News in brief

March 26, 2009

Vocational degrees

Higher education for apprentices

The Government has pledged to help more apprentices go to university and says it is considering a new form of vocational degree. John Denham, the Universities Secretary, said: "Apprenticeships are valuable in their own right, but there should be clear progression routes for young people and adults who complete (them) and want to go further - whether that's on to an advanced apprenticeship, a diploma, a foundation degree and beyond. Alongside this, I want universities to offer high-level vocational courses to meet the needs of students who have come up through vocational routes."

Technology investment

Hefce rejigs e-learning strategy

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has published a revised e-learning strategy. It aims to help universities prioritise their investment in technology and support them in developing their own e-learning strategies. John Selby, director of education and participation at Hefce, said: "Our emphasis is on recognising that technology has a fundamental part to play in higher education and that it should reflect commitment from senior management in institutions."

www.hefce.ac.uk

Royal College of Art

Add design to STEM, says rector

The outgoing rector of the Royal College of Art, Sir Christopher Frayling, is to mount a campaign for the classification of design as a STEM subject (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which are seen as economically important and, therefore, attract additional funding. Following a cut in research budgets to some of the UK's major design institutions, Sir Christopher said: "The dots aren't being joined up ... Everyone understands the relationship between science and manufacturing, but what they don't get is that design is the crucible of the creative industries."

Students with disabilities

Conference to hear concerns

A national conference to address the issues facing students with disabilities will be held at the University of Huddersfield on 16-17 April. The conference, "Degrees of Independence", is funded by the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund. "There are other conferences held on disability, but what makes ours different is that disabled students from across the country are taking part on an equal footing with academic staff and getting their voices heard," said Janet Hargreaves, associate dean of Huddersfield's School of Human and Health Sciences.

Clarifications

Vice-chancellors' pay survey

The figure of £298,000 quoted for the salary of Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, covers payments made to Bob Boucher, the outgoing vice-chancellor, and to Professor Burnett, who served for 11 months of 2007-08. Professor Burnett's salary was £191,000 for that period, annualised to £208,000. Janet Trotter was incorrectly listed as vice-chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire in 2007-08 - it was Patricia Broadfoot. Chris Jenks of Brunel University should have been 65th and the University of Wolverhampton's Caroline Gipps should have been 97th in the pay table. The percentage increase for Professor Gipps should have been 9 per cent.

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