Today's news

September 26, 2003

Kent 'axes' medieval history to save cash
Medieval historians are joining forces over proposals at the University of Kent that could lead to the demise of an academic centre that specialises in the teaching of the medieval history of Canterbury - Chaucer's adopted home. The "restructuring" plans - drawn up on cost-cutting grounds - have already forced the resignation of Andrew Butcher, director of the Canterbury Centre for Medieval and Tudor Studies, which is housed within the university and whose work could not continue.
(THES, Guardian)
Read the full story in The THES
http://www.thes.co.uk/current_edition/story.asp?fksp=1&id=48741

Racial equality chief warns of legal action over fees
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, looks set to fuel the row over student tuition fees by threatening to take legal action against the government on the issue. The CRE has invoked the Race Relations Act and asked the government to undertake a race equality impact assessment of its proposal to allow universities to charge up to £3,000 a year top-up fees from 2006.
(Financial Times)

Scholar Edward Said dies
Edward Said - scholar, literary critic and the most eloquent supporter of the Palestinian cause - died in New York yesterday after a long battle against leukaemia. He was 67.
(Times, Guardian, Independent)

Student hangs himself after exam failure
A student was found hanged at his home after becoming depressed when he could not match his own high academic standards. Joel Davies, 20,  had a brilliant record until the end of the first year of his psychology degree at Liverpool University. He failed two of nine exams and was concerned about what his second year would hold.
(Daily Mail)

Degrees priority for maths staff
More than one in four maths teachers do not have a degree in the subject, official figures show. In 2002, 26 per cent had only an A level - up from 20 per cent in 1996 when the Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing Survey for England was last published. Ministers have blamed a recruitment slump during the 1990s for the decline.
(Financial Times, Times)

Rats hailed as latest cloning breakthrough
Ralph the laboratory rat and his brother are the latest breakthrough in cloning technology. Researchers in Lyon, France, report in Science today that with precise timing and careful use of drugs they have successfully transferred DNA from an adult rat cell into an egg.
(Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Times)

Scientists crack code that makes dogs a breed apart
The genetic code of dogs has been sequenced for the first time, providing scientists with a powerful tool with which to eliminate the inherited diseases that afflict many pedigree breeds. US Researchers from the Institute of Genomic Research and the Centre for the Advancement of Genomics, both based in Rockville, Maryland, have mapped the canine genome using the DNA of a male standard poodle.
(Times)

Other higher education items
How university was turned into a Disney-style adventure (Daily Telegraph) • Letter: Bureaucratic interference will debase our PhD standards (Independent) • Letter: Cambridge test (Independent) • Obituary: John Orrell, theatre historian, died on September 16, aged 68 (Times).

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