Today's news

November 15, 2005

University of London under fire
The University of London should be planning its 170th birthday celebrations next year. Instead, it is facing the toughest months of its life, under fire from its constituent colleges and battling to justify its existence to the university watchdog. The university's vice-chancellor, Sir Graeme Davies, is currently in talks with the Quality Assurance Agency, which has initially refused to give the university a vote of broad confidence. Anything less would be devastating to the university's international reputation and could fire moves by some of the 20 colleges that make up its federal structure to jump ship.
The Guardian

Future face of Scots education?
Chinese students could soon be studying in their own country for qualifications from Scottish universities if a new initiative takes off. Nicol Stephen, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister and Enterprise Minister, announced on a visit to China yesterday that he was talking to officials from Fudan University in Shanghai about setting up a Scottish branch campus. Lecturers at Fudan, one of China’s leading universities, would be trained to provide similar courses to those available at, for example, Edinburgh or Glasgow University and Fudan students would be able to use interactive resources to link up for courses available to students in Scotland.
The Times, The Scotsman

Bradford has England's first ecoversity
Environmental awareness in universities used to mean keeping a box for recycled paper by the photocopier, or buying energy-efficient light bulbs for the common room. But the University of Bradford is upping the ante by becoming England's only "ecoversity" this week. It will be promoting sustainability in everything from course content to student housing. It all began a few years ago, says Jaime Sullivan, the university's environment manager, when Bradford was considering how to develop its drab estate. "We were going through this internal debate of how to make Bradford unique. Environmental issues were actually students' chief complaint to the university, and sustainability was rising up the education agenda anyway."
The Guardian

Plymouth to close Exmouth campus
Plymouth University students and local residents have reacted angrily to the announcement that its Exmouth campus is to close. The university announced late on Friday that it is planning to relocate the faculty of education in Exmouth to its main campus 50 miles away in Plymouth in a bid to save money and integrate the faculty into the rest of the university. Student leaders said students from the campus, known as Rolle after the college that used to occupy the site, were heartbroken and local councillors warned that the decision would be costly for the local economy.
The Guardian

Top marks for university's city buildings
Eight of Edinburgh University's post-war buildings are set to be given listed status by Historic Scotland. The conservation group has identified the buildings, all built in the 1950s and 1960s, as requiring the preservation orders. The university's library in George Square, designed by Sir Basil Spence, is proposed for the highest level category A listing.
The Scotsman

Students rip into dropout label
Could it be time for the term “dropout” to be given a makeover? Research carried out for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that university students who leave before finishing their course are stigmatised by the label, particularly if they are young, male and working class. The research team from Exeter University consulted stakeholders from education, employment and community organisations as well as current and former students, and concluded that the dropout factor had a “knock-on effect” on the local community, spreading disillusionment to networks of families and friends.
The Times

Space station research faces axe as Nasa cuts $344m to save Moon and Mars quest
The most expensive science experiment in the history of the world is nearing collapse after its main sponsor, Nasa, announced plans to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from its budget. The space agency plans to save $344 million (£198 million) next year by halting research aboard the International Space Station into the effects of space radiation on humans, the design of life support systems, and advanced environmental controls.
The Guardian

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