Campus round-up

February 14, 2013

Source: Alamy

Let’s stay together - take the bins out

Did you wake up this Valentine’s Day morning to a dozen red roses and breakfast in bed? If not, don’t worry: romantic gestures are not that important to the health of your relationship. Researchers at The Open University have been looking at what keeps couples together after the romance has gone, and have found that in tough economic times - and with constant reminders of high divorce rates - partners are working hard at their relationships to stop them falling apart. Interim findings from the two-year study, Enduring Love? Couple Relationships in the 21st Century, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, show that everyday gestures such as taking out the bins and saying thank you are viewed as important by those in long-term relationships. Putting up with each other’s annoying habits, such as loading the dishwasher badly, is also crucial to survival. More than 4,000 adults in the UK have taken part in the survey so far. How many of them are destined for the divorce courts is hard to judge at this stage.

University of Sheffield
Free as a ‘terror bird’

A natural history museum previously accessible only to students is to be opened to the public. The University of Sheffield’s Alfred Denny Museum was created for teaching purposes by the institution’s first professor of biology, Alfred Denny, in 1905. Its exhibits include fossilised flying dinosaurs and the enormous skull of a phorusrhacid, an extinct man-sized avian predator known as the “terror bird”. Still used by students in Sheffield’s department of animal and plant sciences, it was opened to the public for the first time in more than a century during Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind last September. Now popular demand has prompted the university to open the museum on the first Saturday of every month.

University Campus Suffolk
Problem shared…

Almost half of the young people in Suffolk who have been “cyberbullied” do not seek help, research has found. A survey by academics at University Campus Suffolk found that 19 per cent of children and young people have reported incidents of online bullying, with girls and those with disablities more likely to be affected. Emma Bond, senior lecturer in the School of Applied Social Sciences, said that it was of great concern that only 52 per cent of young people who had been cyberbullied sought help to stop it, given that it can lead to poor self-esteem and truancy. It has even been reported as a “significant factor” in recent cases of teenage suicide, she warned.

University of Reading
Five years of healing

A university-based mental health training and research centre has celebrated its fifth birthday. The Charlie Waller Institute of Evidence- Based Psychological Treatment at the University of Reading attracts experts from around the world, who help train local NHS staff in the use of the most effective therapy for patients with mental health issues. It was the first of its type to train clinicians in proven psychological treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, according to the university. Since opening in 2008 it has trained more than 300 highly skilled mental health clinicians, with many going on to treat patients in the local area. In addition, the institute has provided over 5,000 training days to support improvements in mental health care across the UK.

University of St Andrews
Total makeover

The refurbishment of a students’ union building, which will cost up to £12 million, has been given the go-ahead. The court of the University of St Andrews has agreed to a total revamp of the institution’s current union, with the completed building to include a cafe, rehearsal rooms, more space for student societies and a cocktail bar. Contractors will start work next month, and it is hoped that the project will be completed by the end of 2015.

University of Glasgow
Solution to life on Mars?

Analysis of a Martian meteorite has discovered the first evidence of water dissolving the surface of the Red Planet. Scientists from the University of Glasgow used a scanning electron microscope to examine the surface of the 10 million-year-old rock, known as Nakhla after the Egyptian town where the meteorite crashed in 1911. They discovered that tiny depressions called “etch pits” had been created by water dissolving certain minerals within the rock. The research concludes that Nakhla had been exposed to water for a few months.

University of Wolverhampton
Cradle of pedagogy

A new research centre will focus on further education policy and practice, with a particular emphasis on the early years of teachers’ and trainers’ careers. The Centre for Research and Development in Lifelong Education (Cradle), launched in partnership with the Institute for Learning, will be part of the University of Wolverhampton’s School for Education Futures. It is one of 10 projects to have received support from a £6 million fund at the university to enhance the institution’s research.

Coventry University
Rom, Ram, thank you ma’am

A royal visit marked the official opening of a university’s “striking, eco-friendly” £55 million engineering and computing facility. Coventry University’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing was opened by the Princess Royal on 8 February. Paul Ivey, the faculty’s dean, said: “We produce graduates who meet industry’s exacting demands by applying fresh and original approaches to teaching and learning, investing in state-of- the-art equipment and building close links with business. This philosophy underpins the whole look and feel of the building.”

University of Nottingham
Nordic networking

A UK university is to set up a large-scale partnership with a Swedish institution. The University of Nottingham’s tie-up with Lund University will involve research collaboration, and student and staff exchanges, plus joint undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Lund, which was 82nd in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2012-13, is a member of the League of European Research Universities. Roger Woods, associate pro vice- chancellor at Nottingham, said that working with “a small number” of high-ranking universities was at the heart of Nottingham’s “European strategy”. He added: “Both universities will benefit from the international opportunities that will open up by pooling their expertise in key areas.”

University for the Creative Arts
Sister acts

Adele and Lady Gaga are just two of the major female artists of the past decade highlighted by a university lecturer in an update to her book about women in popular music. Lucy O’Brien, a music journalism lecturer at the University for the Creative Arts, has revised and expanded She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music with a raft of new interviews. “In recent years there’s been an explosion of female artists on to the pop scene,” the former New Musical Express journalist said. “I thought it important to show the context of these important female figures in music history.”

City University London
‘Pop-up’, start-up

A “pop-up university” is offering advice to entrepreneurs on how to set up their own businesses. City Unrulyversity - a collaboration between City University London and viral video marketing firm Unruly - will host free talks at Tech City in East London. At the institution’s opening night last month, lecturers from City were joined by Twitter’s UK sales director Bruce Daisley and Richard Anton, a specialist in software companies at private equity firm Amadeus Capital Partners. Individuals who attend five City Unrulyversity sessions will be eligible to apply to a £10 million venture capital fund run by City’s Cass Business School to help start-up and early-stage companies.

Bedfordshire/Nottingham Trent
Chaps, it’s never too early

Mentoring by “strong leaders” is required to help overcome the barriers that put men off primary school teaching, a study has found. The research, conducted by Malini Mistry, senior lecturer in early years education at the University of Bedfordshire, and Krishan Sood, senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, questioned 18 male early-years trainees at the beginning and end of their courses at one university. It found a number of consistent stereotypes and barriers that discourage men from entering the profession, including the perception that early years is “women’s work” because they are more nurturing; concern that men might be perceived as threatening to young children; and a fear of being wrongly accused of indecent behaviour.

University of Roehampton
Bank on it

A Spanish bank is to provide £75,000 a year to support students and academics at a London university. Emilio Botin, group chairman of the Santander Banking Group, signed the four-year bursary deal during a visit to the University of Roehampton last month. Since 2010, more than 60 students and staff have benefited from £150,000 of funding provided by the bank, which also supports Roehampton’s Hispanic Research Centre. The grants have paid for students from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Chile and the US to undertake research trips to Africa, South America and Europe, as well as funding a film-making project in Kenya and an academic research project on tourism in Morocco.

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