News in brief

March 19, 2009

American studies

Higher demand down to Obama

A rise in the number of applications for places on American studies courses is being attributed to an "Obama bounce", according to George Lewis, director of the Centre for American Studies at the University of Leicester. "It seems that four-year degrees ... where students spend a year in America are now very popular. One theory is that the placement year is a more attractive prospect in Obama's America than studying in the land of George W. (Bush)," he said. Demand for Leicester's American studies course is up 60 per cent.

Knowledge transfer partnerships

Red tape strangles collaboration

Knowledge transfer partnerships are being throttled by red tape, a report by the Advanced Institute of Management Research says. It claims that businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to collaborate with universities despite a flood of government initiatives designed to encourage such links. "There is a perception in industry of a rising tide of university red tape," said co-author Ammon Salter, reader in innovation management at Imperial College Business School. More than half of the firms surveyed (55 per cent) blamed administration and regulation for limiting collaboration with universities.

Student loan repayments

Lammy rejects Tory EU warning

Conservative Party warnings that 70 per cent of European Union students are failing to repay their student loans after completing UK university courses have been dismissed by the Government. EU students are eligible for loans on the same basis as UK ones, but the Tories warned that many cannot be traced and are failing to repay. David Lammy, the Higher Education Minister, said the figure was "plain wrong" as it included students who were beneath the repayment threshold and those still in education.

University governance

V-cs stand together in tribunal

The acting and former vice-chancellors at Leeds Metropolitan University are due to give evidence at an employment tribunal this month. Simon Lee, who resigned as vice-chancellor after he was told to leave or face suspension while concerns about his treatment of colleagues were investigated, is due to give evidence alongside Geoff Hitchins, acting vice-chancellor, and Keith Ramsay, deputy chair of governors. They will fight a claim of race discrimination brought by a former academic at Leeds Met, who said he was bullied by his line manager. The case was due to start on 16 March.

Robert Beckinsale

An article "No second chance for giver of fresh starts" (The Times Higher Education Supplement, 9 December 2005) stated that Robert Beckinsale, former principal of Plater College, Oxford, had been dismissed after a critical report by the Adult Learning Inspectorate. Mr Beckinsale informs us that in fact he resigned from his position, that it was his decision to do so and that neither Plater College's board of governors nor its trustees had any influence on his decision. We accept his assurances to that effect.

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