” You have to hand it to Paddy Healy who appears to be leading the fight for academic freedom, now under threat from the Croke Park Agreement and the Hunt Report.
Healy, the former TUI president and future Seanad candidate, secured over 150 signatories to a protest letter in this newspaper. The signatories included TCD academic Hugh Gibbons, president of the “rival” Irish Federation of University Teachers.
Healy also organised Saturday’s well-attended protest meeting in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin”.Sean Flynn, Irish Times Jan 11
Supporters Who Recommend NO 1 Vote for Paddy Healy in Seanad Election
I am very grateful to the 150 public servants who are recommending a vote for me to colleagues. I regret that the full list could not be printed on my election literature.
All have added their names in a personal capacity
Domhnall Sheridan, Chair Dublin Colleges (DIT) Branch, TUI
Cathleen Bowen, Retired Hospital Manager, Secretary, Campaign for Reversal of PS Pension Cuts, Cork
Ben Bishop Chair Dublin City Post Primary Branch, TUI
Dr Colmán Etchingham, Chair NUI Maynooth Branch ,Executive Member, Irish Federation of University Teachers
Prof Vincent Toal, School of Physics, DIT
Prof Kathleen Lynch, Equality Studies, UCD
John O’Sullivan, Lecturer in Engineering, CIT, Cork
Dr Gordon Dalton, Chair Association of Research Contract Staff, UCC, President of Irish Research Staff Association.
Sean Connolly,Teacher,Rathmines College of Further Education. Dublin
Professor James Heffron MRIA, Department of Biochemistry, UCC
Prof Tadhg Foley, Emeritus, NUI Galway
Pirooz Daneshmandi, Global Solidarity
Dr. Tony Bonfield, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.
Prof Sean Tobin, Emeritus, NUI Galway
Dr Keith Breen, School of Politics, QUB
Prof Daphne Gilbert, Emeritus, Mathematics, DIT
Peter Homan,Outreach Worker , South Dublin, HSE
Prof Mary Gallagher, French Studies, UCD
Professor Dermot Barnes-Holmes, Psychology, NUI Maynooth
Andy Storey, Lecturer, School of Politics,UCD, Chair Action From Ireland (AFRI)
Donnacha O’hEallaithe, Indreabhán, Conamara
Dr Kevin Farrell, Executive Member, TUI
Gerald Brennan, Chairman Cork City Schools, TUI
Dr. Kevin T. Kelly, Head of Department of Electrical Services, DIT
Barry Williams, Chair, Co Louth Branch, TUI
Manus Brennan, Executive Member, TUI , Donegal Town
Deputy Seamus Healy, TD, South Tipperary
James McMorrow, Co Leitrim Branch Secretary, TUI
Josephine O Donnell, CEO VEC, Co Longford (Retired)
Prof Michael Cronin, DCU
Fergus Hastings, Staff Officer, GISC, Castlebar.
Professor Gary Henehan, Food Science, DIT
John Evoy, Gorey Adult Learning Centre Manager, Co. Wexford VEC
Dr Eabhnat Ní Fhloinn,Director, Maths Centre, DCU
Andy Storey, Lecturer, School of Politics,UCD, Chair AFRI
Kieran Walshe, BoyneBranch, TUI
Oliver McCormack, Teacher (RETD), Tullamore, Co Offally
Dr David O Brien, Lecturer, DIT
Dr Eilish O’Donohoe, Lecturer in Chemistry, DIT
Tom Fennell, lecturer in Marketing (retd.), DIT
Dr Catherine Lowry-O’Neill,Lecturer in Education ,WIT
Pat Ahern, Lecturer in Maths, CIT, Cork
Dr David Meehan, Lecturer,Faculty of Engineering,DIT Bolton Street .
Dr Bridget McAdam-O’Connell, School of Sociology,,UCC
Therese Downes, Counsellor, HSE
Tina MacVeigh, Community Worker, Dublin 8
Denise Dunphy, Lecturer in Media, DIT
Gallagher, Martin , Revenue Comissioners, CPSU
Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte, Lecturer in Biosciences, IT Carlow
Fran Mansfield, Retired, Public Servant
Susan Flannery, Lecturer in Accounting, CIT, Cork
Theo Smith, Porter, St James Hospital
Anne Ryan, Retired Teacher, Mrino College , CDVEC
Mary Brennan,Insurance Manager,HSE
Dr Peadar O’Grady, Consultant Child Psychiatrist.
Joseph O’Donnell, TUI, Stranorlar, Co Donegal
Dr Louis Armstrong, Head of School of Biological Sciences, DIT
Dr Juliet Bressan,Addiction Services,Best Selling Author ,HSE
Bernadette Mooney,IT Professional,HSE
Rita O’Neill,National Education Welfare Board
Domhnall Sheridan, Chair, Dublin Colleges Branch TUI
Siobhán Healy, Dietician, Tallaght Hospital
Anne O Donnell, Maths Teacher (Retired)
Anne-Michelle Healy , Librarian, Dun Laoire/ Rathdown Co council
Ella Darcy, Open Farm, Pallas Hill Drombane Co Tipp
Billy Darcy, Teagasc Adviser, (Retired), Pallas Hill , Drumbane , Co Tipp
Aisling Healy, Muinteoir Gaeilge, Clochar na Trocaire, Carraig nu Súire
Johnny McCarthy, Lecturer in Music, CIT Cork School of Music
Camillus Healy, EMTA (retired), HSE, Clonmel
Kevin Hurley, UCD (retired)
Dr BrianMurray, Lecturer of Chemistry, IT Tallaght
Dr Barbara BradbyDepartment of Sociology, Trinity College
Theresa Urbainczyk, Associate Professor, Classics, University College Dublin
Marie Humphrys, Vice Chair, Dublin City post primary Branch TUI
Thomond Coogan, Administrator, Adult Education, UCD, Dublin
Dr Sarah Alyn Stacey, Senior Lecturer, FTCD,French Department,Trinity College
Jim Darcy, Croke Park, Cumann Lúth-Chleas Gael
Liz Farrell Chair, Co Carlow Branch, TUI
Dr Paul O’Brien,Lecturer,Faculty of Visual Culture,NCAD
Oliver McCormack, Teacher of Mathematics(RETD), Tullamore, Co Offally
Owen McCormack CIE worker, Trade union activist.
