Poetry Professor calls for education policy re-verse

first_img‘My worry is that in the future students who aren’t willing to take on huge amounts of debt will be put off studying at top universities, even if they are bright enough to go.’Cusworth added, ‘I hope that the government will really work to get the message out to prospective applicants that they won’t have to pay the new higher fees up-front and that, for many people, the monthly repayments will be lower under the new system than what is currently the case’, and explained that she would be working to ensure that no one was put off applying to Oxford because of the higher headline fee.Hill’s comments came as David Willetts’ latest plans for introducing a functioning market in higher education were outlined in a government White Paper, called Students at the Heart of the System. The plans include encouraging universities to bid for places by reserving 20,000 places for courses with fees below £7,500 and allowing universities to offer unlimited places for students with AAB or above, whatever their total student quota.Willetts claims his policy will put “students in the driving seat” and “put power … in the hands of students”. According to the Higher Education Minister, these new procedures are “just the start”.However, these attempts to impose market forces on the University system are unlikely to change student numbers at Oxford. A spokesperson for the University said, “The University has no plans to increase undergraduate numbers. The tutorial and collegiate systems place a natural limit on student numbers.”NUS President Aaron Porter argued that the changes would expose students to “the potential chaos of the market and yet there are still no concrete proposals for how quality, accountability and access will be improved.”Cusworth commented, ‘I think because of Oxford’s traditions and approach to academic study some of the more market orientated proposals in the White Paper won’t work in the Oxford context.’However, she added, ‘I think it’s important we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and I welcome Willetts’ focus on ensuring teaching is valued and always of a high quality.’ Oxford’s Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill, slammed the government’s higher education reforms in front of a packed Sheldonian Theatre last week.At the ancient Encaenia Ceremony, during which the University of Oxford awards honorary degrees and pays tribute to its benefactors, Professor Hill disparaged proposals which he said would turn students into ‘consumers and punters’.He described his own experiences of coming to Oxford from a working class family, with neither of his parents having been to university. Hill also outlined his fears that the level of scholarships and grants which had made attending university possible for him would not be available under the new funding arrangements.He added, ‘If even one University comes to consider their students as consumers and punters, the future of education in this country is bleak.’Outgoing President of the Oxford Student Union David Barclay commended Professor Hill’s speech, saying, ‘As the representative of Oxford students I applaud Professor Hill for his inspiring and vitally important speech today.‘At one of the University’s most public occasions it was crucial to acknowledge the damage being done to Higher Education by a Government policy in total freefall.‘Like Professor Hill I find it extremely offensive to suggest that students are consumers. We are members of our University community and our rights and power come from that status, not from the size of our wallets and the level of our debts.’Professor Hill’s speech comes just weeks after Oxford academics voted overwhelmingly for the No Confidence motion in Universities Minister David Willetts. The Philosophy department of Kings College London has also passed a similar motion, and one is due before Cambridge academics this month.OUSU’s incoming Vice President for Access and Academic Affairs, Hannah Cusworth, also expressed her support for Professor Hill’s speech. She commented, ‘I think it’s important that universities aren’t just presented to people as solely institutions that improve somebody’s job prospects and that people should choose which university they apply to on the basis on how much it costs.last_img read more

