New College Warden dismisses ‘nonsense’ university league tables

first_imgProfessor Alan Ryan,Warden of New College, criticised league tables in a recent opinion piece forthe Times Higher education Supplement, say­ing that the “problem with leaguetables is that they ignore the fact that institutions are of different sizesand have different strengths.”Ryantold Cherwell that university league tables are “all pretty muchnonsense”, and that “apples and pears” do not belong in the same table. Writingin THeS last week, he points out that “excellent means ‘excellent at’ and that‘at’ matters. What are you good at? is the ques­tion to ask.”Commentingon the suggestion by Estelle Morris, former Secretary of State for Education andSkills, that Sunderland University was doing research of the same kind as Cambridge, Ryan writes in THES: “If it does, somebody iswasting a lot of money in the Fens. It maywell be true that the research Sunderland doesis exactly what the people it is done for need, just as it may well be truethat their teaching is just what their students need.” Hewent on to say that, “In which case, the folk in Sunderlandare excellent at what they are doing. Full stop, no league tables. Does anyonereally want a table comparing violin­ists and tennis players?”Thisyear Oxford University published its first officiallyendorsed ‘Norrington Table’, ranking colleges by Finals performance. The tablehad previously been compiled by a number of newspapers from undergraduatedegree results posted outside Examination Schools. The University decided topublish its own official results “in the interests of fairness” but maintainedthat such college listings were “not very significant”.Whenasked his thoughts on the Norrington Table, Professor Ryan said that “from topto bottom” there was “scarcely any gap” between Oxford colleges. Aspokesperson for the University said of league tables: “We treat them with acertain amount of caution. There are many different ways of measuringindividual aspects of an institution’s performance, and even more ways ofbringing these together in ‘league tables.’” When asked about the University’suse of the Norrington Table, the spokes­person stated “Ranking colleges on thebasis of degree results is not very significant, as the numbers involved percollege are small, and the results are dependent on the performance of aparticular group of students in a particular year, rather than on the collegeitself.”ARCHIVE: 5th week MT 2005last_img read more

Alford plays major role in Special Olympics International

first_imgAs an enthusiastic supporter of the Special Olympics who has worked for more than two decades with Special Olympics International, Harvard Law School Professor William P. Alford welcomed the opportunity to help bring about the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, held in PyeongChang, Korea, earlier this year. He explains that the millions of athletes who participate in Special Olympics internationally range from children with very basic motor skills to world-class basketball players who have been known to give former NBA stars, including Special Olympics board members Dikembe Mutumbo and Sam Perkins, a very challenging game.“One of the major messages of the Special Olympics is that having a disability need not be seen as being as limiting or disqualifying as some people might assume,” says Alford, director of East Asian Legal Studies and chair of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD). “These games show us extraordinary determination and level of accomplishments and are inspiring.”More sobering, though, are the economic challenges and human rights issues—poverty, limited access to education and health care, and a lack of adequate legal protection—prevalent among the more than 200 million people with intellectual disabilities worldwide, the majority of whom live in low-income countries.Read the full story on the Harvard Law School website. Read Full Storylast_img read more

