The THES Diary

May 21, 1999

Nice to chi you...

Anyone hoping for a future improving the National Health Service must adopt a suitably respectful tone. Those involved in the Commission for Health Improvement have been told to stop referring to it affectionately as "Chimp" and instead use the term "Chi". It is felt this would capture the essence of the new body with appropriate dignity - not bad considering the legislation to set it up has yet to be passed. The parallel National Institute for Clinical Excellence is happy to be thought of as "Nice".

V-cs smoked out

The debate over tuition fees appeared to get overheated at vice-chancellors' headquarters in London last Wednesday. The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals had to evacuate staff when smoke was seen rising through the building. Students sitting exams were thought to be the culprits. It emerged that a restroom towel roll had been inadvertently set alight by a cigarette.

Child support

Scotland's alleged new era in politics looks very much like the old one, given the fraught negotiations over tuition fees in a bid to form a coalition government. But there was one hopeful sign at last week's swearing-in of MSPs. As Susan Deacon, formerly a member of Heriot-Watt University's business school, stepped up to take the oath, the silence was broken by a supportive yell of ``Mummy!'' from her 18-month-old daughter.

Theatre therapy

Wales has been badly hit by the current farming crisis, and what more suitable way of coping than by singing about it? Postgraduate theatre studies students at Trinity College, Carmarthen have been working with the National Farmers Union Cymru-Wales, individual farmers and a professional theatre and film director to explore the financial pressures on farm workers through drama and song.

Contract hit

The Association of University Teachers is pressing for the right of contract staff to be principal investigators rather than requiring permanent academic staff to "front" their applications.

So it was appropriate that Alan Williams, chair of the AUT's contract research staff committee, introduced his report at last week's union's council meeting in Sarborough, by thanking his predecessor, Martin Cloonan, who had actually written it.

"In true academic tradition," he went on, "I am pleased to present a work which isn't my own."

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