Like a Kid

first_imgThere are a lot of reasons to ride your bike. It’s really good cardio, it’s a wonderful way to see a city, it helps reduce your carbon footprint…but if I’m being honest with myself, I ride my bike so much because it makes me feel like I’m 13 again. There was an afternoon recently when I rode my bike through my neighborhood to the park to play baseball, which is literally what I did just about every day of my 13th year. Although this time, I did have a flask of whiskey in my backpack, so I guess it wasn’t exactly like when I was 13. Our latest Whiskey Wednesday resulted in a similar sense of nostalgia for the whole group. We picked a strange route that had us exploring a weird forested track with rogue trails dropping off of a couple of dirt fire roads. The trails were mostly fall line, skinny pieces of loose dirt that zig-zagged through the trees and over creeks. We didn’t know where any of them led, so every new path we took was a leap of faith. It felt a lot like mountain biking for the first time, when everything was new and we were pedaling hard and going fast because it was fun and adventurous.I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, probably because I’m 40 and I guess that’s what you do when you hit middle age. You think about the glory days of little league and riding bikes before you discovered girls. I even had a nostalgic moment for shitty beer recently. I was at a party and there was a Corona in the cooler. So, I drank it, and the beer immediately took me back to my early 20s—a time when there wasn’t a lot of craft beer to be had, and even if there were options, I didn’t have the money to splurge on decent beer. I spent most of my time drinking Natural Light ($6 for a 12 pack). But if I was flush with cash, I was drinking Corona with a lime. Even today, the beer tastes like pool parties and a general lack of responsibility. I think the whole craft beer world must be feeling nostalgic for those days, because more breweries are producing their own version of the Mexican Lager. Oskar Blues has one, Ska Brewing has one, 21st Amendment has one…now Sweetwater has one. They’re debuting their easy-drinking Mexican Style Lager today, in honor of Cinco de Mayo. The beer is one of the first releases from their new pilot brewing system, The Hatchery. And it’s exactly what you think it should be—light as hell (just 4.8% ABV), mildly sweet and crisp…in short, it tastes like pool parties and a general lack of responsibility, and I respect the hell out of Sweetwater for sticking to the script with the style. Craft breweries have the tendency to get a little arty with their beers, even when they’re trying to placate the lowest common denominator. They’ll brew a 40-ounce malt liquor, but use organic malt, an experimental hop strain and hibiscus flowers. But Sweetwater’s Mexican Style Lager satisfies my thirst for nostalgia. It’s like riding a bike to a baseball game, or pedaling hard through the woods without knowing where you’re going. It’s like being a kid again.last_img read more

Adapting to a changing membership: A few suggestions for credit union board members

first_imgAlbert Einstein described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” While that quote isn’t new to any of us, most of us are guilty of putting forth old ideas and expecting new outcomes  …  not a successful recipe for adapting to the changing needs of members.To fully understand adapting to change, we need to accept (please note: I didn’t say “embrace”) and understand that change is inevitable. Likewise, change is manageable. Wikipedia presents this succinct explanation: change management is an approach to shifting/transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. I added the emphasis on the last three words … “desired future state.”Now we’re getting somewhere: focusing on the future is the starting point for adapting to change, including changes that come as a result of a shifting membership. And, adopting a forward-thinking attitude fits perfectly within the role of a volunteer board member since setting clear direction for management, including a strategic vision, is one of the most important jobs of a credit union board (if not the most important).So we’ve established that “change happens,” and that the starting point for effectively managing change is to focus on your desired endpoint … now what? Well, now is the time to make some adjustments to your board’s routines to ensure that you can adapt to meet your changing membership’s needs. Here are four steps that can make a huge difference in the way you look at your credit union and the world.1. Review Your Strategic Plan At Every Board MeetingYes, you read that correctly! Include the strategic plan as a part of your board agenda. Ask questions of your CEO to ensure that they are moving the credit union in the direction that you intended and be willing to make mid-year adjustments to your plan. Let’s be realistic, often what seems to be a really great idea during the strategic planning process may not pan out … determine that quickly and move on.2. Become A Life-Long Learner Don’t just be satisfied with the “same-old, same-old” approach to things. Actively search out new approaches and different perspectives. Take advantage of the resources you have at hand.Engage community leaders at your board meetings—encourage them to join yourconversations so you can learn what’s going on in your field of membership.Invite students to your board meetings and ask them what’s trending in their population. Be willing to listen and include their ideas in your decision-making.Attend conferences and chapter meetings to network with other credit union board members and learn what’s going on in their shop.Visit websites dedicated to board education.3. Find And Follow Good Examples         Incorporate the best practices that you learn from community leaders, students, other CU board members, and conferences into your board’s culture.4. Adopt A Consent Agenda The purpose of a consent agenda is to free discussion from administrative details and repetitious discussions with intent toward better governance byallowing more time for strategic discussion.Adapting to a changing membership requires a governance structure that encourages forward-thinking. By simply shifting your focus from the past to the future, you will alter your inputs and likely move away from the cycle of insanity so aptly described by one of the brightest minds in the history of mankind. 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Tracie Kenyon Tracie Kenyon is President/CEO of the Montana’s Credit Unions, the trade association for Montana’s credit unions and credit union organizations. She is currently the chair of the … Web: https://www.mcun.coop Detailslast_img read more