For the record

August 31, 2001

Nursing acceptances increase 18 per cent
There will be many more student nurses this autumn after an 18 per cent rise in people accepting places compared with last year, according to figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

More than 3,000 people have accepted places on nursing degree courses. Medicine is also up, by 8.4 per cent.

The most popular subject for the coming academic year is business and management studies.

BMA wary of fast-track degrees for medicine
The British Medical Association says government proposals to shave a year off undergraduate and postgraduate medical degrees need more research.

“Shorter medical degrees must not be used as a fast-track manoeuvre to try to address staff shortages,” says a BMA paper released last week.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the government was still consulting on the issue and that an announcement would be made in the autumn.

Social Care Institute appoints first chief
Ray Jones will be the first chief executive of the Social Care Institute of Excellence.

Professor Jones, director of social services for Wiltshire County Council, is also a member of the Centre for Evidence Based Social Services, a visiting fellow at the University of Bath and a visiting professor at the University of Exeter.

The SCIE will draw on research to establish best practice in social work.

Police academy opens for Lincolnshire cops
The University of Lincolnshire and Humberside is collaborating with the Lincolnshire police to run a work-based BA (hons) police studies degree for serving officers.

Units such as law in action and integration and exclusion will be taught on campus. Most officers will take three to four years to complete the course. Experience and previous learning will be taken into account.

Martin Pinnick of the university’s faculty of social and life sciences said: “Organisations report that traditional campus-based courses do not always meet their needs. Work-based learning degrees are a response to those demands.”

UK draws more foreign students
The number of foreign students from outside the European Union at higher education institutions in the United Kingdom is rising, the British Council has said. In 2000-01, the number rose more than 2 per cent over the previous year, and it has grown nearly 8 per cent in the past four years. The UK aims to overtake the United States as the world’s top destination for international students. In 1998-99, the US attracted 490,000 international students; the UK only 213,000.

Shefc hands out £75m for infrastructure
The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has distributed £75 million in science research infrastructure fund grants to universities for new buildings and equipment.

The money comes from the Office of Science and Technology (£45 million) and Shefc (£30 million). The largest grant, £10 million, goes to Edinburgh University for a Research Institute for Medical Cell Biology.

Hull plans centre for marine archaeology
Hull University plans to create a world-leading centre for marine archaeology by developing land adjoining Blaydes House, where HMS Bounty was built in the 18th century.

It will start an appeal to raise £4 million for the centre, which will include a giant conservation tank housing salvaged vessels from the Iron Age onwards from around the world.

Natfhe meets to try to end FE pay deadlock
An 11th-hour attempt to end the further education pay deadlock will begin today, just a fortnight before a ballot of lecturers on their employers’ offer of a 3.7 per cent pay rise.

The national executive committee of lecturers union Natfhe will meet to consider recent developments. A spokesman said he was hopeful of a breakthrough. Five other unions have accepted the pay offer, which Natfhe has refused. The Association of Colleges refused to comment.

Strathclyde’s tiny hope for a quicker internet
Scientists at Strathclyde University are developing machines smaller than the width of a human hair to speed the internet.

The machines act as switches and mirrors that could ease bottlenecks when light pulses in fibre-optic cables have to change into electronic pulses and back again at crossover points.

Pupils enjoy summer of science in Oxford
More than 40 pupils from schools across England attended the Oxford Access Science Summer Schools week as part of the Oxford Access Scheme last week.

The BT-funded science week aims to give students a taste of higher education.

Teacher training does make better teachers
Training university lecturers to teach does improve student learning, an Open University study has shown.

The outcome of the three-year study suggests that accredited training programmes can raise teaching standards in universities to the benefit of students.

The study found that the teaching results of untrained lecturers not only failed to improve, but actually got worse. Twenty-four universities in eight countries took part in the research.

Northern Irish told to beware ILA scams
The public in Northern Ireland is being advised to be vigilant if they are approached “in a suspicious manner” to sign up for an individual learning account.

The Department for Employment and Learning said there have been reports of people being approached in the street or at home by canvassers offering to arrange an ILA and giving the impression that free training can be provided.

Billy Nelson, the department’s head of lifelong learning and qualifications, urged people to contact the department or the learndirect helpline to ensure they were signing up for a high-quality course.

An error in source material supplied to The THES led us to refer inaccurately last week to the “Royal Scottish Academy of Drama and Dance”. We of course meant the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where Donna Soto-Morettini has been named director of drama.   

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