Today's news

November 23, 2006

Nottingham named university of the year
Nottingham University has received a First for its efforts to create a genuinely international institution. It was named higher education institution of the year by The Times Higher Education Supplement . Nottingham was rewarded after its pioneering work in creating a global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia opening in the past twelve months. The new sites are now home to 4,000 students, and exchange programmes mean staff and students can move easily between the campuses. "The campus in Nottingham is fantastic and the links with Malaysia now means we have the chance go on an exchange there, one of my friends just got back and he loved it," said Tom Strange, a fourth year medical student.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Nov 24)

Bishops warn students over Christian society bans
Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops warned student unions last night that they would be acting illegally if they banned Christian societies from campuses. They claimed Christian students were facing "considerable opposition and discrimination" at universities. The move followed decisions by student guilds and associations at three universities, Exeter, Birmingham and Edinburgh, to suspend Christian groups from membership or use of premises on the grounds that their constitutions or meetings are exclusionary and discriminate against non-Christians and particularly gay people. Other university unions, including Heriot-Watt University and some London medical schools, are said to have taken similar action.
The Guardian

Anger over plans to give colleges degree-awarding powers
Universities fear their future could be at risk because of government plans to let further education colleges offer their own "cut-price" degrees. The organisation representing many former polytechnics and higher education colleges is outraged that proposed legislation was introduced to the House of Lords this week without warning. The CMU group of universities, which has about 30 members in England, claims that the changes could rob universities of vital funds and make it difficult to harmonise standards between what is expected by employer-led courses in the further education colleges and the university-led ones.
The Guardian

Health education 'under threat' from NHS cash raids
Universities have warned that health education is under threat if training budgets continue to be redirected to prop up the cash-strapped NHS. Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said more evidence that strategic health authorities were continuing to "raid education and training budgets is alarming". Responding to evidence presented to the House of Commons health select committee yesterday on NHS deficits, the chairwoman of UUK's health and social care policy committee, Janet Finch, said: "Stripping these budgets now to reduce the NHS deficit will have a detrimental effect on healthcare provision, as well as on university education for health care professionals."
The Guardian

University 'dragons' fired up for £1m prize
Edinburgh University will take part in a Dragon's Den -style contest today to try to secure funding for business ventures. A team from the city will go head-to-head with four other universities in the Knowledge Transfer Challenge, with almost £1 million prize money at stake. The team, which has produced three spin-off companies, will try to woo judges in London by focusing on innovations in the field of electronics. But it will suggest using the award money to fund new projects in their early stages to make sure they have the best chance of getting off the ground.
The Scotsman

University's top honour for McKillop
Sir Tom McKillop, chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland and former chief executive of AstraZeneca, has been honoured by the University of Paisley. McKillop, a member of the Society of Drug Research, a trustee of the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh, and a former president of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries, is to receive an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contribution to Scottish society.
The Scotsman

Scientist in call to downgrade ecstasy and LSD
A leading scientist who advises the Government on its drugs strategy yesterday called for ecstasy and LSD to be downgraded. Professor David Nutt, who chairs the technical committee of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said the two substances should go from Class A to Class B. The lower category attracts reduced penalties for possession and trafficking. In evidence to the Commons science and technology committee, Professor Nutt said it was an anomaly for these two drugs to sit alongside crack cocaine and heroin. "I think MDA [a mind-altering drug similar to ecstasy], LSD and ecstasy probably shouldn't be Class A. Barbiturates might be worth moving up to Class A."
The Daily Telegraph

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