Eimear Finnegan,Social Worker, HSE, Swords
Siofra Pierse, Lecturer in French, UCD
ProfessorDiane Negra, Film Studies, UCD
Barry Mc Intyre , Sec IADT Branch ,TUI
Anne-Marie Luby, Principal,TUI, Killybeggs, Co Donegal
Pat Fleming, Co. Carlow TUI.
Caroline Brady,Administrator,Vice-President for Students, Tierney Building, UCD
Patsi Lynch, Retired, HSE, Kilkenny
Pat Corcoran, Anti Cuts and Anti War Activist.
Prof Liam Breatnach , School of Celtic Studies, DI
Camillus Healy, EMTA (retired), HSE, Clonmel
Nuala Buckley, Retired Sec Teacher, Inniscarra, Cork
Anne Ryan, Retired Teacher, Marino College , CDVEC
Ben Bishop Chair Dublin City Post Primary branch, TUI
Mary Bushe, Technical Officer – Assessment Unit, UCD, Dublin
Dr Leonie Duignan, School of Celtic Studies, NUI Maynooth, Co Kildare.
Dr Judith Devlin , Lecturer in History, UCD
Dr Bridget McAdam-O’Connell, School of Sociology,,UCC
Dr Jürgen Uhlich, Department of Irish and Celtic languages,Trinity College
DR Veronica O’Dwyer, Lecturer, DIT, Dublin
Antaine Ó Faracháin, Leachtoir i nGaeilge, DIT
Dr Wolfgang Marx , lecturer in Music,
Prof. Pat Goodman Lecturer/researcher DIT
Piaras Mac Éinrí, Department of Geography, UCC.
Dr Bernadette Flanagan,Head of Research, All Hallows (DCU),
Dr. Kevin Farrell, Member of the National Executive, TUI
Dore Fischer, Lecturer, Dublin Institute of Technology.
Mike FitzGibbon, Lecturer, UCC
Patty Gray, Lecturer in anthropology, NUIM
Enda Murphy , Lecturer in Geography, UCD
Professor Jim McKernan, College Of Education, University of East Carolina.
Martin Marjoram, Lecturer, Branch Chair of IT Tallaght TUI
Domhnall Sheridan, Branch Chair, Dublin Colleges(DIT) Branch TUI
Dr Michael Carr, Vice Chair, Dublin Colleges (DIT) Branch TUI
Emer McGann, Assistant Lecturer, ITCarlow.
Seán L’Estrange, Lecturer in Sociology, University College Dublin
Profesor Joe Cleary, ,School of English, NUIM
Dr Paula Gilligan, IADT, Dun Laoire
Jacqui O’Riordan, Lecturer, University College Cork
Prof Michael Cronin, DCU
Helen Lambkin , Lecturer in Biology,DIT
Dr Alan Grossman, Lecturer, Dublin Insitute of Technology.
An t-Ollamh Matthew Hussey, emeritus, DIT, Baile Átha Cliath.
Dr Ciaran Taylor, Lecturer of Mathematics, IT Tallaght
Dara McHugh, Lecturer, IT Carlow
Dr Mary Roche,Department of Geography , UCC
Patrick Mansfield , Lecturer in Computing(Retired), IT Tallaght
Phyllis Prendergast,Assistant Staff Officer,DIT
Denise McDonnell, Senior Executive Assistant, UCD.
Dr Dominic Dillane, Lecturer in Statistics, DIT
Orla Cosgrave,(Ex Hr Manager) , University College Dublin
Margaret O’Sullivan Farrell, Lecturer in Music, DIT, Dublin City
Dr James Walsh,School of Physics,DIT
Fran Mansfield, Dublin Tourism (Retired)
Dr Ronnie Moore ,Lecturer ,UCD
Dr Joseph Power,Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, WIT
Gerald Morgan [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Dr F.M. Lyng,Radiation and Environmental Science Centre,Focas Institute, DIT
Aiden Bell,Lecturer Maths and Information Technology, IT Sligo
Dr. Sharae Deckard, Lecturer, School of English. UCD
Prof. John Cassidy, FRSC, Assistant Head of School,
School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences,
O’Mahony, Patrick [P.OMahony@ucc.ie]
Hugh O’Reilly,Clerical Officer,Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food,Clonakilty,
Thomas Power, FHEA, MBS (Finance), B.A.(Hons), Grad.Dip.Env.MGT.Lecturer, DIT
Sinead Dore,teacher,Co Leitrim TUI
Paul Kinsella, Clerical Officer, GPO, Dublin.
Leon Conway, Lecturer,Centre for Film Studies,UCD
Mary Flood , Executive Assistant, School of Agriculture, UCD i
DR Cora Stack.Lecturer, It Tallaght
Dr Iain Atack,Lecturer,International Peace Studies, TCD
Eileen Doran,Lecturer, School of Business, DIT.
Dr. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill,School of Applied Social Studies,U.C.C.
David Cotter, Clerical Officer, South Dublin County Council.
Detta Dickinson Department of Mathematics,NUIM
Brian Mcnally [email@example.com]
Patrick Kelly Lecturer IT Carlow.
Dr Jesus Maria Frias Celayeta, Acting Head of Department of Food Science, DIT
Martin O’Grady, Lecturer in Psychology, Institute of Technology, Tralee.
