Today's news

April 19, 2005

Israeli college boycott debated
Leading figures working in higher education have set out their opposition to a proposed boycott of Israeli universities in protest at the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. In today's Guardian, academics put their name to letters expressing concern at plans to boycott three of Israel's eight universities because of their alleged complicity with government policies towards the territories. The Association of University Lecturers is to vote on Friday on the proposal when it will also discuss plans to ostracise Israeli academics who refuse to condemn their government's actions.
The Guardian, The Independent

Plagiarism blots copybook
A senior lecturer has become the latest British academic to be disciplined for plagiarism. Leeds University says that one of its lecturers has "not denied" lifting sections of a paper written by a Harvard academic. In the US scholars are increasingly picking up on plagiarism, and it seems likely that this vigilance will spread internationally. Professor Steve Livingston, the academic whose paper was partly used by the Leeds University lecturer, thinks that plagiarism should be taken seriously.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (April 15)

Oxford topples Cambridge from top spot
Oxford has replaced Cambridge as the UK's best university, according to the Guardian's annual guide. The university league table, which gives the highest weightings to entry qualifications and staff-student ratios, is dominated by Oxbridge, with London-based institutions such as Imperial College, the School of Oriental and African Studies and the London School of Economics close behind.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

London dominates university league
London colleges take five of the top 10 places in the latest university league table. In third place is London's Imperial College, followed by the School of Oriental and African Studies, London School of Economics, King's College London and University College London. Queen Mary and City University is also in the top 20. The table takes into account teaching quality, staff-student ratios and graduate job prospects. But results cannot be strictly compared year on year as teaching quality has been assessed in a different manner. For the first time the survey also offers information on financial matters such as bursaries and scholarships to help students once top-up fees are introduced next year.
The Evening Standard

Return power to schools, urge academics
The next prime minister must reverse two decades of ever-increasing centralisation in education policy and return the curriculum to schools, a group of leading academics argue today. The New Vision Group, a collection of mostly left-leaning professors and lecturers, today publishes a new book, Letters to the Prime Minister , which reflects much of the disquiet and outright hostility towards Labour policy from education experts. While not all the writers share the same views, common themes include trenchant criticism of the government for setting up new privately-owned, state-funded academies, disavowing comprehensive schools, introducing top-up fees and failing to make greater strides in widening access to universities.
The Guardian

Professor challenges Adams for his seat
An academic and human rights campaigner threw his hat into the ring today for the battle for Gerry Adams’ Westminster seat. Professor Liam Kennedy, who challenged the Sinn Fein president in 1997, will stand in West Belfast with the backing of some of the relatives of the victims of the 1998 Omagh bomb and other families who have been bereaved by IRA and loyalist violence. A source close to the Queen’s University Belfast economic history professor said: “Liam has a strong track record on campaigning for human rights, particularly against brutal paramilitary beatings and shootings”.
The Scotsman

Think it through before you go for the gap
While gap years are so common these days that neither universities nor future employers have any problem with them, it's still best to be able to demonstrate that you plan to do something worthwhile with your time. Watching every televised sporting event for an entire year, by the way, is not what is meant by worthwhile.
The Guardian

Letter
Regarding the falling demand in subjects such as engineering and chemistry, which has, in some cases, made it difficult to keep departments open.
The Financial Times

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