cites breaches of spending policy on subsistence and hospitality – including €18,452 spent on flowers and €3,067 on gifts.

Unfortunately, I am not surprised by this :o It is not the first time that WIT has been found misappropriating funds (see How WIT Spends the Taxpayers’ Money). WIT seems to have the worst reputation in Ireland based upon the people whom I have met!

I would like to think that the institutions involved have repaid the money, and that the relevant people have been demoted or fired.

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Apr 30 2012

Annual All-Ireland Schools’ Programming Competition

Category: Second Level,Software DevelopmentTeknovis @ 9:22 am

The deadline for entry into the Annual All-Ireland Schools’ Programming Competition is the end of this week! It is a great competition, and the standard at the final in DCU is always extremely high!

For more details see How to Enter.

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Oct 04 2011

The 50 Most Influential People in Education

Category: EducationTeknovis @ 7:26 pm

I read an interesting article about the most influential people in education in Ireland – The 50 most influential people in education.

The two things that surprised me most were:

  • A lot of the people in the top 10 are not typically associated with Irish education!
  • Brian McCraith, President of DCU, is the only university representative with a leadership role in the top 10 – well done!

It would be interesting to correlate this list with the list cited in Top Educational Salaries in Ireland!

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Sep 06 2011

Irish University Rankings

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 2:11 pm

There are new university rankings published this week, and it is bad news for all of the Irish universities. See Most Irish universities fall further in world ranking for details of the Irish situation, and QS World University Rankings 2011/2012, now with fees information for the complete rankings. As an aside, I think the DCU satisfaction at improving four places is seriously over optimistic!

Additionally, as one UCD researcher whom I know said:

I wonder will Des Fitzgerald’s salary be reduced in line with UCDs falling performance.

Personally, I think it is unlikely :| (The background to this comment is in The top 100 best-paid in education.)

Maybe the solution from an Irish point-of-view is to create a good university and a bad university, in the style of the banking solution. Actually, maybe not when it is considered how well the Government have managed that!

So in summary, Irish universities are delivering poor service at exceptionally high costs. Welcome to the knowledge economy – Irish style!

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Sep 02 2011

Mike on Maths

Category: Second Level,Third LevelTeknovis @ 1:37 pm

Mike Scott, Head of School of Computing in DCU, has spoken out on the falling standard of students, and the perceived difficulty of certain subjects such as maths, in The Tech-Sounding Math-Free Degree!.

I completely agree with all of the opinions expressed, although I would question the following:

Meanwhile in DCU we will continue to insist that graduates emerging from our computing degree courses will have strong technical skills. This is why employers consistently indicate a preference for our graduates.

From the employer’s side of the table, I would definitely question the calibre of some of the recent graduates. Indeed, this is not a problem that is constrained to DCU, but it is equally applicable to all of the Irish universities.

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Aug 25 2011

SFI Funding

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 6:52 pm

Science Foundation Ireland has announced its latest round of funding, in which 15 million Euro will be distributed to fund 79 different university projects. All of the usual universities are in there. See Robust and competitive research will drive Ireland’s economic development – Sherlock for the details.

To be honest, I find it a bit depressing to see some of the names I first came across over 10 years ago in that list, and these people are still doing basically the same projects. It makes me feel that the world moves on, but academics never change :|

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May 16 2011

BehavioSec Raises 1 Million Euro

Category: Entrepreneurship,SecurityTeknovis @ 12:39 pm

I came across a great story today – BehavioSec raises €1m for behavior-based identity theft prevention.

BehavioSec is a Swedish company. However, there is an Irish connection :o Its CTO is Neil Costigan, who is Irish and ex-DCU :)

Well done!

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Apr 25 2011

IRCSET Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme 2011

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 8:18 am

IRCSET recently announced the results of the 2011 Postdoctoral Scheme (see IRCSET Postdoctoral Fellowship Schemes 2010/2011). The value of each fellowship is roughly 80,000€ over two years (see Empower).

According to my count there were 37 fellowships awarded this year. These can be broken down by institution as follows:

  • 4 DCU
  • 1 DIAS (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies – I know very little about this institution!)
  • 1 DIT
  • 6 UCG
  • 10 TCD
  • 1 UL
  • 3 UCC
  • 11 UCD

Clearly TCD and UCD are doing something right because they account for more than half of the successful applicants!

The fellowships can also be broken down by category, although these results are more evenly distributed:

  • 4 Biological Sciences A
  • 6 Biological Sciences B
  • 7 Chemistry
  • 2 Computer Science
  • 4 Earth and Environmental Science
  • 6 Engineering
  • 2 Mathematics
  • 6 Physics

It is also interesting to note how many of the names do not sound Irish!

Overall, I do not think that these fellowships represent good value for the tax payer! I say this, because I know some of the people who have successfully applied for this fellowship. In all cases, it is seen as a way to continue a career as an academic. Furthermore, the people I have known had or have no intention of remaining in Ireland or working in industry. In other words, these people want to become academics for the sake of becoming academics, and their contribution to the country will be minimal.

If it were up to me, I would fund more PhD students who then go on to work in industry!

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Mar 30 2011

DCU Degrees – Try Before You Buy

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 6:01 pm

DCU has launched a programme allowing students to try a university style degree over a two week period during the summer holidays. For more details see ‘Dragon’ kicks off DCU’s Summer Scholars Programme.

I think that this is an absolutely brilliant idea, especially if it helps to reduce the number of first year drop-outs!

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