Today's news

April 5, 2005

Lecturers may boycott Israeli academics
Israeli academics who refuse to condemn their government's actions in the occupied territories risk a boycott by the UK's leading lecturers' union. The Association of University Teachers' annual council, which begins on April 20 in Eastbourne, will also debate whether to boycott three of Israel's eight universities - Haifa University, Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - over their alleged complicity with the government's policies on the Palestinian territories.
The Guardian

Minister accused of 'sleepwalking' into crisis in university science
A senior MP has accused the higher education minister of "sleepwalking" into the crisis in university science, and has demanded radical solutions. The remarks by Ian Gibson, Labour chairman of the Commons science and technology committee, came as new figures showed a continuing decline in the proportion of undergraduates opting to study physics, chemistry, engineering and technology. The Higher Education Statistics Agency said biology was now the second most popular course, accounting for 9.2 per cent of first degrees in the academic year 2003-4. But other science and technology subjects were failing even to maintain student numbers. The Financial Times

Discipline hopping
The next few years look like a good time for discipline-hopping - at least for biologists who remember their times tables, or mathematicians bored of only dealing with abstractions. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has said it intends to put all the money it can spare from the government's science cash allocations last month into systems biology, the founding discipline where biology meets maths and computing.
The Guardian

Ken woos Chinese
Ken Livingstone is opening offices in Shanghai and Beijing, to “become a focal point for London’s engagement with mainland Chinese businesses”. The offices will also promote London to tourists and encourage Chinese students to study at the capital’s universities. This would be in addition to the work done by the British embassy in promoting the UK in China, the various trade and investment bodies operating there, and the London Stock Exchange’s new office in Shanghai.
The Times

Cash flow not debt causes student stress, scientists told
Day-to-day money worries, not the size of student loans, are leading to increasing rates of depression, anxiety and stress among university students, psychologists were told at the weekend. The British Psychological Society's annual conference at the University of Manchester on Saturday heard Adrian Scott, from the University of Bath, present the results of his survey into student debt and stress. Dr Scott questioned 268 students about the size of their student debt, how manageable that debt felt, and whether or not they had financial problems in their day-to-day living.
The Guardian

Theatre in extension fundraising campaign
Exeter’s Northcott Theatre has begun a campaign to help fund a proposed £3.1 million expansion plan. The theatre on Exeter University campus is planning to raise £1.6 million and hopes a further £1.5 million will come from the Arts Council and other bodies.
The Scotsman

Bill Bryson to be chancellor of Durham
Bill Bryson, author of quirky best-selling travel books and a Short History of Nearly Everything, is to be chancellor of Durham University. He succeeds the actor and raconteur Sir Peter Ustinov as formal head of the university, which is gearing up for its 175th anniversary in 2007. Durham has a taste for celeb chancellors - before Ustinov the post was held for 10 years by the great ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn.
The Guardian

Letter
Regarding the modernisation of the Bodleian Library.
The Daily Telegraph

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