For the record

August 3, 2001

Drop in college enrolments
Government figures published last week showed a 1.8 per cent fall in further education enrolments for 1999-2000 compared with the previous year. Some 705,300 students aged 16 to 18 attended colleges, down 1.6 per cent, and 3 million older students, down 1.8 per cent.

£1.4m supercomputer to recreate creation
The UK's largest academic supercomputer, capable of 10 billion calculations a second, has been switched on at Durham University.
The £1.4 million installation will be operated as part of the Institute of Computational Cosmology, headed by Carlos Frenk.

"The Cosmology Machine will allow us to recreate the entire evolution of the universe," Professor Frenk said.

It was funded with the help of £652,000 from the Joint Research Equipment Initiative.

Female scientists suffer low self-esteem
Female scientists in UK universities are undervalued and uninformed about career-development opportunities, according to a research project report due later this month.
Sixty female scientists surveyed said they commonly suffered low self-esteem and found it hard to network, said June Jackson, of the equal opportunities consul-tancy group at Royal Holloway College, speaking at the project's conference in Oxford.

Bath slashes prices for bulk-buying masters
Bath University has developed a "bulk-buying discount" scheme aimed at employers to encourage enrolments on its masters programmes.
The discounts cover fees for its distance-learning MSc courses in construction management and integrated environmental management.

Three students on the course attract a discount of 5 per cent on the standard £5,950 course fee, more than six get 10 per cent discount and 10 to 25 students get 15 per cent discount.

The course is designed to produce managers for the construction industry. Students gain the degree while working full-time, but modules may be taken individually as continuing professional development training.

Strike talk over job losses at Middlesex
Lecturers at Middlesex University are discussing the possibility of industrial action over redun-dancies.

The university has agreed 31 requests for voluntary redund-ancy but says another 25 academic posts must go. It said it was discussing with Natfhe, the lecturers' union, which staff could be redeployed or retrained and it wished to avoid any compulsory redundancies.

But Jenny Golden, Natfhe's London regional officer, said: "There have been sufficient volunteers for the university to have a break-even budget, but over and above that they are wanting to restructure in three areas."

Governors vote to keep music department
Staff at Exeter University's music department are celebrating after university governors voted to keep it open.

In January, the department began working on an action plan to combat a £22,000 deficit coupled with ageing practice and performance facilities and the loss of a key member of staff.

The senate committee voted to 16 against closing the department.

Christopher McCullough, head of the school of drama and music, said the outcome offered the department an opportunity to rethink its courses. He said the issue of funding had still not been settled and said he was looking at collaboration with nearby Dartington College of Arts.

Abertay secures grant for access partnership
The University of Abertay Dundee gained the largest access partnership grant awarded this week by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. It took 14 per cent of the £455,000 that the council allocated to 12 institutions.

The grant is intended to encourage and reward institutions that find imaginative and innovative ways of securing private-sector investment for widening-participation incentives.

Last year, Abertay came third in the national league table for attracting more students than expected from neighbourhoods where few enrol in higher education. Paisley University, which came second, did not receive extra cash in this week's allocations.

Review finds culture of unpaid overtime
Unpaid overtime is sustaining higher education, the transparency review is expected to conclude.
Records of staff working hours at every university and college were due to be sent to the funding councils this week. Last year, a pilot study found that staff typically worked a 55-hour week, with senior staff working up to 70 hours a week.

The review was initiated by the Treasury. Universities hope the government will meet the costs identified by the review if they meet government standards of transparency and accountability.

Delay in naming thee-university partners
The commercial partners in the e-university will not be announced until mid-August, two months later than planned.

The delay came as Pearson, which was interested in participating in the e-university, presented its interim results.

Pearson Education made an operating profit of £16 million in the first half of 2001 - up from losses of £26 million in the first half of 2000. But losses from its internet enterprises more than doubled from £20 million to £43 million between the first half of 2000 and the first half of 2001.

Plans for a London joint education centre
The University of Greenwich and the London Borough of Greenwich are collaborating on a possible education centre in Woolwich.

They are jointly funding a feasibility study for the project, which could provide education from sixth form through to higher education.

Vice-chancellor Rick Trainor said: "We're keen to offer local people a university education on their doorstep."


• Tom Wilson, head of universities for Natfhe, the lecturers' union, featured as a possible candidate for the post of general secretary of the Association of University Teachers in The THES of July . Unfortunately, the photograph that accompanied the article was of the wrong Tom Wilson. Natfhe's Tom Wilson is pictured above. We apologise to both.

• The Kirsty McColl scholarship will be based at Goldsmiths College, University of London. This may not be clear from a report in The THES of July 20.


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