Jan Pettersen, Lecturer, DIT, Glenageary, Co. Dublin
Simon Quinn,Lecturer in Accounting & Finance, IT Tralee
Gerry Connell,Lecturer in Culinary Arts,DIT
N Lynch, Co Cavan VEC ,Past Chair of TUI Cavan
Anne Ó Ruairc, ,Lecturer, Department of Health and Science,IT Carlow,
Con Doran, Lecturer, IT Carlow
Fiona Broderick, – Lecturer of Languages , IT Tallaght
Michael O Brien. Teacher, Vocational Sector. Wexford
Dr Peter Herrmann ,Lecturer in Social Policy,UCC
Pat Ahern, Lecturer in Mathematics, CIT, Cork
Dr Diog O’Connell, Lecturer, IADT,Dún laoire
Dr Alice Feldman, sociology, UCD
Debra Laefer, Lecturer, Civil Engineering, UCD, Dublin
Bernie Sherlock, Lecturer in Music, DIT
Marie Guilfoyle, Lecturer in Languages(Retired), DIT
Fergal Greene,Teacher,Clondalkin,Dublin 22
Liam Murphy, Lecturer, DIT, Dublin 8
Arthur Henry, Lecturer, DIT Bolton Street, Dublin
Niall Coakley, Lecturer in Electronic Engineering, DIT
Joe Kellegher, Lecturer in Electronic Engineering, DIT.
Ailish O’ Brien Lecturer IT Carlow
Áine O Neill, Lecturer, IT Carlow
Seanad Election can be Used to Fight Cuts in Education and Public Services
The recent budget implemented severe cuts in public services and in the incomes of those on low and middle incomes. Under the humiliating EU/IMF Deal 5 billion euro in the current year and 10 billion by 2013 is being paid in debt servicing to European banks and other investors.
Cuts in education, health and other public services are now in place. Much more are promised in the next 3 budgets.
The Croke Park Deal implements such cuts. Over 2,500 nursing posts have been eliminated. Thousands of posts of responsibility delivering pastoral care are being eliminated in our schools. Lecturing posts are being eliminated reducing the service to third level students. Social workers are so overburdened that vulnerable people are unable to get the supports they need. Thousands of professional research staff are being employed under temporary contracts and dismissed when funding streams end as part of unjustifiable cuts in research funding.Many Post graduates and new graduates are unable to find jobs.
Social Welfare benefits have been cut and taxation on the lower paid and on middle incomes has been steeply increased. Not a penny of taxation has been placed on the assets of the super-rich. There are 450,000 unemployed of which 100,000 are graduates and many have already emigrated.
Public service pensions have now been cut on top of pay cuts and the imposition of the pension levy.
There is an alternative to this.
National Community Platform representing 29 caring bodies has launched a programme of proposals focussed on taxing the assets and incomes of the very rich instead of cutting public services. The programme-4Steps 2 Recovery is available on website http://communityplatform.ie/publications.html
Further valuable material is available from TASC —an independent think-tank dedicated to combating Ireland’s high level of economic inequality and ensuring that public policy has equality at its core. Website http://www.tascnet.ie/showPage.php?ID=1
Government irresponsibly allowed Irish Banks to borrow 90 billion Euro abroad after 2003. Now the very rich must make a major contribution to providing a remedy through increased tax payments on assets and very high incomes
I contested the Seanad election(NUI Panel) on the last occasion with the support of Teachers Union of Ireland(TUI) and Irish Federation of University Teachers and received almost 1500 votes.
Of course, cuts in public services cannot be prevented by the Seanad. But those elected can play an important role as public advocates on behalf of the interest groups they represent.
Senator Joe O’Toole has used his position to promote the Croke Park Deal under which thousands of temporary staff have been dismissed and over 10,000 permanent public service posts have been eliminated causing serious damage to public services.
A strong advocate for public services, for public servants,for employees generally and for the poor is urgently needed.
I will be contesting the Seanad Election on the NUI panel.
It is my intention if elected to use the position to enhance my work in organising public servants, employees generally and the poor to defend themselves against cuts and other oppressive policies. In pursuit of these objectives, I will be advocating increased taxation of the assets and incomes of the super-rich. Further information is available on my Blog above:
Above all a Registration Drive is needed immediately. A Registration Form can be downloaded at
http://www.nui.ie/elections/seanad-register.asp#reg1 Tá leagan gaeilge ar fáil ar an suíomh idirlín freisin.
If you wish to help with this work, please reply to this message or telephone me at 086-4183732
Government Must Tax the Super-Rich!
Letter to Irish Times Published To-day WED OCT 6
• Madam, – Among the taxation proposals being mooted by government for the next and subsequent budgets is an extension of tax to the lower paid. This is to be accompanied by continued draconian reductions in the provision of health, education and other services required by the population generally and particularly by the poor. Government cuts and impositions on the poor and those on middle incomes who spend most of their income in Ireland will flatten the economy and increase the disastrous levels of unemployment and emigration.
Much of the €90 billion irresponsibly borrowed abroad by Irish banks since 2003 is still in the possession of the super-rich.
The borrowings which have bankrupt many developers have been paid to others.
The repayments on these borrowings are now being made by the citizens generally. Surely this money must be restored to the State as a priority?
The only way to recover this money is through an assets tax which is common in several countries (France, Norway, Switzerland) and in several states in the US.
If the €320 billion in assets (Wealth of the Nation Report, 2007) held by the top 5 per cent in 2007 has now shrunk to €250 billion(estimate of UNITE Trade Union), a 2 per cent annual assets tax on the top 5 per cent of asset holders would bring in €5 billion per year.
Raising the tax on the top 6 per cent who earn over €100,000 per annum from 27 per cent to 32 per cent of total salary, would raise a further €1.5 billion per year.
A significant increase in income taxes and assets taxes on the rich is no longer merely desirable in equity, it is a necessity in order to rescue the economy and to protect human services provision.
There is a real economic emergency. Surely the super-rich should make an emergency contribution? How about a little patriotism from them? – Yours, etc,
Fairview, Dublin 3.
Related Material such as recent articles on Education and Public Services by Tom Garvin Jim McKiernan Garret Fitzgerald Michael Cronin can also be viewed
My TWITTER address is paddyhealytui
Paddy Healy 086-4183732
Chair, National Public Services Alliance, Former President TUI
The Academic Gathering to Defend Academic Freedom met at Gresham Hotel Dublin on Saturday January 22. There were 200 academics present from almost all third level institutions within the state.
