Former NCI President Dr Paul Mooney has a provocative and pretty vicious go at third level lecturers in an article "Inside third level" in today's Irish Times. In the article he says that "lecturers have light workloads, research pet projects that have no benefit for Ireland Inc, and management is poor". Of course he is entitled to his opinion, but I as a lecturer take grave exception to his unjust statements**.
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Dr Mooney does accept that some lecturers are "brilliant teachers", however he does state that "lecturers are lazy and don’t update their material" (I understand that he has used the word "lazy" before in relation to lecturers). Dr Mooney has form in this - today's Irish Times is not the first time he has had a go at lecturers. Two years ago I reviewed his book "Accidental Leadership". In this review I wrote:
"I didn't know either what to make of the description of Academics as being either Minimalists or Status-Ticians (pp 74-75). As I was first reading this I turned the page to read what the next/third description was as I (honestly) didn't recognise myself as either of the above two - to my surprise there was no other type!".
Academic research comes in for particular attack. Dr Mooney claims that a "percentage of university lecturers are actually completing their own research for a PhD during work hours" - he forgets that a big majority of university lecturers already have PhDs. I suspect he is targeting Institutes of Technology and other Colleges where the percentage of PhDs is a lot lower. The funny thing is that I distinctly recall a staff meeting when he praised a certain NCI academic staff member who had just started a part-time PhD. Dr Mooney even supported the introduction of a "research day" for academic staff as part of an NCI submission to HETAC for a new PhD programme (which was approved). You can't have it both ways! He rubbishes research in Ireland as "not even close to reality".
Dr Mooney was President of NCI for three years - in the article he had a go at management in third-level. I do partially agree with his stance on performance management at third level (I have written about this before on this blog), however - I do not recall any attempt by him to initiate reform in this in NCI. He wants to increase the amount of teaching from 24 to 36 weeks - forgetting that students will also be opposed to this.
I am wondering about the motive for this diatribe against lecturers two years after he left NCI - read the full article and judge for yourself. I am a Lecturer, so naturally I will not like what he has written. Clearly, this has been a bug-bear of his both during and after his time as President of NCI. I feel personally insulted by the article, in my opinion it also insults NCI, and finally it insults the hundreds of Lecturers in Ireland who do a good job.
* this post title is a direct quote from Dr Mooney's article in today's Irish Times
** all opinions expressed in this post are my own, and are not intended to represent the opinion of anyone in NCI