Letters 2.11.10

Headaches for neuroscience

Madam –
Once again any attempt to be organised in Trinity College has failed completely and utterly. I am a student of Neuroscience and our timetable this year has been an unholy disaster.

I have several clashing lectures that are constantly being rearranged. In one case, a lecture was moved so that we could attend another lecture with Physiology. Then, when we arrived at the physiology lecture, there was no lecturer or tutor present. It later emerged that they had changed the venue, and just hadn’t told Neuroscience.

Another couple of times we have had lectures scheduled and no lecturer has turned up as they were told different times on their timetable.

These issues only encourage the thought that there are people in Trinity who can’t do their job and yet for some reason, are still being paid to do it.

Yours, etc,
Rachel MacCann
JS Neuroscience

trinity needs change now
The upcoming election of Trinity’s next Provost has set the rumour mills turning at full speed, and it is hardly surprising that several high-profile names have been mentioned.

Of these, one we might have expected – Professor Patrick Prendergast, the Vice-Provost – was officially announced last week. I have met Mr Prendergast on more than one occasion, and he is a fine man. But- and I say with this with no ill will towards him personally – I cannot help but feel he is cut of the same cloth as his predecessor, and the university needs a change.

The corporate nature which has invaded not only Trinity, but every major university in the country, has not served us well. Undergraduate teaching is barely limping onward, while new initiatives with impressive-sounding names and “interdisciplinary” credentials draw away the little available cash.

Educational institutions seem to employ as many marketing staff these days as they do academics, as they try to attract external funding from grant bodies or corporations for new projects, any new projects, that might increase the profile and stature of their institution.

What Trinity needs right now is a break from this mode of thought. I don’t suggest, as I know others might, that we need a Provost who is a highbrow academic, with little understanding of how the system works.

Rather, we need to select a person from the many very capable and well-respected figures the university has already produced who is capable of honest and open-minded discussion; a person who values common sense as highly as they do academic discourse; someone who would prefer to get right down to the issues rather than indulge in time-wasting corporate-style nonsense.

It is a shame figures like Ferdinand von Prondzynski, a former Fellow and the finest of the recent university heads, or Eoin O’Dell, one of the most well-respected legal minds in the State, have excused themselves from the race.

Both are known for their open and public nature, something cherished by their fans in an industry ruled by small committees behind closed doors.

If such men would actively avoid the role of Provost in one of the country’s leading universities, despite encouragement, does that mean the situation is so dire they cannot see room for improvement? If so, all the more need for a radical change.

Yours, etc,
Dave Molloy
BA 2009