Paddy Healy delivered an opening address which is carried below.
After a member of the public berated all those present due to the failure of his son to be interviewed for an academic post in Ireland , Professor Colm Kearney (TCD) addressed the gathering. He said that the freedom of speech accorded to the previous speaker was an example of the freedom academics sought to retain
Prof Tom Garvin was highly critical of the “half-educated senior academic administrators” who had taken over our universities and on whom resources necessary for teaching and scholarly activity were being wasted.
Steven Hedley, Professor of Law, UCC warned that the Universities Act (1997) which provides for academic freedom and tenure could be amended to weaken its provisions.
Dr Paddy O’Flynn, UCD, pointed out that it was essential that all academics join trade unions to effectively respond to current threats.
Apologies for inability to attend and expressions of support for the gathering were sent by Prof Jim McKernan, East Carolina University, Prof James Heffron (emeritus) UCC and Dr Tom Dooley, Dundalk IT
Many speakers explained why academic freedom and permanency to retirement age were necessary to maintain freedom of speech and information to the public, educational standards and fruitful scholarship including research. Speakers included Professor Peadar Kirby, UL; Professor Michael Cronin, DCU; Professor Mary Gallagher, UCD; Martin O’Grady, IT Tralee, Dr Kieran Allen, UCD, Dr Colman Etchingham, NUIM, Dr Kevin Farrell, IT Blanchardstown, Marnie Holborow, DCU, Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte, IT Carlow, Dr Paul O’Brien, NCAD; Prof Helena Sheehan (emeritus), DCU and many others
Senator David Norris addressed those assembled and expressed solidarity with the Gathering
Former Taoiseach, Dr Garrett Fitzgerald addressed the Gathering and pointed out the need for an association which addressed academic matters only.
It was agreed that a petition would be launched in each institution calling on the governing authority to make a declaration in favour of academic freedom and to remove all threats to tenure and permanency to retirement age.
Such a declaration has already been secured by IFUT President, Hugh Gibbons and his colleagues in the IFUT Branch at TCD
A motion to the same effect would be tabled at all Academic Councils.
An ad-hoc steering committee was formed to co-ordinate the campaign
It was suggested that a pledge in favour of academic freedom and permanency should be administered to all political parties in the forthcoming election. This will be considered by the steering committee
It was agreed that the Gathering would be reconvened in the coming weeks to consider whether further organised work was necessary.
Paddy Healy 086-4183732 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Address Paddy Healy
Academic freedom is a necessity in a healthy democracy. Citizens have a need for a diversity of expert opinions to enable them to take informed decisions and to direct their political representatives. The warnings of a possible banking collapse came from outside the banking industry and indeed from outside the regulatory and political system. The warnings of Professor Morgan Kelly and others went unheeded.
Analysis and criticism of social, economic, scientific and artistic policies by academics is the right of citizens. If academic freedom is restricted this flow of information and analysis is likely to be reduced or stopped.
Citizens have a right to objective information on the content of food products, the safety of structures and other engineering systems, on pollution of the environment, on aesthetic matters and on health issues. Academics must retain the unrestricted right to give this information.
Academic freedom and tenure is not just a ruse invented by academics to protect their employment as some letter writers have suggested.
The purpose of “tenure” as protecting a university professor or lecturer against dismissal, as set out in the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel of 11 November 1997, is to provide protection for the independence of university academics in their teaching and research by ensuring that they cannot be dismissed for the expression of unpopular or novel ideas. Savage (“Academic Tenure and its Functional Equivalent in post-secondary Education” ILO Working Paper June 2004) suggests that “tenure” might also ensure that those among the academic staff teaching “highly technical but not popular subjects” are also protected “so that such learning is not easily removed from the university milieu because of ephemeral undergraduate student demand”. As Savage goes on to point out: “dismissal procedures are the key”. Tenure exists in reality if academic staff can only be dismissed for “just cause”, such as professional incompetence, financial corruption, sexual or racial harassment or the abandonment of position, proved before a “fair and independent body”. One of the more “vexing” questions in his opinion is the effect of “financial exigency and programme planning” and whether these factors can override the guarantees of “tenure”.
TCD Declaration on academic Freedom
At a large meeting of academics held in UCD on Thursday last, the representative of the Irish Federation of University Teachers informed us that as a matter of policy IFUT would be making no concessions on the issues of academic freedom and tenure. The President of SIPTU Education Branch gave similar assurances.
My colleagues and I are encouraged by the declaration of the Board of Trinity College in favour of academic freedom and tenure. We must of course be careful of the meaning of those terms. We are also encouraged by the declared opposition to research by command from above. It would be most appropriate if the governing authorities of other third level institutions made similar declarations.
I would like to congratulate Dr Hugh Gibbons, IFUT President, and his colleagues in IFUT at TCD for their hard work and persistence in securing this declaration.
Academic staff in institutes of technology were believed to have effective tenure through the permanency of public servants until the emergence of the Croke Park Deal. Academic freedom is written into existing contracts. I call on the governing bodies of these institutions to unconditionally withdraw all threats of redundancy to academic staff
It is important that third level institutions continue to produce graduates who combine a high level of professional expertise with a capacity for critical thought. That is necessary for a healthy democratic society and a successful economy.
The funding model of third level institutions penalises failure of students to progress by passing examinations. This has led to very unhealthy pressures in the direction of lowering criteria for progression. There have been incidences of administrative passing of students. Academics must retain the unfettered right subject to reasonable criteria to say that a student has not reached the required standard. Academic freedom based on permanence of employment is necessary in order that academics can resist unhealthy pressures. If “dumbing down” becomes rampant, serious damage will be done to our society. The qualifications of existing graduates would be devalued. Authorities in many areas such as health, social services and education would be denied a reliable criterion in employing professional staff. Companies seeking to employ graduates would have similar problems. The reputation of Irish qualifications abroad would be destroyed.
