The THES Diary

May 7, 1999

Off the cuff

With the present flurry of higher education initiatives, it was an easy mistake to make. The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (CVCP), organiser of last week's conference on globalisation in higher education, got its acronyms in a twist, inviting Roger King, chair of the planning group for the Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) to speak on the University for Industry (UfI).

Failing to spot the error in time, Professor King took up the challenge. Quoting extensively from the UfI's planning document, published last month, he bravely cobbled together 20 minutes of material. An example of learning and teaching if ever there was one.

Cut to the chase

Delegates anxious to hear the keynote speech at last week's globalisation conference were also disappointed.

Michael Wills, parliamentary under-secretary of state in the Department of Trade and Industry, was due to address the conference on new model universities. But, by the time he got to his feet, the sessions had overrun by nearly an hour. He barely had time to whisk through a few headline points before having to dash back to the DTI.

To the manor born

Ross Kemp, better known as hard man Grant Mitchell of TV's EastEnders, became a Westender when he was installed as rector of Glasgow University. He confided that he had not himself gone to university, and had sought advice from his fellow actors on addressing the august gathering. They had suggested: "Oi, you lot, get lost! This is my manor now!" Remembered with a will Universities are well aware that awarding an honorary degree can remind wealthier alumni and local citizens of their existence. But Exeter University, which made distinguished archaeologist Ralegh Radford an honorary graduate in 1973, could hardly have foreseen that it would benefit not only from the donation of his library two years ago, but now by about Pounds 500,000 from his will. Dr Radford, who died at the end of December, left an estate valued at just over Pounds 1.3 million and split it between the university, the British School in Rome and the Society of Antiquaries in London.

Sing for your seminar

Stirling University has unveiled a stimulating programme for its 1999 summer school, ranging from "how to write the story of your life" to "geology on the golf course". One session sounds particularly challenging. Internationally renowned Scottish folk singer Jean Redpath will tutor a Scottish singing school. No previous experience is required, the university insists: "Jean's philosophy is that if you can talk, you can sing".

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