News in brief

August 25, 2011

Women's careers

Equality efforts rewarded

Ten higher education institutions and science, engineering and technology departments have been commended for their work to support the careers of women. The Athena SWAN Charter Awards, which have been running since 2006, are split into three categories: bronze, silver and gold. The latest winners of bronze awards, announced last week, are: the University of Strathclyde; the School of Mathematics and Physics, Queen's University Belfast; the School of Psychology, Cardiff University; the department of life sciences, Imperial College London; the department of chemistry, University of Manchester; the School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nottingham; and the School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham. Three departments have won silver awards: the department of biomedical sciences, University of Edinburgh; the Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University; and the department of biochemical engineering, University College London.

Research careers

Road map to success

A blueprint for the professional development of researchers is being trialled across Europe. The Researcher Development Framework was developed by the research council-funded Vitae organisation, which promotes professional development in research careers. It sets out the knowledge, behaviour patterns and attributes researchers require to be successful both within and beyond academia. The European Science Foundation is to assess whether the Vitae document could form the basis of a pan-European framework.

Advertising standards

Capital error

A Middlesex-based college has been reprimanded for using pictures of Big Ben to advertise its campus. The Advertising Standards Agency said the Commonwealth College of Business Management London had misled the public by including photos of central London landmarks alongside a picture of its Northwood headquarters. The watchdog ruled that the college's website gave a "misleading impression" of its location. CVs provided by the college's "highly qualified and experienced faculty members" also failed to substantiate their credentials, the ASA said.

Campus expansion

York St John backs out

A university has dropped a bid to expand its estate in the face of a backlash from locals. York St John University has withdrawn plans to buy a car and coach park from the City of York Council after a campaign by local traders who feared the sale would harm business. The university was considering building academic teaching or conference facilities. More than 22,000 people signed a petition against the sale, and last week the university said it was withdrawing from the purchase.

Low achievement

Religious revival

A group of academics is aiming to tackle underachievement among Muslim children. The project, Educating Muslim Young People to Succeed in Britain, is intended to develop an educational framework and curriculum to help Muslim schoolchildren. Advisers include Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, and Timothy Winter, Shaykh Zayed lecturer in Islamic studies at the University of Cambridge.


Last week's interview with Benjamin Ginsberg, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, about the problem of "administrative bloat" in higher education provoked debate.

A reader writes: "Professor Ginsberg's howl seems to miss the fact that 'scholarship and teaching' are heavily dependent on 'the well-being of the institution'.

"Without the latter, he ain't gonna get paid for the former, but perhaps he is willing to undertake these activities at home and pro bono?"

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