Let us repeat here the concern expressed by Savage(above) lest highly specialised but not popular subjects be removed from third level institutions. I would add a concern that creative arts and sociological enquiry would be increasingly de-prioritised through funding mechanisms. I also echo the concern of Tom Garvin that open-ended or “blue sky research” would be deprived of funds in favour of focussed problem solving for commercial purposes. I am reliably informed that the next round of cuts under the HEA Employment Control Framework will necessitate redundancies in addition to non-replacement of staff in some institutions. Areas of knowledge, inquiry and cultural endeavour must not be selectively deprived of resources. Nor should resources be squandered on a large management layer arising from the inappropriate replacement of collegiality with a command model of management to the detriment of teaching and other academic activity.
There are also serious concerns in the areas of science, engineering, computing, medicine and other health sciences. There must be no drift towards allocation of academics to research projects outside their own research interest. Genuine research simply cannot be done on such a basis. Institute of Technology staff must not be prevented from engaging in scholarly activity by timetabling for 19 to 21 teaching hours per week.
We have no objection to having industrial research partners. But the co-operation must be on terms which do not affect the independence of academic staff. There must be no question of suppressing unwelcome research outcomes or impeding the development of knowledge as has happened in a number of cases abroad.
Academic freedom based on tenure and permanency is an indispensable prerequisite for a healthy democratic society, for the maintenance of academic standards and for the continued flourishing of genuine scholarship in Irish academic institutions.
Scholars argue proposals in Croke Park pose a serious threat to academic freedom (via Ninth Level Ireland)
Eoin O’Dell’s piece on academic freedom, tenure and the crokeparkdeal
The Idea of a University: an Essay in Support of Professor Tom Garvin’s Thesis of Grey Philistines Taking Over Our Universities, Jim Mc Kernan, East Carolina (via Paddy Healy’s Blog)
This is a new message (Jan 2011) from Professor McKernan in Response to recent plans by Irish University authorities to restrict academic freedom and undermine the right to tenure under Croke Park Deal
The original essay is linked below
Academic Freedom and Tenure: Necessary Rights for Irish Academics
Professor of Education,
East Carolina University, North Carolina, USA
Academic freedom is the right of the faculty member to select one’s materials, methods , pedagogy and points of view in teaching one’s discipline. That is to be empowered with a “voice”. Academic freedom is an absolute necessity for a democratic society. It pertains to both teaching (freedom of speech) and research (search for truth). These aspects of the academic life are indispensable for the success of the university. Faculty need to be free of the constraints of censorship and interference in the conduct of their duties by the institution or other agents and agencies in the community.
The very essence of the university, for faculty and for students, is freedom to seek the truth. In fact, one might claim that the university is the only institution in our society that has the privilege of devoting itself to truth, beauty, and rationality. This undertaking is not to be taken lightly. The word university literally means ‘the community of scholars” and institutions of higher education have been created precisely for these reasons.
Let us begin by considering the issue of academic freedom. The very essence of the institution of higher education, whether it is a university or polytechnical unit, for faculty and for students, is freedom to seek the truth. In fact, one might claim that the academy is the only institution in our society that has the privilege of devoting itself to truth, beauty, and rationality. This is quite a privilege and quite a challenge; and it is not to be taken lightly. The university community has been created precisely for these reasons.
Faculty members, after a probationary period have a property right to their position and cannot be removed barring “just cause”. Tenure does not guarantee a post for life. When I was first appointed at UCD in 1981 there was one condition in my contract letter for removal-being guilty of “gross moral turpitude”. Irish academics had real tenure in those days. I do not know if new conditions for removal of tenured faculty have been introduced. In North Carolina there are I believe five reasons for justly removing a faculty member with tenure: moral turpitude; negligence; inadequate performance, financial exigency; and mental or physical incapacity. I cannot see how the NUIG Plan can work as it would be a definite “breach of contract” if one side unilaterally creates new conditions without the agreement of the faculty member. Tenure really means that one “owns their position and the right to return to that position year after year after the probationary period. I strongly suggest that the legal position of tenure in Irish law be investigated as prolegomenon to challenging the NUIG Plan.
When an individual cannot enjoy academic freedom because of real threats to continued employment, advancement or career, the educational function of the institution ceases to be realized. While this is simple to say, its import and power cannot be ignored or diminished. Academic freedom is an enormous issue and it must be protected at all cost. But is tenure important to the protection of academic freedom? The answer, clearly, is Yes. Tenure secures a working community of scholars based on accepted academic values and aims, and it guarantees that a person cannot be dismissed from that community without due process and without consideration based on well established objective academic criteria. As it turns out, the truth is not always popular, especially within circles of power and wealth. Remove the system of tenure and we shall witness a “Flight of the Dons”. That would be an unanticipated outcome of the same nonsensical market model the current grey philistines are promoting. I ask that faculty resist these plans that would undermine the current academic freedom and tenure system in Ireland.
Dr. Jim McKernan
College of Education,
East Carolina University,
Greenville USA 27858
Note: the author was previously the King Distinguished Professor at East Carolina University; Dean and Chair of the Faculty of Education, University of Limerick and College Lecturer in Education, University College Dublin. Email: email@example.com
Just a little reminder of an article posted here last year
Post by “gramsci fan” on Indymedia today
“There are two particularly odd aspects of this. One is that these demands are being made “under Croke Park”, despite the fact that the unions representing most academic staff – IFUT and TUI – voted against Croke Park. In other words, management are unilaterally demanding the right to rewrite contracts which they have notionally entered into as binding agreements with their employees. It is not clear what threats they have available to force staff to sign away tenure, academic freedom, holidays or the right to flexible work.
The other is that this process is being rushed through while most staff are in the throes of exams and in a “lame-duck” government which has nothing to lose by supporting this process of “putting the boot in”. It is to be hoped that effective resistance can stall this until at least after the election – and garner political support for reversing these demands.” (more)
From Paddy Healy, Former President TUI, Lecturer in Physics, Former member of Governing Body and Academic Council of DIT
Threat to Academic Freedom. Support call for gathering of academics to oppose this change:
Proposed university changes labelled “outrageous”
IRISH TIMES Fri, Jan 07, 2011
THE IRISH Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) has labelled as “outrageous” proposals for work practice changes relating to the Croke Park agreement which would affect academics.
