Friday, 7 August 2009

HE Scotland's Friday Round-Up (07/08/2009)

Notable stories appearing on the HE Scotland Twitter feed in the last seven days included...

In policy and funding news:
  • The Westminster Committee on Innovation Universities, Science and Skills, chaired by Phil Willis, published report into Students and Universities on Sunday. Explore links to some of the resultant media coverage about degree standards and read about the apparent political mood in favour of reducing UK universities' autonomy in HE Scotland's blog post on the report.
  • The National Student Survey 2009 results were published yesterday. Find out how the Scottish universities participating ranked, how the Scottish sector performed compared to the rest of the UK and read what the UCU and NUS had to say about the results in HE Scotland's special blog post on the results.
  • University applicants received their Highers results this week. The increased demand for places coupled with the best ever results by school leavers led to calls for additional places at Scottish universities from Labour Spokesperson Claire Baker and in The Herald, whilst the UCU called for penalties for universities which over-recruit to be waived. (Surely this was all a bit late - wasn't the time to make such calls back when England announced additional places two weeks ago? - Ed)
  • Meanwhile, the Scottish Government published the Student Loans for Higher Education statistics, but these received scant media attention, despite indicating that 35 per cent of students leaving university in 2007 are currently employed below the £15,000 earnings threshold for repayment.
In student news:
In research news:
  • Journalists found a University of Aberdeen researcher talking their language and, as a consequence, details of his findings about dolphins' communication made a 'splash' in various outlets, including The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and on Channel 4.
  • A University of the West of Scotland psychologist also kept journalists busy with his findings that unprotected sex may have mental health benefits. Unsurprisingly, this news was also pounced on by the media, including pieces in The Independent in and The Telegraph.
  • As if chatty dolphins and unprotected sex weren't good enough, an alcohol story completed the media-friendly research news this week as researchers at the University of Glasgow discovered yet more benefits in drinking red wine. The Express and The Mirror were amongst the many to cover news of the findings.
  • Elsewhere, Andrew Brierley of St Andrews University informed us that climate change would irreversible by 2040 and joint research by the University of Edinburgh and UHI offered hope of high-speed web access in remote areas.

And finally, there was a bit more to go on this week than last when looking for the best sector media release title of the week. HE Scotland liked the following from the University of Dundee :

But this edition's award goes to this from St Andrews:

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