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September 28th 2010 Printing fees are working - but students fearful of impact on education

Daniel Lynch Editor

Students believe the quality of their education has been hampered by the introduction of printing fees in UCC, a survey has revealed.

However, it has also emerged that the fees, which were implemented in time for the 2009/10 academic year, have greatly reduced waste and the lengths of queues for print- ers in the university.

The survey, undertaken last Febru- ary as part of a final year econom- ics dissertation - entitled "From common good to private property - changes in demand for printing, the case of UCC" - by Alan Good and supervised by Robbie Butler of the Department of Economics, canvassed 350 opinions.

UCC authorities have reasoned that introducing fees for a previ-

ously-free service has been a nec- essary change, with the UCC Stu- dents’ Union last year claiming 23 million pages were being printed per annum, more than UCD and Trinity combined.

Students were asked a range of questions to view what factors swayed their behaviours, with first years excluded as they had no ex- perience of free printing.

While dissatisfaction was pre- sented as a symptom of the extra costs incurred, queues and levels of printing were taken as positives of the product tax.

Regarding the volume of printing, 34% felt the fee has had a very sig- nificant impact on how much they would print, with a further 27% deeming it significant. Only 7% felt there has been no impact.

The survey also found that prior to the introduction of the printing

levy, a majority of students (80%) regularly or always printed their notes out before lectures, while since the introduction, 72% rarely or never do so.

Furthermore, 88% of respondents found queues had shortened to varying degrees.

While figures sought from the UCC Computer Centre regarding printing volumes were not avail- able at the time of going to press, a student employee of the body said the survey's data backed up his per- sonal experience.

“Definitely since the fees came in, queues have been cut down to size," he told the Express.

“Basically it’s been very good for waste; we’re never throwing away (print) jobs. People are careful over what they’re printing. Around exam time, they’re only printing what they need.”

UCC increase in world rankings welcomed

Byron Murphy Deputy Editor

University College Cork staff and students have praised the univer- sity for it’s ascension in the QS World University Rankings this year, bringing UCC into the top 2% of universities in the world. The yearly rankings have seen UCC climb to 184th in the world based on the QS ranking method, up from 207 last year. Meanwhile both Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin have both experienced a decrease over last year’s rating.

The rankings, which have been published every year since 2004, examine the top 500 universities in the world based on a formula test- ing various merits of these schools. UCC has enjoyed a steady climb over the course, and between 2005 and 2010 the institute climbed from 384th to 184th in the world.

This has of course been greeted with great enthusiasm by UCC President Michael Murphy, who stated on the issue: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome the dramatic advance UCC has made this year in global university rankings, and of course it’s a continuation of progress that we’ve now seen over the past 4 to 5 years”. He stated that the move is remarkable con- sidering the fact that UCC is a “not a very big university”, contained in a small city within a small country. The president accredited the move to the “hard work of the staff, who are very dedicated” and a “big in- crease in the number and quality of our research outputs in recent

The subsequent effects brought about as a result of printing fees highlighted a trend towards low- ered concentration. 55% felt they were writing more and listening less in lectures, while 24% re- ported increased daydreaming. 14% of people claimed they would not attend lectures without notes.

Statistics indicated a lower ap- proval rating for the standard of their education since the introduc- tion of printing fees.

34% felt the quality of their educa- tion was reasonably affected with 21% feeling it was significant. This correlates to student opinion on lecturer reaction since the printing fee was introduced.

A surprising 54% of students felt lecturers did not consider the intro- duction of fees in any way for their classes, while 31% felt lectures oc-

Photo: Julia Healy casionally print lecture notes.

Fourth year Commerce student Raymond O’Connell felt quite ag- grieved at the “nonchalant” lec- turer reaction.

“In fairness, they introduce stealth fees everywhere and expect us to just take the brunt of it all," he said.

"Departments should really allo- cate funding to lectures so that as much of the info, books or other- wise, are available at minimal cost.”

Intel and Tyndall collaboration worth 1.5 million

Adam El Araby Continued from page 1:

Students enjoy the peace of the Quad as officials cele- brate a successful year.


UCC Students’ Union President Keith O’ Brien also welcomed the increase in world rankings, but stressed caution when taking these rankings at face value. He stated: “I think it’s important to point out straight away that those rankings were based on 2007 levels…but in the past two to three years we have experienced huge cutbacks, so we haven’t seen the full effects of those and how people are perform- ing endemically, I think it’s great that UCC are climbing the rank- ings but I’d be very hesitant in pat- ting ourselves in the back too soon”.

He feels that the staffing cuts of about 7% will have an adverse ef- fect on future rankings. However, Mr. O’ Brien also applauded the ef- fort of UCC students along with their departments for achieving high standards in terms of grades, saying “Two years ago we were the highest 1H population in Ireland, so we were the highest generators of top level students”. He also credited staff members like Vice

Photo: Julia Healy

President for the Student Experi- ence Con O’Brien, for “making that effort to make UCC much more hospitable for students and bringing a new focus on it”

Professor Graham Parkes, Head of the School of Sociology and Phi- losophy at UCC, also suggested care be used when examining these results, as they are based on a for- mula which fails to capture many important aspects of university life. He stated: “My sense is that UCC is moving forward and getting bet- ter and better, but we need to be wary of getting caught in the trap of putting all our energies into re- sponding to what we think the rankings will reward us for”. He believes that there are better ways by which success could be meas- ured saying: “If a department or discipline or unit of the university is doing well we need to advertise that beyond the good things that people hear by word of mouth. Doing well in the rankings is clearly one way, but we shouldn’t forget to pursue the others".

Ms. Dorel stated: “A major multi- national like Intel can, and does, go anywhere and it would not be making this investment in Tyndall if it were not confident firstly that the quality of its outputs would stand-up with the best anywhere in the world and secondly that they would be highly exploitable. Clearly, we are very grateful for the investment in our research, but we are also very grateful for this dual validation of Tyndall’s quality and relevance.” Tyndall’s focus on industry-aligned re- search has helped it to distinguish itself in the international commu- nity and the institute is currently working with over 200 compa- nies.

UCC’s relationship with Intel spans over 15 years since the Chemical and Electrical Engi- neering departments first collab- orated with the corporation.

UCC still ranks third in Irish uni- versities in the ratings, with Trinity College and UCD placing 52nd and 144th respectively. However, contrary to the trend UCC has seen both of these figures are down from last year. The rankings are based on a complex methodology, which attributes different weights to different aspects of university life. 40% of the score is taken from an academic peer review of each institution and 10% is based on

Tyndall is already involved in a number of international research collaborations with the company. This agreement is Intel’s first of its kind in Ireland and one of only two such programmes in Europe.

Considering the current economic turmoil in the country, sizable in- vestments such as this are a wel- come reassurance of our value to major industry players. Ms. Dorel said, “Ireland is gaining interna- tional recognition for our excel- lence

in research and

development. The country has come a huge distance in the last 15 years, largely as a result of the strategy set in the 1990s, which led directly to the Government’s investments in research and tech- nology over the past decade, through the DETE, Science Foun- dation Ireland, the Higher Educa- tion Authority and Enterprise Ireland. This has provided Ireland with state-of-the-art facilities, at- tracted world-class researchers and educated a critical mass of highly skilled people.”

employer reviews, while both fac- ulty/student ratio and citations per university receive 20% each. 5% of the score is based on the proportion of international faculty within the university and similarly 5% is taken from the proportion of inter- national students. Based on this, UCC receives a score of 50.07. This year Cambridge enjoys the top spot with a score of 100, with Harvard and Yale trailing slightly behind.

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