The preliminary NUI Galway document proposes a longer working year, student evaluation of staff and changes to academic freedom.
“The proposals as tabled are absolutely outrageous,” Mike Jennings, general secretary of the federation said last night. “They would destroy the whole concept of a university . . . they are so bad that I really wonder if the university authorities at the highest level are even aware of the document because if by some miracle IFUT were to agree to them, it would no longer be a university as understood in any country in the world.”
Meanwhile a former president of the Teachers Union of Ireland has called for a meeting of Irish academics to resist the proposals.
“It is vital in a democracy that academics have the freedom to say what they want,” argued Paddy Healy, a lecturer in physics at DIT. “But they intend to remove tenure . . . Erosion of tenure is very fundamentally anti-democratic,” he said.
An official document presented by NUIGalway to the Trade Unions containing it’s proposals to implement the Croke Park Deal has now become available. I understand that the implementation proposals in other universities are essentially the same. I am consulting with colleagues in Universities and Institutes of Tech nology with a view to convening a gathering of all Irish academics to resist this attack on academic freedom, the related entitlement to permanency and tenure and, indeed on Irish Democracy itself. Here is the NUIG document:
Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement – NUI Galway Implementation Plan
This plan is derived from the Public Service Agreement 2010 (P.S.A.) and the sectoral plan for universities. It reflects the individual needs and responsibilities of the university as an autonomous institution. It should be read in the context of the sectoral plan.
1. With effect from the start of 2010/11 academic year, the provision of an additional hour per week to be available to facilitate, at the discretion of management, teaching and learning in the university/institute. This will be allocated to individuals by the head of school via the workload model
2. Co-operation with the introduction of academic workload management and full economic costing models and with the compilation of associated data to support these and operational plans for all staff .
3. Co-operation with redeployment/re-organisation/rationalisation arising from the review of Higher Education strategy and changing economic and social circumstances and to facilitate the reorganisation of both work and staff to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of the university. Additionally, co-operation with measures to promote value for money including inter alia, outsourcing as provided for in the agreement.
4. A comprehensive review and revision of employment contracts to identify and remove any impediments to the development of an optimum teaching, learning, and research environment. This review and revision to be completed in advance of the start of the 2011/12 academic year.
a) In the case of service staff (administrative, technical, professional, library, computing, general operative and craftworkers) the review and implementation will include –An increase in the working week with a view to extending the working day.
- a commitment to implement the time and attendance system
- reform of the current flexible working hours scheme to include eligibility, leave and appointments, etc
- consolidation of the overtime ban
- review of redeployment procedures
- annualisation of leave and review of “closed days “
- commitment to flexibility within and between departments/units
- unified technical and administrative structures at school and college level
- introduction of a performance management system (see below)
- working with and alongside private contractors
b) In relation to academic contracts this review will include
Attendance – there shall be a requirement to be in attendance at the university during the normal working week and for the duration of the college year which is 12 consecutive calendar months.
Tenure – tenure is to be consistent with the established corpus of employment law. In this context tenure refers to the duration of the contract.
Duties – duties encompass the three key areas of academic work – Teaching, Research and Contribution to the institution, the academic’s discipline and the wider community served by the university.
Flexibility and cooperation – staff will agree to flexibility and efficiency in the discharge of responsibilities; to provision for change of duties (subject to reasonable capacity to exercise the new duties); and a requirement to co-operate with management of the university in pursuit of the university’s plans, goals and objectives. Such co-operation will encompass a requirement to supply relevant data to management.
Professional development – opportunities will be available to staff and the contract will require staff to undertake such development including participation in the university’s Performance Management and Development programme which may be developed and amended in response to business needs.
Academic Freedom – it will be acknowledged that the freedoms contained within Section 14 of the Universities Act, 1997 are to be exercised within the context of the framework of obligations set out in the contract and they will be recorded along with other leaves.
Annual Leave – the time at which leave is taken is at the discretion of the university and all leave must be applied for and approved in advance.
Discipline / Dismissal – clarification that the University shall have the power to impose disciplinary sanctions up to and including the termination of appointment in accordance with such procedures as established from time to time and subject to any applicable employment legislation.
Development of redundancy procedures as required by the Universities Act.
Review of ill-health leave an its recording – i.e. Time and Attendance.
Review of Procedures relation to examinations and markings for all staff.
5. The Development and Implementation of a Performance Appraisal System.
This Performance Appraisal System will be at the heart of a high performing culture and staff who do not have a satisfactory rating in the P.A.S. will not be able to access:
Private Consultancy Work
The Triennial Grant
Training and development other than as prescribed to address the performance deficit including further and higher education.
In the case of academic staff, targets will be delivered from the academic activity profiles and the workload models currently being developed and will include student evaluations of teachers.
In the case of other staff, targets will be derived from Competency Frameworks and K.P.I.s which will be developed for individuals and units
Will Third Level Education be irretrievably damaged like the banks before anybody blows the whistle?
Following conversations with colleagues in various universities, I now have a reasonable idea of the demands on unions being made by the University authorities under the Croke Park Deal. These demands confirm the predictions in my e-mail message but go even further. I include these demands towards the end of this piece. Though the discussions are taking place on a university by university basis the management strategy is being orchestrated by the Irish Universities Association.
I carry at the end of this piece the E-mail message referred to in University Blog by Ferdinand Von Prondzynski in which I reveal the demands to be put to TUI in talks on Croke Park Deal in respect of academic staff in Institutes of Technology. Some explanatory material has been added for a wider audience.
Professor Von Prondzynski remarks that holidays in Institutes of Technology “may be indefensible”. This, I hope, is due to a misunderstanding on his part. I shall return to this issue further on in this piece.
