News in brief - 19 February 2015

February 19, 2015

THE awards
Deadline extended for Thelmas

The deadline for entries for this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards – more widely known as the Thelmas – has been extended until the end of February. The annual awards, with more than a dozen categories ranging from finance to student services, celebrate the work of university managers and administrators across the UK. Entries will now close at midnight on Sunday 1 March, and the ceremony takes place on 18 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The University of East Anglia scooped the top prize of Outstanding Leadership and Management Team last year in an event attended by almost 1,000 people.

Warburg Institute
Library starts a new chapter

A long-running legal battle over the fate of a university library has finally been settled. The Warburg Institute, part of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, has been locked in dispute with the university since 2008 after significant estate charges were imposed. The charges represented a violation of the Warburg’s 1944 trust deed, which was signed shortly after the collection was transferred from Nazi-threatened Hamburg, its advisory council argued. Having sought leave to appeal points of the court judgment made in November over the Warburg estate charges, the university has now said it has “reached a binding agreement” on the future management of the Warburg with the council.

Overseas students
Campus closed? Collect a refund

International students should be given access to a protection scheme ensuring that they are refunded or compensated if their institution closes, a campaign group says. A “manifesto for international students”, published by the UK Council for International Student Affairs, also calls for the procedures around student visas to be simplified, and for asylum seekers with “discretionary leave” to remain in the UK to be made eligible for student support and “home” fee status. Restrictive controls and hostile rhetoric about immigration mean that there is “widespread concern” that Britain is not taking full advantage of the growth in international study, the document warns. Other proposals include restoration of a post-study work visa, removal of students from any net migration cap, and additional funding to support the international student experience around the UK.

UUK: put CHEE in charge

The next government should create a new lead regulator, the Council for Higher Education England, and toughen rules for private providers. That is the view of a Universities UK report that says the present “regulatory landscape is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to understand, with no clear guiding strategy or leadership to shape its future direction”. The report, written by a UUK regulation task group chaired by Simon Gaskell, principal of Queen Mary University of London, singles out the growth in private providers, saying “it is important to be confident that all providers can give robust assurances on the quality and sustainability of their offer”. Professor Gaskell said that recent years had seen “significant changes” to higher education and that the sector “needs to keep pace with these developments if confidence, and our international reputation, are to be maintained”. The report, titled Quality, Equity, Sustainability: The Future of Higher Education Regulation, envisages that the Higher Education Funding Council for England should “evolve” to take on the CHEE’s responsibilities.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

An academic’s calculation that the real cost of the 2014 research excellence framework to universities could exceed £1 billion had our Twitter followers up in arms. “This is where your £9k fees are going,” said @DrLeeJones. “Just think how much research could have been done with £1bn,” tweeted @ilovechocagar. “Well that’s money well spent then,” added @simon_n_dixon. @JNGriffy said: “Half of that £1bn comes down to academics wasting time tweeting about REF results! Wait a minute…”

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