Today's news

November 4, 2004

Degrees may be scrapped for US-style system
Traditional university degree classifications that award students first, second, or third-class honours degrees should be abandoned, according to a report by university leaders. The 200-year-old degree classification system has lost meaning due to the numbers of students now awarded first-class and 2:1 degrees, the Universities UK report found.
Times Higher, Independent, Guardian, Daily Mail

British universities score well in first world ranking
Oxford and Cambridge are among the world's top ten universities, according to a new global ranking published today. They were fifth and sixth respectively in the league table of the world's 200 best universities produced by The Times Higher Education Supplement . Full details in this week's edition, available at newsstands today and online from tomorrow.
Times Higher

English tutorials to be cut by half at Oxford
Oxford tutorials - the foundation of the university's almost unique system of one-to-one teaching - are to be cut by half for undergraduates studying English, dons decided yesterday. The change is expected to be introduced in 2006, coinciding with a rise in tuition fees to £3,000 a year. Terry Hoad, Oxford's director of undergraduate studies in English, said that tutors were exhausted and their "intolerable" teaching burden had to be reduced.
Times Higher, Daily Telegraph

£5m science centre gets green light
A £5 million science centre to be used as a permanent base for the Edinburgh International Science Festival has been granted planning permission by the city council. The decision marks the first step of an operation to expand the activities of the festival and to encourage student interest in science.

Central Scottish colleges moot merger
A study has been launched that could pave the way for the merger of two colleges in central Scotland. Consultants have been called in by officials at Clackmannan College and its counterpart in Falkirk to look at ways in which they can work more closely together in the Forth Valley area.

Harmony in Europe?
A report on why British academics are worried about a European agreement to harmonise degree systems and whether the Bologna Accord will put our lucrative one-year masters in jeopardy.

Melting ice breaks polar food chain
Whales, seals, penguins and albatrosses are under threat from a catastrophic decline of krill in the Southern Ocean, British scientists have found. The decline appears to have been caused by the loss of sea-ice around the frozen continent is believed to be an effect of global warming.The results of the research, led by the British Antarctic Survey, are published today in the journal Nature .
Times, Guardian

Scientists clone first insect
Canadian researchers from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, have succeeded in cloning fruitflies. The identical flies are the first insects ever cloned.
Daily Telegraph

Secret to Roman lady's light skin
Archaeologists said that a creamy substance found 18 months ago in a tin canister in Southwark, London, complete with fingermarks from the woman who scooped it up, was a foundation cream used to lighten the complexion. Tests on the cream, which are published today in the journal Nature, were led by Richard Evershed, professor of biogeochemistry in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol.
Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent

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