News in brief

March 6, 2008

HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY

80% of postgraduates happy

Eight in ten students on taught postgraduate courses rate the experience as having met or exceeded their expectations, a study has found. The Higher Education Academy survey also reveals that 84 per cent thought their course would improve work prospects, 80 per cent found it motivating and 73 per cent would recommend it. Two areas were rated "very poorly". Just 33 per cent of the almost 7,000 polled said that "academic advice on their next career step had been appropriate" and only 30 per cent said they "had been able to access good financial advice".

DELIVERY PARTNERSHIP

Top pupils will get to shop around

The Delivery Partnership, set up to reform university admissions, has agreed to an "adjustment period" in August to allow students who have done better than expected in their A levels to apply to another university. From 2009, applicants who have achieved results better than required for the firm offer they have will have five days to look for an alternative, with their first choice staying secure.

GENOMIC MEDICINE RESEARCH

Lords seek update on progress

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into genomic medicine. Peers are keen to identify progress in research in the field - which aims to discover how variations in genomes make some people more susceptible to certain diseases - and to speed its translation into clinical practice.

University of Essex

UCU urges halt to private venture

The University and College Union at the University of Essex has passed a motion calling on the vice-chancellor to stop talks with language teaching firm INTO about a joint venture with Essex's International Academy. More than 80 members backed the motion at a meeting last week, saying that the union "does not believe that any benefits ... will outweigh the very real risks to academic standards, conditions of employment and job security".

DWP ACCESS TO WORK FUNDING

Bid to end cash for alterations

Universities would have to pay for "reasonable adjustments" needed to ensure access for disabled staff under proposals from the Department for Work and Pensions. A consultation document suggests withdrawing Access to Work Funding from public-sector bodies. The funding pays for modification to premises, travel and communication aids. The consultation closes on 10 March.

- See www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2007/des-consultation/full-consultation.pdf

Corrections

We wish to point out that the University of Bristol is still fundraising towards its £100 million Centenary Campaign ("The art of asking", 14 February). In 2006-07, its fundraising office cost £1.5 million and raised £4.5 million (academics raised another £2.7 million). In 2006-07, Bristol had contact with 96,000 alumni, of whom 4.1 per cent gave a gift.

We also omitted to credit the photograph of Marcus du Sautoy, on page 47 of the 21 February edition, which should have been attributed to Niccolo Caranti.

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