Today's news

November 28, 2006

Oxford to resume university governance debate
Oxford dons are to reassemble today in the 17th-century Sheldonian theatre for the second round of a highly charged debate on how the ancient university is to be run. The vice-chancellor, John Hood, has put his position on the line by proposing to reform the governance of the university, ending eight centuries of academic self-rule in favour of a council with a majority of outside members. This would bring Oxford into line with all other British universities except Cambridge - which expects to be next in line for reform if today's vote by congregation, the "dons' parliament", goes in Dr Hood's favour.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

'Mickey Mouse' courses have come of age, says university body
They have been derided as Mickey Mouse degrees, with little academic merit. But qualifications such as surf science and technology are riding the crest of the economic wave, according to Universities UK. Degrees in computer games technology, golf management, brewing and distilling, and cosmetic science are among those flourishing, says the group that represents Britain's universities, in a report aimed at proving how closely higher education is working with employers to provide vocational skills. Drummond Bone, president of Universities UK, said courses once described as "Mickey Mouse" were now the "mouse that roared.”
The Guardian, The Financial Times

Universities follow Ivy League by hiring investment advisers
Elite universities are adopting strategies from America’s Ivy League institutions by hiring in-house investment committees to raise cash and reduce their dependence on state funding. Cambridge took the lead yesterday by appointing a chief investment officer, Nick Cavalla, who will join from the Man Group, the world’s biggest listed hedge fund company. Oxford said that it was likely to follow suit within ten months with its own American-style investment offices. The British universities have been stung into action by the impressive investment returns achieved by US universities such as Yale and Harvard, both of which have seen the value of their endowments grow by at least 16 per cent a year in the past ten years, more than double the returns at Oxford and Cambridge.
The Times

King's principal to become UUK president
Universities UK, the group representing vice-chancellors, announced today that its next president will be Rick Trainor, principal of King's College London. Professor Trainor will succeed Drummond Bone in August next year and will hold the post of president for the two academic years. The professor said: "I am very much looking forward to taking up the presidency next year. It will be an exciting and challenging time for higher education, and I know Universities UK will have a key role to play in influencing and shaping any changes to come."
The Guardian

Universities get £1m to boost business links
Universities in the Scottish capital have received more than £1 million to strengthen links with businesses. Edinburgh University has been awarded £474,964 by the Scottish Executive to help companies working in the environmental sector develop new and better products. Napier University and Queen Margaret University College have joined forces on another initiative which has received £555,065 in funding. They will create an internal commercialisation facility which will give local businesses better access to the expertise in technology and services each institution has to offer. The funding is part of a £1.5 million package, with £500,000 going to universities elsewhere in Scotland.
The Scotsman

Supermarket launches graduate scheme to whet foodie appetite
It sounds like the dream postgraduate gap year for "foodie" students everywhere. The supermarket Sainsbury's has launched a scheme called Taste the World, which will fund food science graduates to travel the world for up to 12 months visiting suppliers of their choice, along their chosen routes of travel. The bid by Sainsbury's to entice the best graduates to the food science industry is an attempt to reverse the sharp decline in recent years in numbers of students going on to become food experts.
The Guardian

Student killed on railway tracks by de-icing train
A student has been killed by a train which was de-icing railway tracks on the outskirts of Glasgow. The body of Callum Radlow, a first-year law student at Strathclyde University, was found early last Friday on the Glasgow to Neilston line at Whitecraigs. British Transport Police said the 17-year-old had been struck by a Sandite train, which spreads anti-freezing material on to tracks. It is not known how fast the train was travelling at the time of the incident, which police say they are treating as a "tragic accident". A family friend said it could only be "pure speculation" how he came to found on the railway line at 5:30am.
The Scotsman

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