Today's news

September 16, 2004

Under-40s bemoan spoon-fed students
Today's students need much more spoon-feeding than previous generations of undergraduates, the first-ever survey of the country's young academics, conducted for The Times Higher , has found. Almost four in five academics aged under 40 say that students expect far more help than they did when they were students, according to the survey of more than 300 lecturers. This view was held across all disciplines, with little variation according to age or seniority.
Times Higher

Clarke plans to support 'unpopular' degree subjects
Charles Clarke is drawing up plans to stop universities closing departments that teach subjects of national and regional importance. The Education Secretary is alarmed by the demise of subjects such as chemistry as students choose trendier options - forensic science, for example - and by the recent spate of closures announced for small departments such as East Asian Studies at Durham University. Mr Clarke told university vice-chancellors at their annual conference in Oxford yesterday that they had a responsibility not to their students but to wider society. Each member of the Cabinet has been asked to identify the area of study they believe should be preserved and ways of supporting them will be discussed with the body that distributes government grant to higher education.
Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Daily Mail  - Read the full story in this week's Times Higher : Clarke: think national

Schwartz has got it right
Leading article: Steven Schwartz's long-awaited report on university admissions seeks to introduce some much-needed change to the current system. No other country has been able to understand why we operate such an arcane system. Experts have been advocating reform for years, but it has taken the American-born vice-chancellor of Brunel University (who has lived in Australia most of his adult life) to advocate a new system based on actual A-level grades.

Class of 2004 reveals best employers
Banks and accounting head the table of Britain's best graduate employers according to this year's Times Top 100 Graduate Employers .

Man-made rainforest baffles scientists
A man-made rainforest that should have taken millennia to evolve has baffled scientists by springing up in just 150 years. The forest on Green Mountain, Ascension Island, in the mid-Atlantic sprung up chaotically from a mixed bag of botanical scrap brought in by the Royal Navy in 1843. And the introduced species have thrived at a rate that has stunned experts and could trigger a rethink of conventional ecological theory, British researchers report in New Scientist magazine today.

Oxbridge made easier
State school pupils are increasingly willing to try for Oxford and Cambridge. A new book, Oxbridge Entrance: the real rules , by Elfi Pallis, sociologist and mother of an Oxford student, shows the way to get in. No one wanted to publish it, so she did it herself last year, and it sold so well that a second, updated version has just come out.

Seven year's hard work for a phoney PhD
The case of Beatrice Harris, who, after seven years of dilligent study, discovered that the doctorate in psychology and criminology she achieved was worthless because the college where she studied was bogus.
Daily Mail

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