UW sweeps UAA in weekend series

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald file photoEntering the month of November, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team was still looking for its first win at 0-6-1 on the season.Now, in true worst-to-first fashion, the Badgers find themselves atop the WCHA standings following a weekend sweep of the No. 15 Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, winning 3-2 Friday and 7-2 Saturday at the Kohl Center.“It’s quite the accomplishment for this group from where we were,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “We talked about that after the game. The thing that we, as a staff, were the proudest of was the fact that they stayed together through tough times. We persevered. The lessons that we learned through those first seven games until we got our first win are going to pay dividends.”The lessons learned from overcoming adversity were evident Saturday night for the Badgers, who were without junior Blake Geoffrion, the team’s captain. Geoffrion suffered an ankle injury in Friday night’s victory and was not in the lineup the next night.In Geoffrion’s absence, Wisconsin used a balanced attack to overpower Alaska Anchorage, as six different players found the net.Michael Davies kicked off the scoring Saturday with a goal late in the first period. Davies was able to take a nice centering pass from freshman Jordy Murray and buried the puck past UAA goaltender Jon Olthuis for a 1-0 lead.Three more Badgers would get on the score sheet in the second period as Wisconsin built a 4-0 lead. Podge Turnbull and Matt Thurber worked a give-and-go to perfection on a breakaway for the team’s second goal of the night.The breakaway was set up by some confusion at the Anchorage bench, as the Seawolves were caught in the middle of a line change and were unable to get back on defense as Turnbull and Thurber rushed the zone.“It was a bad change,” UAA head coach Dave Shyiak said. “Lack of awareness.”Defenseman Cody Goloubef and forward Andy Bohmbach also scored in the second. It was Goloubef’s second goal in as many nights, as Tom Gorowsky sent him a pass through the crease for the assist.Brendan Smith and Sean Dolan beat UAA’s Bryce Christianson — who replaced Olthuis in the third period — to make it a 6-0 Badger lead.Anchorage’s Tyler Moir and Tommy Grant added goals late for the Seawolves, but Davies’ second goal of the night sealed the 7-2 win for UW.For Davies, his two-goal performance was a bit of a statement. He had been benched earlier for six straight games after Eaves and the coaching staff had wanted him to improve his play five-on-five.After two even strength goals on the weekend, it appears the message was received by Davies.“I think he’s made a concerted effort to make sure that his five-on-five play has been better, and he was rewarded tonight for that,” Eaves said. “What great growth for Michael.”“Five-on-five, it’s great to chip in; I haven’t been doing well lately with that,” Davies said. “It feels like the hard work paid off, not just for me, but the entire team.”His teammates have taken note of the hard work as well.“It’s huge, especially for the team, just to see a guy like that that we know we need to be in the lineup and need to be effective for us,” junior defenseman Jamie McBain said. “His perseverance kind of sums up our team. He just never quit and he just kept going through it. Obviously, he’s reaping the rewards now.”Davies had two points in Friday’s 3-2 victory, including an assist on the first goal of the game by Geoffrion. Camping out near the side of the net, Davies was able to sneak a pass through the slot to Geoffrion, who fired it past Christianson for a 1-0 lead early in the second period.Anchorage had a chance to tie things up midway through the second, as two Wisconsin penalties gave the Seawolves an extended 5-on-3. But the Badgers — who are third in the WCHA in killing penalties — were able to hold off a barrage of UAA shots and maintain a one-goal lead.“That was clearly a major turning point in the battle of the game,” Eaves said of the power play.The Badgers’ next two goals came just 21 seconds apart late in the second frame. Derek Stepan was able to score a power play goal on a wraparound to Christianson’s right at 17:22. Goloubef then sniped a shot from the blue line that made its way through traffic and into the back of the net at 17:43.Heading into the final period, a 3-0 lead appeared to be a comfortable margin for the Badgers. The Seawolves weren’t about to go down easily, however.Beloit native Sean Wiles got UAA on the board midway through the third as he beat UW netminder Shane Connelly over Connelly’s left shoulder. Trevor Hunt later scored on the power play, nine seconds after McBain was whistled for roughing.But Connelly and the Badgers were able to hold on for the 3-2 victory without their team captain and defenseman Jake Gardiner, who left the game in the first period after taking a hard open-ice hit.“We knew we had to change some things, but we knew we had 20 minutes to go out and do it,” freshman forward Derek Stepan said. “Losing Blake, that was just another thing we had to get over. And Jake, too. It was something we had to worry about, but at the same time we knew we had 20 minutes to step up and make something happen.”Wisconsin will now have a few weeks off — which will allow a banged-up team to finally get healthy again — before returning to action Dec. 27 for the Badger Hockey Showcase.“Obviously, we want to keep playing — everyone does,” Dolan said. “But a part of me also thinks maybe it’s good for our bodies to get rested up and come back the second half and just keep climbing this mountain and put our foot on the gas pedal even harder.”last_img read more