Higher education

Academia looks like a pint of Guinness to me – diverse below, but not at the top | Education

A lot of my work examines counterculture, race, ethnicity and religion – and challenges some western paradigms. In my early days I had to work hard to convince research directors of the value in supporting such research aims, and academic peers of the need to expand our subject discipline and research approaches. It’s tough, because I, along with other BAME academics, feel that we are fighting implicit bias on a number of levels. Firstly, how you look, linked to a…

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How crafts are fusing tradition with innovation | Education

Jayne Childs wants to change the way we think about lace. “I’m challenging the perception of lace as just something we use for curtains,” she says. “Lace doesn’t have to be fusty and dusty. It can be something we wear in the 21st century – something that’s embedded in a tradition, but also looking forward. Even if people don’t really necessarily understand what that tradition it is, they like to tap into that story.” The craft economy generates almost £3.4bn…

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Climate emergency: why education and activism go hand in hand | Education

“I turned down a six-figure training contract to focus on climate issues,” says law graduate Harry Holmes, 21, a King’s College London master’s student in environment, politics and globalisation. Worried that many years of studying environmental law or a PhD would take him well into what he calls “the climate decade”, he opted for a one-year course that allows him to continue his environmental activism while broadening his understanding of climate breakdown. He volunteers for UK Youth Climate Coalition, engaging…

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Black female professors must deal with bullying to win promotion, report finds | Education

Black female professors have to overcome bullying, stereotyping and institutional neglect in order to win promotion, according to a damning new report of their experiences working at British universities. In interviews with 20 of the total 25 black female professors working in UK universities, Nicola Rollock, the report’s author, said that their experiences made for depressing reading. “What they are saying is that their entire careers have been characterised by abuse and exclusion, and that their race has been the…

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University Awards 2020: entries now open | Education

We’re celebrating the eighth year of the Guardian University Awards in 2020. The team are looking forward to reading about all the inspirational, ground-breaking projects that UK universities have worked on this year. We’re excited to share the very best of these projects with the sector and prospective students at our awards ceremony next spring. Click here to enter now Winning a Guardian award highlights a university’s achievements to the 23 million readers on the website every month. Of those…

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Top universities ‘not being chosen by low-income students’ | Education

Poorer students with good A-level grades are significantly more likely to opt for less prestigious universities than those with similar results from more advantaged backgrounds. This is the standout finding from major research that throws into question how effective higher education is in equalising opportunities. Successive governments have spent heavily to encourage disadvantaged students to go to university. The Office for Students in England recently set ambitious targets for wider access. But a team at the UCL Institute of Education…

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Oxford don suspended over alleged artefact theft could still gain from sale | Education

An Oxford academic suspected of involvement in the alleged theft of ancient Gospel manuscripts stands to gain from a government appeal to purchase an important artefact for the nation. Dr Dirk Obbink, associate professor in papyrology and Greek at Christ Church, is the owner of the artefact – a unique book dating from around 1414. The arts minister, Helen Whateley, has announced a temporary export bar on the precious Myrowr of Recluses, or “Mirror of Recluses”, a Middle-English volume of…

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‘There’s a reason for doing something so difficult’: what to expect from a PhD | Education

A PhD is not just three years of intense study, but something that will affect your whole life. “It is a long project that is very different to any academic work you’ll have done before,” says Alicia Peña Bizama, Life Tools programme manager at the University of Reading. Psychological problems aren’t uncommon. The risks of developing common psychiatric disorders is very high, so it’s no surprise that evasion rates are also high. Above all, says NUS postgraduate representative David Evans,…

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Minister criticises lack of senior black UK academics | Education

The universities minister has criticised UK higher education institutions for their failure to recruit and promote black and minority ethnic academics, after figures showed that no black staff were employed at the most senior levels. Chris Skidmore, higher education minister for England, said it was unacceptable that the number of black academics in the most senior leadership roles had fallen from an estimated five in 2017-18 to possibly zero in the last academic year. According to figures published by the…

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Five things you should know about AI and learning – Education Article

The robots are coming – or have likely already arrived – to a school or university near you. Should you be worried? It’s easy to understand why some feel that applying AI to learning will dehumanize education. But the algorithms and models that drive these technologies form the basis of an essentially human endeavor. AI can provide teachers and learners with tools so they can see not only what is being learned, but also how it is being learned. It…

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UK universities issue health warnings over travel to China | Education

UK universities with links to China have issued warnings to staff and students travelling to and from areas affected by the coronavirus, urging anyone with symptoms to seek medical advice. With concern growing about the spread of the virus, universities in the UK are keeping a check on staff who have recently returned from Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, as well as Chinese students who come from affected areas, many of whom will be concerned about…

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We refuse to act as external examiners until universities deal with staffing issues | Letter | Education

The scourge of insecure contracts (Thousands of UK academics ‘treated as second-class citizens’, 20 January) is sadly just one of the staffing issues that universities must urgently commit to dealing with. We write as senior academics to say we will be resigning as external examiners, and/or refusing to take on new examining contracts, for courses at universities and colleges across the UK, and to urge colleagues to join us. We are refusing to act as external examiners because although we…

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Senior UK academics protest over pay and working conditions | Education

Senior academics are refusing to act as external examiners – a vital part of higher education assessments – in protest at pay and working conditions in UK universities, and are urging colleagues to join them, potentially disrupting this year’s results for students. British universities rely on external examiners to independently validate the results of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, meaning that mass resignations would cause headaches for universities in the setting and marking of exams. A letter to the Guardian signed…

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‘People can’t learn about treatments they need’: why open access to medical research matters | Education

In December 2002, a Belfast teenager made world headlines after his father, Don Simms, won him the legal right to access an experimental drug. Jonathan Simms had been diagnosed with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a cruel and fatal neurodegenerative condition that gives sufferers an average of one year to live. After receiving the drug pentosan polysulfate, Jonathan lived for another 10 years, defying all medical expectations. The court ruling made medical history: until that point the drug had only ever…

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Thousands of UK academics ‘treated as second-class citizens’ | Education

Thousands of academic staff at British universities are being treated as second-class citizens on precarious contracts, says a report highlighting the “alarming rise of mass casualised labour” in higher education. The report by the University and College Union claims institutions have created a pool of low-paid staff to teach undergraduates, conduct research and work in libraries, despite having advanced postgraduate or other academic qualifications. It calls on the Office for Students, the higher education regulator in England, to require each…

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Research demonstrates how the use of bad language can alter our behaviour | Education

I have a friend who can’t say “fuck”. She never has been able to and shakes her head helplessly when teased and dared to give it a go. She’s not a prude. But she has such a strong reaction to the word that she cannot bring herself to utter it. Using the f-word in the first sentence of this article wasn’t done for gratuitous effect. But how did you react to reading it? Would it have been more agreeable to…

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