News in brief

September 12, 2013

Funding council

New year, new head

The new chief executive of England’s funding council, Madeleine Atkins, will take up the post on 1 January 2014, it has been announced. The Higher Education Funding Council for England also said that Steve Egan, its deputy chief executive, will serve as interim chief executive from 1 October 2013 until Professor Atkins starts. Sir Alan Langlands, the current Hefce chief executive, leaves to become vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds on 1 October 2013. Professor Atkins joins Hefce from Coventry University, where she has served as vice-chancellor since 2004.

Healthcare courses

Double the dose

The Council of Deans of Health and the Higher Education Academy are extending their collaboration on innovation in health education and training for another year. In 2012, the partnership established a network for the 85 UK higher education institutions that provide pre-registration and postgraduate healthcare courses to share and promote innovative training practices. In the second year, the project will consist of workshops for universities and policymakers to promote examples of the teaching practices observed during the past year in more than 120 case studies. Geoff Glover, assistant director and head of health and social care at the HEA, said that the outcomes of the collaboration “will have a genuine impact on students”, supporting them in their professional development through a “range of innovative and creative projects”.

Transnational education

Home and away schemes expand

Transnational education – where students stay in their home country but study degrees from abroad – is growing at a “brisk pace”, a report says. But the study by the British Council also warns that quality assurance systems are not in place in many countries that host such activity. The Shape of Things to Come: The Evolution of Transnational Education: Data, Definitions, Opportunities and Impacts Analysis, released on 5 September, also judges which countries provide the best opportunities for universities looking to offer their programmes abroad. Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates all have “well above average” prospects over the next two to three years, it says. Nepal and Sri Lanka are viewed least favourably, while Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Russia and Turkey are also judged to be below average in terms of their suitability for transnational education ventures.

Recruitment in Scotland

‘Social value’ of foreign students

Universities Scotland has trumpeted the wider social value of international students beyond their economic contributions, arguing for visa policies that will help to increase their numbers. Often valued because of the high tuition fees they pay and their economic expenditure, international students actually offer much wider “social, cultural and educational” benefits, a report argues. Released on 3 September, Richer for It claims that overseas students help to foster an “international outlook” among their British counterparts, an attitude prized by the majority of employers. Home students’ learning experience is “enriched” by the presence of international course mates, it adds. Overseas students also help to boost Scottish “soft power” by creating a “vast network of alumni around the world who maintain strong connections to Scotland and serve as informal ambassadors for a country they perceive as a second home”.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

University of Manchester vice-chancellor Nancy Rothwell’s feature on changing her field of research attracted much discussion online:

@js_simons said the article was “inspirational”, but others were more sceptical. “I’m wary of that piece,” tweeted @thomasforth. “Dame Rothwell is more talented than most, and started her career at a luckier time.” @robertmbowman agreed. “Indeed – very hard [to change fields] now with pressure to be REF submittable at arbitrary internal audit points,” he said.

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