A chief from abroad?

January 1, 1999

The repute of the new Institute for Learning and Teaching appears to have spread, even a good four months before it is due to be up and running this April.

Originally, the closing date for applicants to the post of chief executive was December 5 and interviews were supposed to have taken place before Christmas. But these have had to be postponed to early in the new year, because of, says the word on the street, "interest from abroad".


In Italy, the University of Pisa has issued an official statement in defence of its senate's recent controversial decision to lay a stone in memory of Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944), the Italian fascist politician, philosopher and former education minister.

"There is nothing contradictory in our decision," an official senate spokesman said. "Our university counts among its statutory values the principle of overcoming all forms of discrimination."

The decision even seems to have the support, if ambiguously put, of the Pisan Jewish community. Stressing Gentile's key role in Italian culture, the community's chairman said: "Truth has more than one face."


A recent study showing that first names have some impact on a person's success at university may have omitted to say that being called "David" seems to set one up for a career in higher education policy.

Take a recent meeting between the Association of University Teachers and science minister David Sainsbury about university staff casualisation. Around the table were AUT president David Triesman, assistant general secretary David Bleiman and AUT parliamentary liaison officer David Melhuish. All were no doubt discussing how the issue may be addressed by education secretary David Blunkett.

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