Campus round-up

May 26, 2011

Nottingham Trent University

Building on an iconic past

Sir David Attenborough has officially reopened two iconic university buildings. Nottingham Trent University's striking 1950s Newton Building and its 1870s neo-Gothic Arkwright Building have been refurbished in an award-winning regeneration programme. Neil Gorman, Nottingham Trent's vice-chancellor, called the undertaking "a showpiece for urban renewal" and "some of the most far-reaching green initiatives any university has ever seen". "Our drive for sustainability is something that resonates with Sir David," he said. The renovated buildings have been recognised for their architectural excellence in the Royal Institute of British Architects Awards 2011.

University of Leeds

Blowing hot and cold and hot

The inner core of the Earth is simultaneously melting and freezing, research suggests. The solid iron inner core was formed by the cooling of the Earth from the inside out, causing liquid iron to freeze. But a study by the University of Leeds, the University of California, San Diego and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, published in Nature, suggests that, depending on the structure of the overlying mantle, emitted heat can be redirected back into the core, causing re-melting. Jon Mound of the University of Leeds said: "If our model is verified, it's a big step towards understanding how the inner core formed, which in turn helps us understand how the core generates the Earth's magnetic field."

University of Central Lancashire

Media degrees headline overseas

Five new UK journalism and film degrees have been validated to run at the Asian School of Communication in India. The school will run the University of Central Lancashire BA and MA programmes after developing a purpose-built centre to provide studios and editing facilities. Sandeep Marwah, president of the Indian institution, said the link would "pave the way for the future development of the creative industries between the UK and India".

Southampton Solent University

Put them to work, business urged

A university is spearheading a campaign to create graduate jobs worth millions of pounds to help regenerate the local economy. Southampton Solent University is challenging businesses in the area to participate by pledging internships, work placements and jobs by the end of June. The campaign is being coordinated by Graduate Jobs South, a Solent initiative that works to match students and graduates with employers in the region.

Newman University College, Birmingham

Youth crime in EU spotlight

European Union funding will support a study into the causes of street violence among young people in three countries. Researchers at Newman University College, Birmingham have secured almost €500,000 (£440,000) for the project, which will look at crime in the UK, Germany and Austria. Yahya Al-Nakeeb, director of research at the institution, said: "By looking at both young people's experiences of street violence and existing practice we hope to gain new perspectives on the issue that will improve services and shape best practice for years to come."

Edge Hill University

Peak performances

One of England's newest universities has received top marks for its teacher training provision from Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills). Edge Hill University was graded "outstanding" in 11 criteria for all its primary, secondary and initial teacher education for further education courses. The inspectors noted that provision at Edge Hill had improved from good to outstanding for secondary and initial teacher education in further education since the previous Ofsted inspection.

University of Sheffield

Brushes with future greatness

A painting of university life is set to raise money for scholarships. Titled Our Students' Journey, it depicts various aspects of student life at the University of Sheffield, as well as some famous alumni. It is the work of local artist Joe Scarborough and will hang in the university's student union building. Proceeds from the sale of 500 signed prints will be used to fund scholarships for gifted students and grants for student clubs and societies. In 2005, sales of prints of a work by Mr Scarborough raised more than £18,000 for undergraduate scholarships.

UEA/Queen's University Belfast

Gates' way to drug delivery

Researchers have received £100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to look at new ways of administering vaccines for polio. Although the disease has been eradicated in many Western countries, more than 1,000 new cases were recorded worldwide in 2010, with the greatest concentration seen in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Researchers at the University of East Anglia will work with colleagues from Queen's University Belfast to adapt a drug delivery system developed at UEA that has already been used to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

Bath Spa University

Art for Japan's sake

A university is holding an exhibition of postcard art to raise funds for the relief work of the Red Cross in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in March. Staff and students from Bath Spa University have joined forces with artists, designers and writers - including two from Japan - to mount the exhibition of works at its Newton Park campus this month. The show was due to culminate in a silent auction of the work exhibited. The fund-raising idea was devised by two Bath Spa lecturers, Tim Parry-Williams of the School of Art and Design, and Richard Stamp of the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries.

London School of Economics

Learned friends speak up

A series of lectures examining vital topics of our time has been launched. The talks in the "Burning Issues" series at the London School of Economics this month have been recorded for broadcast, and involved extensive audience participation. Conor Gearty, professor of human rights law, explored "The DNA of Human Rights", including an interview with a survivor of the 7 July 2005 bombings in London who risked her life to help the injured. Emily Jackson, professor of law, spoke about "The Right to Die", with contributions from people suffering from multiple sclerosis and locked-in syndrome as well as a committed "pro-lifer" who is wheelchair-bound. And Tim Allen, professor of anthropology, discussed the health crisis in Africa in a lecture entitled "Parasites - enemy of the poor", drawing on expertise from microbiologists at the Natural History Museum.

School of Oriental and African Studies

Top Marx for prognostication

The overwhelming majority of economists failed to predict the severest crisis since the Great Depression. But did Karl Marx foresee what was coming? That is the claim set out by John Weeks, emeritus professor of economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, in his recent book Capital, Exploitation and Economic Crises. This also formed the basis of a plenary presentation last week at the Istanbul conference of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy. Moving between Marx's analysis of the nature of capitalism and the recent global turmoil in financial markets, Professor Weeks argued that Marx effectively anticipated the financial collapse of 2008, since it derived from the "fetishism of commodities" that he saw as inherent to the capitalist mode of production.

Glasgow Caledonian University

Thrift pays employee dividends

A Scottish university has achieved a target to save £5 million through non-pay and voluntary means, removing the threat of redundancies in the process. Glasgow Caledonian University announced last week that it had achieved more than 95 per cent of its £5 million target by "reprofiling and restructuring" its administrative and support services. There had been fears that as many as 95 administrative and support posts could be lost, but Glasgow Caledonian said that would not now happen. Mary Senior, University and College Union Scottish official, welcomed the announcement, saying that "UCU members at Glasgow Caledonian have fought a fantastic campaign against the (proposed) job losses."

Canterbury Christ Church University

New faces shine in leading roles

Students at a university with one of the largest Romanian populations in England have appointed two of their number as representatives. Silvia Rasca will become president of the students' union at Canterbury Christ Church University, while Anca Popescu will serve as vice-president for student activities. The university currently has 314 Romanian students. Ms Popescu and Ms Rasca will take up their posts in August.

University of Warwick

Cash in a flash for Indian scholars

Indian students at a UK university are to benefit from fast-track loans under a deal struck with a bank. WMG, a manufacturing group at the University of Warwick, has signed an agreement with the Central Bank of India, which will provide fast-track loans of up to 2 million rupees (£,500) to Indian students studying at WMG. In addition to the loans, the partnership will "enhance the understanding of Indian business" and promote technical cooperation between the UK and India.

Trunk call for help

Dolls, children's rattles and toy cars are among the recycled materials used to make this unusual elephant. Anthony Heywood, head of sculpture at the University for the Creative Arts, said the work had been inspired by a news report about illegal poaching of elephants. "Apart from the obvious, and very relevant, considerations of suffering and conservation, it was the ultimate irrationality of this barbaric act that engaged me to do the work, as I felt that as an artist I wanted to show my concern for the plight of the elephants," he said. His sculptures are now on show at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery until 13 August.

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