For the record

July 13, 2001

Yang puts Nottingham on the global map
Nottingham University’s new chancellor, Fujia Yang (pictured), is hoping to boost its international profile through his appointment.

The Chinese physicist and academic, who is a former president of Fudan University in Shanghai, told The THES: “Now almost all Chinese know the name of Nottingham.”  Professor Yang succeeds Lord Dearing, who has retired from the post.

Extra places given for foundation degrees
A further 20 universities and colleges will offer foundation degrees from September after funding chiefs this week announced the allocation of extra places.

Portsmouth University will offer 0 more places and Canterbury Christ Church University College will give 160 people the chance to do a part-time foundation degree. Birkbeck College has won funding for 125 places and Middlesex University 100.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has forecast, in its strategic plan for 2001-06, published this week, that student numbers next year will be within 2 per cent of the target for expansion.

Arts research funding inquiry launched
An investigation into the funding of teaching and non-science research was launched this week by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

It will review what resources are needed to support teaching, and arts and humanities research. The work will be conducted by JM Consulting, which is also studying the investment needed in infrastructure to support scientific research, on behalf of the Office of Science and Technology. Both studies are due to report later this year.

Sir Alec to head Royal Academy of Engineering
Sir Alec Broers, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, has been appointed president of the Royal Academy of Engineering until July 2006.

Tim Berners-Lee, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was one of four new foreign members.

Scots art schools get £1.5m funding boost
Edinburgh College of Art and Glasgow School of Art have been given a £1.5 million funding boost in the wake of their designation as “small specialist institutions”.

But they are set to press the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council for more. Each has gained an extra £250,000 annually for the next three years, and has been offered £375,000 in the short term to underpin its financial strategy.

Edinburgh principal will step down next year
Sir Stewart Sutherland, principal of Edinburgh University, is to step down in September 2002 after eight years in the post. Sir Stewart, aged 60, said he wanted  more time for other academic interests such as writing projects.

Sir Stewart said he was determined to see the university’s restructuring was on a firm footing before he left.

Agency to review complaints procedures
The Teacher Training Agency is to review its complaints procedures after it was taken to court by the University of Exeter. Exeter lost the case, which called for a judicial review of the TTA’s decision to start procedures for the withdrawal of accreditation.

Nigel Vivian of the TTA said Exeter was concerned that there was not automatic reconsideration of a decision by the board if someone used the complaints procedure.

If Exeter meets the criteria of an Ofsted re-inspection, the TTA will not withdraw accreditation. The report is expected to be satisfactory.

Winners of superstar salaries to be named
The government was this week expected to announce the seven scientists who will receive “superstar” salaries in the first round of the Research Merit Awards.

University College London is understood to have won four of the awards. They are worth up to £75,000 a year for five years. The £20 million fund is financed by the Office of Science and Technology and the Wolfson Foundation.

Top teaching awards to continue for third year
The £1 million teaching fellowship award scheme will continue for a third year, Manchester vice-chancellor Martin Harris told winners and guests at a ceremony in London this week.

Sir Martin chaired the panel that chose this year’s 20 top teachers in higher education, who each get £50,000 over three years to pursue research projects aimed at improving students’ learning experience.

Universities welcome AS-level reform
Universities have welcomed this week’s AS-level reforms amid fears that applicants were over-examined and intellectually stunted by the schools curriculum.

Jane Minto, Oxford University’s head of admissions, said that the burdens of sitting multiple AS-level exams and A levels left pupils with little time to make sense of what they learnt.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority report on Curriculum 2000 recommended that pupils sit fewer but longer AS-level exams.

Details: www.qca.org.uk

Cambridge technician dies from meningitis
A technician from Cambridge University’s department of biochemistry has died from meningitis. Six people who she was in contact with have been given antibiotics, but the authorities believe it was an isolated case.

Sheepish bid to entice adults to learn science
Why clone a sheep when they all look the same anyway? Birkbeck College hopes to entice adult learners into taking up science with this question. It will be addressed in a lecture next week, at the college’s summer school.

Correction
Paula Surridge, who was quoted in an article on the history of sociology (“Filling the need for isms and isations” THES , June 29), is no longer at Aberdeen University. She is at the University of Salford.   

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