News in brief

November 11, 2010

Name change

Branding clash rumbles on

Thames Valley University's plans to change its name have been delayed after a dispute with Brunel University over the new title. In August, TVU announced that the Privy Council had given it permission to become the University of West London. The name was to be introduced across the university in October. However, a disagreement with Brunel, which argued that it owned trademarks including Brunel, The University of West London, has rumbled on. Last week, the two universities issued a joint statement saying they had agreed that Thames Valley's "new title for branding purposes" would not be launched until 6 April 2011. "Discussions have been positive and there are no outstanding issues of dispute between the two institutions," the statement said. Both institutions "recognised the need to avoid confusion in the student marketplace" and to have "clarity on issues of branding and copyright".

Student plagiarism

Guiding light on complex issues

A new guide aims to help universities and colleges manage the complex issues of student plagiarism, collusion and data fabrication.

Over the past 10 years, concern about plagiarism has grown, says the report published by the Academic Integrity Service, which is jointly managed by the Higher Education Academy and the Joint Information Systems Committee. Ensuring that students with diverse backgrounds and experiences are supported, software tools and a range of approaches to assessment can help to prevent or detect plagiarism, according to the guide, Supporting Academic Integrity: Approaches and Resources. It offers resources on academic integrity, including online tutorials for students.


Nice work if you can get it

Unpaid work placements and informal recruitment methods mean that entry into employment in the arts and cultural sectors is more difficult for students who are not from white, middle-class backgrounds, according to a new study. Research by the Institute for Policy Studies in Education at London Metropolitan University for the Equality Challenge Unit found that work placements were considered a vital way of gaining experience in the arts and cultural sector. But this posed extra challenges for disabled students, black and minority ethnic students, those with caring responsibilities and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kim Allen, a member of the research team, said that press coverage of the exploitation of students through long and unpaid internships presented "only half the picture". "Some groups of students fare much worse in this culture of unpaid internships than others," she said.

Judicial review

Student challenges degree

A Queen's University Belfast graduate is pressing ahead with a legal bid to have his degree classification increased. Andrew Croskery graduated with a 2:2 in electrical engineering this summer but launched an application for a judicial review of his grade in September. He argued that he would have obtained a 2:1 if his supervision had been adequate. He also claimed the university had breached his human rights by denying him an appeal. The case was adjourned last month after Queen's offered to review his grade. However, his barrister said the review had been "unsatisfactory" and said his client wanted to press ahead with his legal challenge as soon as possible.


Debate is raging on the Times Higher Education website about the level of fees universities are likely to charge after the government confirmed an upper cap of £9,000.

One reader predicted: "Pretty much every half decent uni will charge 9K. Anything less will appear as sub-standard."

Another said: "Let's hope that those universities that charge above 6K are genuinely brought to book on entry and access to university."

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