Today's news

November 2, 2006

Cambridge anxiously views rival's feud on reform
The bitter feud between dons at Oxford about reforms to the university's management has spread to Cambridge amid fears the university will be left isolated if plans to bring outside business people on to Oxford's executive body are agreed by academics at a vote later this month. A public letter to be published later this week from a group of 40 Cambridge academics will warn that the two universities' status as "self-governing institutions" is at stake and that if Oxford supports the measure its famous rival will have to follow suit. The distinguished group of dons includes a former master of Emmanuel college and Christopher Forsyth, a professor of international law and former chairman of the Cambridge's board of scrutiny.
The Financial Times

€200m gift to German university spurs debate
Swiss millionaire Klaus Jacobs broke all records in Germany for corporate philanthropy yesterday, donating €200 million (£134 million) to a private university, sparking in the process a debate on whether German business leaders were doing enough to support the country's top universities. Mr Jacobs, the chairman of the board of directors of Adecco, the world's largest temporary employment group, said his donation, to the International University Bremen, stood as an appeal to other wealthy business figures to be more generous. "Germany has had 50 years of peace, the country is rich and there is no reason why German companies do not do more for education and science - it happens in many other countries," citing Britain and the US as positive examples.
The Financial Times

Rammell denies university science crisis
The higher education minister, Bill Rammell, has denied that Britain faces a science crisis and stressed he would not meddle in universities' decisions to close science departments. Mr Rammell told MPs at a Westminster Hall debate this week that contrary to popular belief, there was not a crisis in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects in higher education in the UK. Responding to questions about the planned closure of the physics department at the University of Reading, Mr Rammell insisted that it was not government's place to dictate what subjects were taught at individual universities.
The Guardian

The cost of change in higher education
A study out this week will strike a chord with many academics, confirming them in their despair about changes in higher education. Based on a survey of 300 academics, it says higher education is selling its soul to the new gods of managerialism and regulation - and to the drive to get bums on seats in the lecture theatres. Edited by Ian McNay, emeritus professor at Greenwich University, and Jennifer Bone, former pro vice-chancellor at the University of the West of England, the study shows that almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of academics think that higher education has lost its role as the conscience and critic of society.
The Independent, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Oct )

Two-thirds of academics want to quit, poll shows
Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of UK academics have considered quitting Britain to work overseas or leaving academia altogether for a better job in the private sector, new research reveals. The biggest gripe among lecturers is bureaucracy, with one in three respondents saying they spent at least 16 hours a week on paperwork, the research by the University and College Union shows. The survey of more than 1,000 lecturers in UK universities also revealed that 47 per cent have suffered ill-health because of their job and 55 per cent would not recommend a career in higher education to their children.
The Guardian, (Nov 2)

Give colleges degree-awarding powers, university chief urges
Further education colleges should be given the power to award their own vocational degrees and universities need to adapt to the emergence of new specialised diplomas, a university chief will tell a conference today. David Melville, the vice-chancellor of the University of Kent and chairman of the Universities Vocational Awards Council, will call for radical changes to vocational progression in higher education at a conference in London. In an address to the conference, Professor Melville will also highlight the challenges that HE faces, including overcoming what he describes as the HE-FE "divide", qualifications frameworks, inspection regimes and funding structures and priorities.
The Guardian

Nottingham constructs green research house
The University of Nottingham is aiming to cut its greenhouse gas emissions with the construction of an experimental research house, which the university also hopes will act as a future guide for environmentally friendly home development. Construction has already begun on the Stoneguard C60 research house, which has been designed by staff from the school of the built environment as a guide for architects and builders. The university says the house will help meet the target set by the government of reducing carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 in its energy white paper of 2003.
The Guardian

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