News in brief – 16 April 2015

April 16, 2015

TES Global
THE parent acquires UniJobs

Times Higher Education’s parent company, TES Global, has acquired UniJobs, the online global network for academic and research positions, it was announced this week. The acquisition was described by Rob Grimshaw, chief executive of TES Global, as a significant investment in a “dynamic sector that is undergoing rapid growth across both the developed and developing economies”. The company’s ambition, he said, was “to transform the way both academic and professional support roles are filled by higher education institutions, matching global talent with global universities”. UniJobs was created in 2006 and is based in Melbourne, Australia. Its founder, Jarrod Kanizay, said that the acquisition by TES Global, and association with THE and the THE World University Rankings, would result in “unparalleled international reach” for a jobs portal that already works with more than 700 institutions worldwide.

Governance in Scotland
Calls to put overhaul on ice

Universities in Scotland have called on the Holyrood government to put on hold an overhaul of governance in the sector after the proposals met with significant resistance. One of the most contentious measures in the proposed Scottish higher education governance bill – a requirement for chairs of university governing bodies to be chosen in an election involving internal and external voters – was opposed by 78 per cent of respondents to a consultation. The bill would implement key recommendations of the governance review led by Ferdinand von Prondzynski, principal of Robert Gordon University. Pete Downes, convener of Universities Scotland and principal of the University of Dundee, said that ministers urgently needed to “reflect seriously on the wide range of evidence that says the proposals in the consultation paper will damage universities’ contribution to Scotland’s success”.

USS board
New chairman unveiled

Sir David Eastwood, the University of Birmingham’s vice-chancellor, has taken over as chairman of the sector’s main pension scheme. Sir David will head the trustee board of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which has assets of about £48 billion and more than 330,000 members, mainly from pre-92 universities. He replaces Sir Martin Harris, who has stepped down from the post after nine years as chair. The board will soon be asked to consider proposals to end the USS’ final salary scheme, which were put forward by employers and the University and College Union, to eliminate an estimated £13 billion deficit. The plans are under consultation with staff until 22 May. Trustees will consider comments before a decision is made.

Student voters
Swing seats ‘need digital natives’

The Student Room has launched a campaign to encourage its members to register to vote so that they can affect results in marginal seats in the general election. Through the “together we matter” campaign, the movement aims to convince the online forum’s 1.8 million users to register and to vote, and also to campaign for the voting age to be lowered to 16. The Student Room says that it is used by 75 per cent of UK students and will be visited by more than 4 million 18- to 24-year-olds in the run-up to the election. Its campaign aims specifically to target the 10 student constituency seats with the smallest majorities.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

Our report on survey findings that 40 per cent of PhD students at Exeter suffer ill health was much discussed online, with @awhooker (“As an Exeter uni PhDer, I’m not surprised”) and @jcbernthal (“Exe is well-known for high stress statistics”) concurring with the results. @MetteBundvad, a postdoctoral researcher in Denmark, said, “I would be interested in knowing the numbers from other universities”, before adding, “I suspect they will be similar”. There was praise for Exeter’s response to the findings, however. And @SophieBeerPGlbo, a Loughborough PhD student, made a general point about support networks, stating that “doing a PhD is not always good for self esteem” but she was “very lucky to have x2 supportive supervisors and many great peers”.

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