Monday, 28 September 2009

The State of Third Level education in Ireland today - Should Lecturers carry out Research or indeed any additional duties, in the IOT sector

Now that I’m back Lecturing 16 hours a week. Ok that seems like a little, but the Amount of preparation, that goes into being innovative and constantly improving delivery and updating content, with the ever changing technology, is 3 or 4 times that (Ask my wife and family). I am facing the question; “Should I take on the two research students that I committed to at the end of last year”. If I am expected to source funding, to vet students applications, and then take on additional responsibility in supervising research students, it does not seem possible to do all of this and still have any kind of the life. Indeed it begs the question should any lecturer in the institute of technology sector in Ireland take on any extra responsibility. It seems to me at the major problem in the institutional sector is poor management. If management wish lecturers to partake in research then surely a properly resourced research department should be able to approach a lecturer with a student, a research proposal and a source of funding in order to alleviate an already time poor member of the institute. Rather a situation exists at the moment where by either the student approaches a lecturer expressing a desire to to do research in some area or indeed the lecturer themselves have to go looking for a student for a research idea that the lecturer might have. It's another example of a badly organized system in the third level sector. A lack of understanding on the part of management and indeed the public in general, of the workload on IOT Lecturers, especially those working in neck breaking leading edge technologies such as computing and technology is increasingly eroding the will of Lecturers to continue the fight to deliver quality education to Learners. This coupled with the gross mismanagement and corruption that is systemic from the highest levels of the Government down through the educational model, is frankly demoralising the front line staff who are genuinely trying to make education an enriching experience in this Country. For myself I am a professional person, with 20 years experience in lecturing and researching new technology, and I work damn hard to try and keep up with what is going on in my fields of expertise and delivery, but sometimes I just feel like giving it all up and just doing what will get by (and let the dice role were it may), when I see my conditions of service being eroded and my salary to boot. I worry for the education of current and future generations of students, when I see the ineptitude that filters down from on high. Can of worms? Open!

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