Henry McLeish, the Scottish Labour Party's new interim leader, was expected to be elected first minister by the Scottish Parliament yesterday, seeing off a challenge from John Swinney, leader of the Scottish National Party, and David McLetchie, leader of the Scottish Tories.
Mr McLeish has promised to "reshape and refresh" the Scottish cabinet. Wendy Alexander, minister for communities and a leader in the fight to improve social inclusion, is likely to be Mr McLeish's replacement as Scotland's minister for enterprise and lifelong learning.
A spokesman for the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals said that Mr McLeish had "reassured the higher education sector in a time when there has been a lot of change.
"He has said that he wants us to help make the case for the importance of higher education. If he becomes first minister, we are sure he will continue to take an interest in the sector's welfare."
Former first minister Donald Dewar, whose sudden death from a brain haemorrhage earlier this month precipitated the Scottish Labour Party election, is to be commemorated by Glasgow University, where he studied law. Glasgow will set up ten scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds as a tribute to Mr Dewar's commitment to social justice.
Senior staff will meet Mr Dewar's family and colleagues to draw up plans for an "academic initiative" promoting teaching and research in promoting social inclusion.