Today's news

May 4, 2004


Bribery scam produces Southern discomfort
Lecturers at Southern University, Louisiana, US, have uncovered a bribery scam that went unchecked for up to nine years where students allegedly handed over hundreds of dollars to an employee in the registrar's office to award them higher grades and in some cases to fake entire diplomas. The "going rates" were understood to be around $200 (£105) for a single grade change.  A fake official transcript of all undergraduate courses attended and grades awarded could be purchased for a bribe of $1,800 (£840).
( Guardian )

Chinese professor attacks state censors
Beijing University professor of journalism Jiao Guobiao has launched an attack on the state propaganda department saying it uses Nazi tactics and has been covering up famines, corruption and disease for more than 50 years. His essay has predictably been banned in the mainstream media but can be found on the internet, where it has become a focus of the disappointment felt by many who had hoped the new leadership of President Hu Jintao and the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, would loosen the gag on free speech.
( Guardian )

Science crusade is tilt at creative industries
The government's crusade to promote British science is endangering support for the creative industries, according to Sir Michael Bichard, who will launch the University of the Arts London tonight at Tate Modern.
( Financial Times )

OU v-c lauds internationalism
Brenda Gourley writes that internationalism brings opportunity but opens up a whole new world.
( Independent )

Foreign campus is boost for funding
The University of Nottingham's £40 million project in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China, is another sign that universities are finding new ways to balance their books. Douglas Tallack, a Nottingham pro-vice chancellor, said yesterday that the future of higher education lay in internationalisation and in particular the export of the UK’s well-regarded university "brands".
( Times )

What's' the point of the funding council?
The inhibitive role of the Higher Education Funding Council is considered in the light of recent chemistry department closures which indicate that universities are baling out of expensive subjects because they cannot subsidise them by increasing overall numbers beyond tight funding council limits in other areas.
( Guardian )

Medieval sea chart in line with current thinking
Researchers from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Rhode Island, US, report in the journal Oceanography that a satellite image of the north-east Atlantic has revealed the accuracy of the 16th-century Carta Marina - excepting its sea monsters of course.
( Daily Telegraph, first published in The Times Higher , April 30)

Malcolm Grant profiled
Interview with the man drafted in to repair University College London after a decade of unrest.
( Guardian )

Museum staff display antiquated earnings
An independent survey published today by the Museums Association reveals that museum and gallery staff earn significantly less than all equivalent professions - such as librarians, university lecturers, journalists - and many earn less in real terms than they did 15 years ago. At least two of the UK's leading museum directors, both from working-class backgrounds, openly admit they would not have been able to work in museums with the training and salary equation of today.
( Guardian )

Research students can be good for business
The Open University is teaming postgraduate research students with industry as part of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, an initiative part-funded by government that gives the students practical study opportunities, enables the university to put its name to valued research and potentially boosts a company's profits.
( Independent )

Bad behaviour is all in the genes
From a study of twins, researchers from the University of Wales College of Medicine conclude in Archives of General Psychiatry that there is an underlying personality type, prone to bad behaviour in childhood and adolescence, that is wholly genetic in origin. But environmental influences determine more precise measures of behaviour.
( Times )

Getting to grips with jet lag
Scientists from the University of Washington have found that a mammal's brain contains two timekeeping centres, one running on cues such as sunrise, the other sticking strictly to the clock. The research, published in the journal Current Biology , might some day lead to a cure for jet lag.
( Times )

Higher education items from the bank holiday weekend
- The Katz school at the University of Pittsburgh, US, is to open a fourth campus in Manchester. ( Financial Times , May 3)
- Online science journals are 30 per cent cheaper. ( Observer , May 2)
- Lecturers have voted to accept a pay deal, ending nine months of dispute. ( Guardian , May 1)
- Universities Scotland has condemned proposals to alter the funding structure for higher and further education in Scotland. ( Financial Times , May 1)

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