Today's news

April 25, 2006

Sussex prepares for crunch meeting on chemistry
A rescue plan for the embattled chemistry department at the University of Sussex will go before an emergency academic meeting next month where its fate will be decided. The university has scheduled an extraordinary council meeting for May 15 when a review of the department will go to members for consideration. The council was not due to meet until the end of the summer term in June. The university senate, the ruling body on academic matters, ordered the review after the university's vice-chancellor, Alasdair Smith, was last month called to give evidence before an emergency meeting of the Commons science and technology select committee examining the planned closure.
The Guardian

Donations drive paying off for universities
The endowment and investment income of British universities has jumped by almost 24 per cent as institutions put more resources into targeting benefactors and alumni. Figures published today by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show a £57 million increase to £299 million for the UK in 2004-05, the latest year for which figures are available. Endowments are a small part of the £18 billion total income for higher education institutions that year, but the figures show that universities are taking income-raising more seriously, establishing development offices and wooing potential donors.
The Guardian, The Financial Times

College lecturers call off strike
The lecturers' union, Natfhe, has called off its planned two-day strike next week, which could have seen further education colleges closed for most of the week. Natfhe voted not to strike on May 2 and 3 following a meeting with their employers, the Association of Colleges, last week. The lecturers' union warned colleges could be closed next week if the planned Unison action on pensions went ahead. A statement from Natfhe said: "At that meeting, the employers indicated they had completed further consultation with colleges and both sides agreed that they had reached sufficient common ground to enable Natfhe to suspend its action in anticipation of an improved offer at negotiations on May 9."
The Guardian

US academics see pay rates falling behind inflation
Academic salaries at US colleges and universities failed to keep pace with inflation for the second consecutive year, widening the pay gap between teaching and other professions, according to a report released yesterday. The annual survey by the American Association of University Professors found average faculty salaries rose 3.1 per cent this academic year, but when adjusted for inflation which has hovered in the range of 3.5 per cent salaries have fallen.
The Financial Times, The Guardian

Cambridge doctor 'stabbed husband's lover 17 times'
A retired doctor, fuelled by decades of pent-up jealousy, attacked her husband's former lover with a kitchen knife after arranging to meet in her Cambridge University rooms, a court heard today. "Stab, stab, stab and stab again. Slash and stab. Neck, face, head, chest and back," said Karim Khalil, QC, prosecuting, describing the attack by Dr Alethea Foster on Julie Simpson at Lucy Cavendish College. Ms Simpson, 44, suffered 17 separate knife wounds and was blinded in one eye. In chilling testimony to Cambridge Crown Court today, she described how the repeated knife blows from her "gleeful" assailant felt like punches.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

Sigma links with Gordon's University
Sigma Technology, the investment management and corporate advisory group, has signed a partnership agreement with Robert Gordon's University to help commercialise technologies being developed by the Aberdeen-based institution. Sigma, based in Edinburgh, said it intended to establish and manage a fund for investment in companies spun out from the university. Sigma will receive equity in the spin-out companies and a share of licensing income.
The Financial Times

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