For the record

October 19, 2001

Postgrad supervisor training extended
A scheme to provide improved training, recognition and support for supervisors of postgraduate students is being extended to universities and institutes throughout the United Kingdom.

The extended programme was announced yesterday by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council after a successful three-year pilot at the Institute for Animal Health.

Adult learning vital for future, says guru
Adult education guru Richard Hoggart has said that university departments of continuing education are more needed than ever before.

Professor Hoggart, speaking yesterday during the 50th anniversary celebrations of Glasgow University’s department of adult and continuing education, said education was now skewed towards the vocational and the certificated.

The emphasis in postwar adult education had been personal development and education for its own sake.

“A lot of people are technically literate, only in the sense that they are open to persuasion and advertising. A democratic society requires critical literacy. The need is as great as ever, if not more so, for education for personal, democratic and social life.”

Cancer research looks for answers in genes
Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridgeshire are to lead the world’s largest investigation into the genetic causes of cancer.

Mike Stratton will head the £36 million five-year study to search for genetic mutations that cause common cancers such as breast, lung, colorectal, ovary and prostate cancer.

A key goal is to identify all the genes within the human genome and find the genetic switches that turn genes on and off.

Scottish study patterns differ
Female students in Scottish further education colleges are more likely than men to take evening and weekend courses and to take up distance and open-learning opportunities. Male students are more likely to study full time.

St Andrews students vote on rejoining NUS
St Andrews University students are voting today on reaffiliating to the National Union of Students.

The association has not been an NUS member since the 1970s, but is a member of the Northern Services buying conglomerate.

Student president Dana Green is also Northern Services president. She said: “We pay £25 a year to be a part of Northern Services. Affiliation to the NUS would cost us between £25,000 and £30,000 a year. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which is the better deal.”

Blair launches ‘world’s largest university’
Tony Blair formally launched the NHS University this week, promising that it would be the “world’s largest university”.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The NHS University will deliver training in areas common to all health professionals from consultants to support workers, such as communication skills, ethics and assessment skills.”

Paediatrician back to work after suspension
David Southall, the consultant paediatrician suspended after accusations that he put the safety of children at risk, has been reinstated by North Staffordshire NHS Trust after a two-year inquiry.

In November 1999, Professor Southall and a colleague, Mike Samuels, were suspended after they were accused by parents of harassment and victimisation.

Professor Southall has pioneered the use of covert video surveillance in child protection.

The trust said this week: “No case to answer has been found in respect of professional misconduct or incompetence.”

Humanities centre will make doctors rounded
University College London has launched a Centre for Medical Humanities in conjunction with pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer.

The company is donating £174,000 to fund a lectureship and part-time administrator at the Royal Free and University College Medical School.

UCL said: “For today’s medical students, understanding culture and the arts is as important as grasping the elements of human anatomy.”

UUK takes equality challenge to N. Ireland
Universities UK has today opened its Northern Ireland equality challenge unit at the Stormont assembly buildings.

The £2.5 million unit was set up earlier this year to tackle disparities between men and women in higher education.

Baroness Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “The aim is to ensure that equality becomes a reality for all staff in higher education.”

Northern Ireland now has wide-ranging equality legislation aimed at combating discrimination in employment.

Name change for northern college
The name Ripon has been taken off the College of Ripon and York St John. It is now known simply as York St John College. From the start of this academic year, York will be the college’s main base.

Engineering waxes and wanes, report shows Engineering education in London is “simultaneously booming and in crisis”, according to a funding council report to be published this month.

The popularity of engineering in information technology and telecommunications courses has waxed as civil and mechanical engineering has waned.

David Rhind, vice-chancellor of City University, and chair of the review, said: “I don’t think London will see large-scale mergers, but there is a case for a lot more collaboration.”

Smug joggers take stress in their stride
As if joggers were not smug enough, a new study suggests that fit people suffer less stress when facing a challenging physical activity than their couch potato counterparts.

Researchers at Texas A&M University in the United States tested volunteers with a variety of exercises, including hiking, white-water canoeing and rock climbing.

They found that those who were not in good physical shape produce large quantities of stress hormones when confronted with such challenges, compared with their more healthy counterparts.

If the activity involved risk, the effect was even more pronounced. The study is published in the Journal of Leisure Research.

 

 

 

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