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23 July 2024  

NUI Chancellor calls for recognition of role of university teachers


Speaking at the official opening of the new UCD School of Education building in Belfield, the NUI Chancellor, Dr Maurice Manning, called for the role of university teachers to be reaffirmed. Commenting on the increased commodification of higher education, Dr Manning remarked that ‘a rather repugnant vocabulary is gaining currency where the student is referred to as a consumer, selecting a customised education from a menu of choices. In this scenario, teachers are seen as passive facilitators of learning or mere service providers, responsible for delivering a range of learning outcomes and subject to quality assessment of their delivery’.

Criticising the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area for omitting to mention teachers among those interested in good quality higher education, Dr Manning said that ‘the role of the teacher as an expert in his or her field, with the capacity to encourage and inspire, to spread ideas, to stimulate interest in a subject, provoke critical responses and in general to foster intellectual debate and discovery is at the core of higher education and needs to be reaffirmed. The impoverished vocabulary resulting from process and systems-driven approaches to education needs to be resisted’.

In the same address, the Chancellor expressed his concern ‘that the focus on frameworks, processes and outcomes is becoming disproportionate and that content, the currency of knowledge and the particularities of individual disciplines are being sidelined. There is a need, in my view, for the rewards of learning, of intense engagement with a discipline, in-depth scholarship, passion for subject, to come more strongly into focus and feature more prominently in discussion of higher education’.

Chancellor's Address

Further information from Dr Attracta Halpin,
Registrar NUI
49 Merrion Square,
Dublin 2.
tel: 01 439 24 24
e-mail registrar@nui.ie