The THES diary

September 11, 1998

Sit. still vac.

The colourful former Association of Colleges chief executive Roger Ward was always going to be a hard act to follow. But nine months after his departure in disgrace the post has had to be re-advertised, with a closing date next week. Possible candidates include Solihull College principal Colin Flint, who led the campaign to oust the whole AoC board after Mr Ward left, and Sue Dutton, the caretaker chief executive. Other possibilities were Helena Kennedy QC, since snapped up by the British Council, and Chris Hughes, now chief executive of the Further Education Development Agency.

All for one

News on why it took so long to publish results of the research assessment exercise consultation. It seems both education secretary David Blunkett and higher education minister Tessa Blackstone stubbornly insisted that universities put as many of their academics in as possible. They firmly believe there is a formula that will force universities to enter all staff in a particular department, while the funding council is equally firm there is no such formula. One to watch.

There, their

You might expect an academic who studies the education of five to 16-year-olds to have a grasp of basic grammar and spelling. But you might be mistaken.

Jonathan Osborne, of King's College, London, who presented a session on "Beyond 2000: science education for the future" at the British Association festival of science this week, should have checked his overheads. As he argued that students should be taught how to question the results of science, his display asked the question: "Are their reasonable grounds to doubt the findings?" There might be.


Downing College, Cambridge, has been looking back, in its annual association newsletter, on a year of belt-tightening. Recalling the 70th annual dinner "which offered food and drink of the usual high quality" it reports master David King warning the assembled revellers about the threat of college fees that "would make an enormous difference to our lifestyle and very significant changes for all the colleges".

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