The discussion on conditions of service in third level institutions must be seen in a wider context. Government is determined to make savings (cuts) in all areas of public expenditure. This has particular effects in each sector. For example it is affecting the vital provision of health services to human beings. In education it threatens at once the fulfilment of a fundamental human need and the infliction of damage on the most productive sector of the economy- the provision of skilled professional labour. Teachers at all levels of education together with parents and those who pay tax collaborate in this hugely productive sector. The contention that education is a service “carried” by the private sector is manifest nonsense and self-serving propaganda of the rich. Indeed high tech manufacturing companies, both indigenous and multi-national, who benefit greatly from a highly educated workforce contribute little to education in Ireland due to the low corporate tax rate. The generation of a highly educated population with the capacity for critical thought is both a key human need and a necessity for a successful modern economy no matter what social system may be in place.
The danger is that the government and societal establishment will damage this system in pursuit of the wrong type of change. Education in Ireland is under-resourced by international standards and there is need for genuine reform to improve the system. But this is not the type of change that government has in mind. There is the problem of further reduction of resources on the one hand and the putting in place of systems which damage the education process itself in pursuit of false efficiencies. A government which was so wrong about the needs of a well functioning banking system is unlikely to be right about the needs of the education system. One of these systems is the current arrangement that funding is contingent on number of students enrolled and on the number progressing to the next year of the course through passing exams. It is now intended to extend this principle further. Funding per student will be contingent on course completion by the student.!! A company salesperson may consider that payment by results is entirely natural. But should education be run on the basis of such a system.? Should competition for students between third level institutions be the norm? In fairness, some far sighted business people with a background in education do not agree with such an approach.
Such arrangements are already “dumbing down” qualifications despite the best efforts of most lecturers. There have been instances where students have been administratively progressed despite the opposition of lecturers and external examiners as Professor Prondzynski has noted. But the usual process is much more subtle and incremental. It is ,of course, a huge step forward that an increasing fraction of young people are going on to third level. Inevitably, many of these will have modest attainments at second level. Suitable structures should be put in place in Universities and IoTs to enable such students to genuinely learn. But there is competition to enrol students due to the funding system. This has led to the recruitment of students with very modest levels of attainment at second level to ab initio honours degree level courses (Level 8). These students should be enrolled in lower level courses on completion of which they may progress to the higher level course. There was great merit in the original course structure in Institutes of Technology where students could progress from certificate to diploma and on to a genuine honours degree level. But this would take additional years tuition which nowadays would be considered “inefficient” despite a hugely successful track record. In addition, an institution which graduates students in less time would have a competitive edge in the chase for students and the money attached. A lecturer faced with such a cohort has no choice but to cover material slowly and in less depth and with repetition if the students are not to be completely “lost”. The “dumbing down” is automatic. There is considerable pressure to “teach to the exam” to avoid huge failure rates. There is no standard external examination as at Leaving Cert for degree level courses. External examiners at third level are now effectively chosen by the academic Department carrying out the examination. Often the recommendations of “externs” can be ignored under the rules of the institution. Is this light touch regulation academic style?
If lectures are given and examinations set by insecure part-time lecturers, the dangers are obvious. But let me pay tribute to the many part-time lecturers who have bravely risked “losing hours” to protect standards. If permanency or tenure is removed from full-time lecturers the damage will be huge. Already many companies employing graduates are not taking degrees at face value and are insisting on submission, in addition, of Leaving Certificate results!!!
The IMPETUS TO DUMB DOWN IS COMING FROM IDEOLOGICALLY DRIVEN GOVERNMENT WITH COMPLIANCE BY MANAGEMENT OF UNIVERSITIES AND IoTs. IT IS THE SAME IDEOLOGICAL APPROACH THAT GAVE US THE BANKING COLLAPSE!
Anecdotes from the Common Rooms
Sometimes anecdotes from the common room are very effective in illustrating reality as long as they are supported by real evidence generally. “He sent me a first class honours student to supervise for a masters in English but the student could not make sentences. He was great at cutting and pasting” This I heard over lunch in one third level institution. “I have them for third year honours physics but they cannot use logs” I heard in another. At a cross- third- level meeting I once expressed the view that students with less than 300 leaving certificate points were generally not capable of learning in the first year of a level 8 course under the traditional lecture/tutorial/ library system and required small group concentrated teaching particularly in the earlier years. A colleague from another institution whispered in my ear “Paddy, would you believe 150 points”. The best story of all doing the rounds concerns the approach of a student representative to a Head of Department concerning a forthcoming examination. The student complained that they “had no idea what would be on the exam” The Head replied that the class were about to sit an examination after all and it would be extraordinary if matters were otherwise. “Does she cover the course” : “yes”. “Does she ask questions on topics she hasn’t covered”: “No”. The student began to leave but turned at the door to the Head and said: “ But we know what will be on all the other exams”. Many a true word has been spoken in jest.
Poaching for salmon from the river flowing through the estate of the landlord is an honourable Irish tradition. But there is nothing honourable about the new process of poaching students from competitor institutions. Here is how it is done. First artificially depress the number of places on the course concerned in the specifications supplied to the CAO. This artificially inflates the minimum points required rendering the course attractive to good students. Then use the list of unsuccessful applicants to telephone students already enrolled in other institutions and offer them a place! It is happening!
Managerialism and Collegiality
Reduction of resources and imposition of business models on third level institutions including competition for students is already doing serious damage. The notion of the student/parent as customer is fundamentally flawed in education. A current student has a prime interest in securing the qualification however devalued. On graduation the student acquires an interest in opposing further “dumbing down”. Students should of course be allowed and encouraged to complain if they feel they are not getting the education they deserve. But student driven quality assurance systems can paradoxically damage education. Many have seen the infamous message from an American student to her lecturer which was circulated by a British colleague some time ago: “I’ll thrash your grades next year if you don’t give me at least a 2.1 honours this year”
“Managing” in a competitive world with diminishing resources involves replacing collegiality with direction from above. This process is well advanced. Academics as a collectivity have an interest in maintaining standards. But their collective power is being diminished to serve the agenda of competition and false economy. The rule of the Human Resources Unit has become dominant.
