Today's news

September 11, 2006

Senior lecturers suffering morale crisis
Lecturers over the age of 50 are the unhappiest in their university jobs and almost half would quit now if they could, found a University and College Union poll, released today. The UCU-commissioned YouGov poll found that, perhaps not surprisingly, staff over 50 are the most likely to retire, while 43 per cent of staff over 50 would retire immediately if they could. Staff over 50 have the lowest morale, with 39 per cent of them describing their morale as poor or very poor. In the 51-55 age bracket, 41 per cent of staff described morale as poor or very poor, and in the 55-64 age bracket, 37 per cent had low morale.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

Students told: turn up or face expulsion
Thousands of undergraduate students are being forced to sign good behaviour contracts with their universities and warned they could be expelled if they breach regulations. The contracts put the onus on students to attend lectures and tutorials but have been condemned by the National Union of Students. The NUS claims the contracts are "one-sided" and do not spell out what standard of teaching students should expect to get for the £3,000-a-year top-up tuition fees they are being charged. Oxford and Chester universities have introduced the contracts for students this year and legal agreements are already in place at Bristol and Nottingham Trent. The NUS believes it is the start of a disturbing trend that could be adopted by other universities.
The Guardian

Chinese pupils sign up for places at top boarding schools
British independent schools are attracting record numbers of Chinese pupils as China's new elite seek the prestige of a traditional English education. More than a thousand Chinese pupils have entered Britain's leading boarding schools this term, double the number five years ago. Many are the offspring of China's new wealthy entrepreneurial classes, who can comfortably afford £20,000-a-year boarding fees, but there are some from more modest backgrounds. Most of the pupils arrive to do A levels, with the aim of gaining entry to one of Britain's leading universities, where they hope to gain professional qualifications, mainly in the sciences, accountancy, business studies and economics.
The Times

Mandarins shown to cut cancer risk
The humble mandarin is being hailed as the latest "super food" after two Japanese studies found that it may dramatically reduce the chance of getting liver cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A team at the National Institute of Fruit Tree Science studying the health effects of carotenoids - the vitamin A compound that gives mandarins their orange colour - surveyed 1,073 people in the town of Mikkabi, in Shizuoka, who ate a large number of the citrus fruits. They found chemical markers in the population's blood samples that were linked to a lower risk of liver disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and insulin resistance (a condition associated with diabetes).
The Independent, The Scotsman

Helmet-wearing cyclists more likely to be knocked down
Cyclists who wear helmets are more likely to be hit by overtaking vehicles, new research suggests. Drivers get more than 8cm closer to cyclists wearing helmets than they do to bare-headed riders, because they are seen as being more experienced. And female cyclists are given more room on the road than male drivers, according to a survey from Bath University. Traffic psychologist Ian Walker used a bicycle fitted with an ultrasonic distance sensor to record data from more than 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol. He said drivers were twice as likely to get close to his bicycle when he was wearing the helmet.
The Evening Standard

From the weekend's papers:


  • Manchester University targets world league. The Times
  • St Andrews named Scottish University of the Year. The Scotsman


  • Student loans are paid back by only half of graduates. The Express On Sunday
  • Coventry University catches 237 student cheats who trawl the internet. The Guardian

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