NUI Galway has been making the news lately with reports on the university’s ambitious plans for world domination, but Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington points out in a Letter to the Editor that there’s one significant area where President Jim Browne and the university have failed consistently: gender equality.
The Sunday Business Post recently published a 1,400-word article by Margaret O’Brien lauding NUI Galway President Jim Browne, who has “his sights set on global domination” for the university.
Really? The article cited the university’s investment in infrastructure with the construction of new buildings, a visit by Prince Charles, and the awarding of research grants as proof that President Browne’s Vision 2020 strategic plan is working.
Only one paragraph – around the 1,100-word mark – mentioned NUI Galway’s poor rating on gender equality issues.
Here’s what Dr Browne had to say about that:
“We are not alone among universities in having a serious problem in this area, but we acknowledge that we need to take big steps in a short space of time to right the situation. We have been actively and positively addressing this issue through a quota system since 2013, and we are determined to empower all staff to reach their full potential.”
Ummm… What about the considerable number of gender discrimination cases against the university filed by female lecturers in the High and Labour courts? What about the bullying atmosphere at the university not just within academia but throughout the various departments? What about the general lack of transparency at the upper management level? What about the ethos that apparently focuses more on money and less on actually educating students?
Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington counterpointed the article in an excellent Letter to the Editor that was published in the newspaper. Here are some highlights:
What the article fails to address is the university’s abysmal ranking in another matter: it is probably the second worst in all of Europe for its proportion of senior female academic staff.
And writing about NUI Galway’s emphasis on funding achievements, Micheline wrote:
The message is clear: these achievements will be valued over and above the task of truly educating and inspiring students, developing their intellects and innovative thinking – or, indeed, above research in subjects that do not incur such global accolades.
Micheline’s letter can be read in its entirety by clicking on this link: Wrong Metrics at NUI Galway.
The Sunday Business Post article can be read in its entirety by clicking on this link: NUI Galway is top of the class.SBP