Because of the vicious competition between institutions for students and, in particular, for reasonably able students, there is considerable pressure on academics to remain silent to prevent damage to the quantity and quality of student intake in their own institution including in their own course. Great credit is due to those who have taken a stand for standards in this atmosphere. But is this atmosphere not reminiscent of the atmosphere in the upper echelons of banks which prevented warnings being given. Vicious competition, loyalty to the individual institution and fear of career damage are common elements.
The vehicle through which change is to be imposed is an industrial relations agreement- The Croke Park Agreement. Irrespective of it’s appalling content, the focus of an industrial relations agreement is far too narrow and therefore damaging. Lecturers at Third Level have a commitment to teaching and scholarship. Scholarship includes inter alia research, creative writing and maintenance of world class practical skills in a rapidly changing world. The revelation that lecturers in a university were teaching “only” six hours per week at a Dail Sub-Committee enraged some TD’s. No account was taken of the number of post graduate students they supervised, the amount of research and scholarship they carried out, the number of publications they produced or the weight of course direction and co-ordination effected not to speak of lecture preparation and task correction. We recall that TDs are not required to turn up for work at all in order to draw basic salary.
Holidays not defensible in Institutes of Technology?
Ferdinand Von Prodzynski in a recent posting opined that holidays in IoTs were “hard to defend”. Lectures in the Institutes are required to teach for 16 hours per week and assistant lecturers carrying out the same duties are required to teach for 18 hours per week. Under Croke Park deal the management side is demanding that this be increased to 20+1 hours and 22+1 hours respectively.
A survey commissioned by TUI some years ago concluded that this was equivalent to a 50-54 hour week of teaching and related duties. It is extremely difficult to conduct the degree of scholarship appropriate to a third level institution in the context of such a workload. Currently many lecturers “tip away” at scholarly activity during term time and then put on a big push during the holidays.
The attempt by Institutes and Government to reduce vacation periods in addition to imposing the biggest teaching load in Western Europe cannot fail to damage the Institutes and literally make the adequate performance of academic duties impossible.
My judgement is that it is the intention of Government to bludgeon Institute staff into submission using the threat of redundancies. If they succeed they will then proceed to confront tenure and workload in Universities. The same damage will be inflicted there as has already been inflicted on Institutes if the Government has its way.
A bank can be bailed out with money extracted from the population. But it will take at least ten years for third level institutions to recover from the damage inflicted on them by cuts, marketisation, and the imposition of business models including bogus quality assurance systems.
Isn’t it time, Ferdinand, that you joined people like myself in shouting stop. Like banking chief executives you will be unable to claim that you didn’t know what was happening.
Demands being Made by University Authorities Under Croke Park Deal
1. That tenure be brought into Line with corporate industrial relations law. (This means that tenure until pensionable age with the individual university is being abolished and university academic staff can be made compulsorily redundant and/or redeployed to other parts of public service. This will require legislation PH)
2. Renegotiation of all existing contracts for implementation from September 2011
3. Contractual restrictions will be placed on Academic Freedom ( The restrictions are not yet clear but if the worst precedents abroad are followed they could include prevention of public criticism of government or the university authorities: they could also include forcing academics to carry out particular research projects or particular research outcomes could be suppressed due to commercial research agreements with private companies eg infamous heliobacter pylori case abroad- PH)
4. Staff must engage with workload monitoring and measurement.
5. Academic staff required to be in attendance at the university each day for twelve consecutive calendar months
6. Holidays to be at the discretion of the University. Staff member must apply and receive approval in advance for holiday leave (The effect of points 5 and 6 taken together is that holiday entitlements are to be set by The Holidays(Employees) ACT which sets minimum holidays for employees to protect them from predatory employers. If this were accepted it would reduce the holiday entitlements of academic staff below those of comparable public service employees and below those of trade unionised employees in the private sector—PH)
7. The current position under which the staff member automatically gets an increment unless management objects will be changed. Staff will only receive an increment following a satisfactory Performance Appraisal outcome. Failure to engage with Performance Appraisal System (PAS) will lead to a freezing of the incremental position and denial of access to promotion, sabbatical leave etc. The PAS system will include student evaluation of lecturers. (Performance appraisal will apply to all grades of academic staff including professors-PH)
8. Extra hour per week of teaching or administration to be implemented immediately
9. Staff may be redeployed to other Departments/duties within the University
10. Staff may be redeployed to other posts outside the university but within the wider public service (as set out in Croke Park Deal) with particular regard to HEA Proposals (eg Mergers to be recommended under Hunt Report PH)
11. Co-operation with Outsourcing (including teaching and research PH) in accordance with Croke Park Deal
12. New arrangements will apply to rewards for additional internal work and external consultancy work
My Email Message to TUI Colleagues in IOTs
Reliable information is circulating in HR Departments of the Institutes in relation to the demands being put to TUI in current talks on Croke Park Deal
1 extra hour per week teaching or other duties to be in addition to completion of 560 annual hrs teaching.
Summer Break to be reduced to 6 weeks
Full Maximum 560(L), 630(AL) hrs to be delivered annually
All night weighting(1.5) of teaching hours to be abolished
All hours credit on teaching time-table for course co-ordination to be abolished
Credit to be allowed for post-graduate supervision as part of annual 560 hrs at a rate to be negotiated
Post grad supervision to be continuously delivered on a 12month basis
I believe that all third Level Area reps(executive members) should be present at these talks (this is not the case)
I believe that attempts to make lecturers redundant and the above demands should be resisted in common
Any “trade off” would be disastrous for union
Talks with IFUT in relation to University Staff are being dragged out until Institute Staff have been bludgeoned into submission by the threat of redundancy. Then the assault on conditions of service of university staff including tenure and redeployment will begin.(This will require changes to the Universities Act. The acceptance of the principle of redundancy across the public service in the Croke Park Deal by ICTU led by SIPTU, IMPACT, INTO, PSEU lends support to the elimination of tenure and the required legislative changes. TUI, IFUT and ASTI remain opposed to Croke Park Deal)
It would be suicide to do a deal with a dying government
Paddy Healy 086-4183732