News in brief

September 17, 2009

Exam howlers

'Best Wank and Gaza' wins

Congratulations to Leo Enticknap, lecturer in cinema at the University of Leeds, who is the winner of this year's Times Higher Education "exam howlers" competition. Dr Enticknap was told by a student that a documentary "was made using undercover filming, to draw attention to human rights abuses in the Best Wank and Gaza". He wins a magnum of champagne.

Medical research

Tissue Act concerns unfounded

The frequent complaint that consent restrictions imposed by the 2004 Human Tissue Act hinder research may be unfounded, according to a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology. Researchers from the University of Leicester's department of health sciences studied letters written by ethics committees - 50 before and 50 after the Act was implemented in 2006 - and concluded that it had not made them more cautious about approving human tissue research. The paper, "Research involving storage and use of human tissue: how did the Human Tissue Act 2004 affect decisions by research ethics committees?", is co-authored by Emma Angell, research associate in the Leicester department.

Academic publishing

Peer review backed by sector

Two thirds of academics are satisfied with the peer-review system for monitoring the quality of scholarly output, a survey by charity Sense About Science has found. However, it also highlighted concerns that the process, which assesses about 1.3 million papers a year, is not robust enough in terms of identifying plagiarism and ensuring that papers acknowledge previous work.


Leeds Met's ex-v-c sets up shop

The former vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University has set up a consultancy to advise universities on partnerships with sport and arts organisations. Simon Lee was forced to resign earlier this year after allegations of bullying and a row over the institution's tuition fee levels. The consultancy, Level Partnerships, has been established with Jill Adam, Professor Lee's former colleague at Leeds Met.

Interdisciplinary research

Collaboration is the key

Business schools have been encouraged to work more closely with university science and technology departments to improve institutions' bottom lines. In a paper published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal, Mike Wright, professor of financial studies at the University of Nottingham, says that better internal links could help universities generate more income. Schools could offer joint courses, such as MBAs in business and technology, argues the paper, "New developments in technology management education".

Distance learning

Education for the people

The inaugural term at the United Nations' University of the People starts this month. UoPeople is a tuition-fee-free online university that does not charge for materials, lectures or access to the learning environment. Anyone who has graduated from high school and has sufficient English may enrol. It will initially offer two programmes, in business administration and computer science, with an initial intake of almost 200 students from 49 countries.

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