Today's news

July 10, 2006

Women denied top jobs by glass ceiling in universities
Women are being denied access to the most senior university jobs despite a continuing increase in the numbers of female staff in higher education, according to research published today. The "glass ceiling" that has been blamed for curtailing the career aspirations of women in the public and private sectors appears to be worsening in Scotland's universities. The report, published by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, shows that while 40 per cent of academic staff are female, women account for only 20 per cent of senior lecturers and just 14 per cent of professors. The research also shows that although more women than ever are working in Scotland's universities, the gender balance has actually got worse over the past decade.
The Scotsman

Academic rocks corporate America by revealing boardroom reward ploys
The boardroom titans of Silicon Valley and Wall Street have met their match in a Norwegian-born finance lecturer from a hitherto obscure business school in America's midwestern cornbelt. Erik Lie, a professor at the Henry B Tippie College of Business in Iowa City, is credited with triggering a scandal over share options that has so far snared more than 60 companies - including Apple, Microsoft and the world's largest DIY retailer, Home Depot. The companies are facing scrutiny - in some cases, a formal regulatory investigation - over the way they have priced share options for their executives. They are accused of using unorthodox tactics to ensure the maximum possible financial gain for boardroom bosses.
The Guardian

Future earnings 'directly affected by school'
Independent school pupils are more likely to gain higher qualifications - and salaries - than their state school contemporaries, according to a new report. The report, from the Institute of Education at the University of London, released today, shows that pupils' future earnings are directly affected by where they went to school. Research conducted over a 23-year period from 1982 followed nearly 300 pupils of similar academic standards from their schools to the workplace as well as examining the progress made by students on the controversial assisted places scheme.
The Guardian

Coffee clue could help stop memory loss
A newly discovered effect of coffee could lead to ways of preventing memory loss in old age. Scientists discovered that the caffeine present in strong coffee alters the brain's electrical activity. By boosting gamma rhythms, produced by the synchronised firing of nerve cells 40 times a second, it aids memory and learning. Martin Vreugdenhil, from the University of Birmingham, whose team made the discovery, said: "Some people can't get started without a cup of coffee; others need a shot of Red Bull to keep going. Caffeine is by far the most widely used psychoactive drug."
The Daily Telegraph

Mission to save our frogs will cost £200m, say scientists
Experts are calling for a £200 million rescue mission to save frogs and other amphibians from extinction. Fifty of the world's leading researchers of amphibians appeal today in the journal Science for funding to establish the Amphibian Survival Alliance to help to reduce and prevent decline and extinction. Of the 5,743 known species of amphibians, 32.5 per cent are threatened, and between nine and 122 have become extinct since 1980. It is time, the scientists say, for a more organised and effective approach to address the various diseases, habitat loss, invading species and other causes of this decline.
The Daily Telegraph

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday


  • The University of Sussex vice-chancellor, Alasdair Smith, will replace Geoffrey Copland as chairman of the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association. The Guardian
  • St Andrews University fined £5,000 after electrical test explosion. The Scotsman
  • Television newsreader Moira Stuart is set to be awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh University. The Scotsman

Sunday

  • Research suggests that good-looking students do better in exams and thus probably in later life than the plain or downright ugly. The Sunday Times

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