A movie about Admissions in HE? Yes please!

But when will it be released in the UK?

There really just aren’t enough HE related movies about. And even fewer which cover professional services rather than academic or student matters (which are, let’s face it, much more likely to be entertaining). So in the university movie desert which we have been through since ‘Starter for Ten’ imagine the excitement on learning about this new film. About admissions! Starring Tina Fey! What’s not to like?

Admissions is just like this. All the time

Inside Higher Ed delivers the background:

It would be easy for people who really know admissions to focus on elements of “Admission,” the film that opened Friday, that aren’t quite right. In the movie — starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd — Princeton University’s admissions office seems woefully behind the times when it comes to technology, with applicant records kept in folders (orange of course). Admission or rejection is accompanied by a dramatic checking of a box (or in one case where an admissions officer is angry at an applicant’s false claim, stamping the rejection twice on the folder). Princeton’s admissions dean (played by Wallace Shawn) is traumatized by a drop from No. 1 to No. 2 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings (when the only rankings indignity real-life Princeton suffers is being tied for the top spot with Harvard University).

Admissions experts have been buzzing about the movie for months, wondering how their profession would be portrayed by Hollywood — and whether the film would add to the hysteria of many high schoolers and their families about the admissions process.

They also get a couple of Admissions experts to assess the truths and fictions of the film and the overall view is surprisingly positive. It’s just unfortunate that there isn’t a UK release date yet. Don’t understand why -there must be literally dozens of people as keen as me to see it.

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The Imperfect University: Free Information?

Freedom of Information costs. But does anyone really benefit?

TIU

“You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it.”

These are the words Tony Blair addresses to himself in his memoirs while reflecting on his government’s introduction of the Freedom of Information Act as noted in this BBC report.

Last year Times Higher Education ran a story suggesting that the average cost of FoI compliance equals £121 per request:

A study into the costs of answering Freedom of Information enquiries suggests that less than £10 million was spent across the sector last year.

When the House of Commons Justice Committee called for evidence on the effectiveness of the FoI Act, 23 universities submitted evidence, of which 18 complained about the cost burden, among other concerns.

But Jisc, the UK’s expert body on information and digital technology in higher education, tracked 36 requests in seven institutions and found that the average cost, including staff time, of answering an FoI request was £121.

According to Universities UK, higher education institutions received on average 10.1 requests a month in 2011. This equates to an average annual cost of £14,665, which across the sector’s 155 institutions adds up to £2.3 million a year.

I have to say this looks to be something of an underestimate. I asked my colleague in the University’s Governance team which deals with FoI for data for the past couple of years. The data and some examples of requests is set out below. Before we get there though you might wish to refresh your memory with a glance at the ICO guidance – it is 10 page (yes, 10 pages) definition document of what is expected to be published by universities and colleges and covers everything from staff expenses to tender procedures to CCTV locations.

logoDuring the period from 1st January 2011 to December 2012, the University of Nottingham responded to 370 Freedom of Information requests. In 24% of cases, requests resulted in non-disclosure either because the University applied an exemption successfully, defended a position of ‘over the appropriate time limit’ or the information was not held. 27% of requests received a partial disclosure of information. 49% of requests resulted in the requester being entitled to all of the information requested. Whilst we remain ‘purpose blind’ it is self-evident that the majority of requesters continue to be looking for material for journalistic purposes.

Of the 182 (49%) of requests with full responses requests were themed as follows:

Statistics  88
Supplier and contract details  35
Financial figures  25
Policies 21
Communication 2; a total of 7 emails and 1
letter were disclosed
University structure 6
Role profiles 2
Recruitment timeline 1
Research grants 1
Vice-Chancellor’s external roles 1

Supplier and contract details
We receive a large number of requests asking for details of contract agreements in place. In the main these are from competitors. Whilst these requests are an inconvenience there is no applicable exemption to this information as the ICO have made it clear that they do not consider such information commercially sensitive. The data is readily to
hand therefore significant management time is not accrued.
Financial figures
The majority of requests under this category concern library fines, IT costs, legal fees and expenses. We have received individual requests on a small number of issues including costs of artwork, car parking fees, accommodation fees and funding. This information was not considered commercially sensitive and was therefore released to the requestors.
Applied Exemptions
The most common exemption applied, particularly under partially disclosed requests, is personal data. In the main these requests concerned statistics which were so detailed and/or sensitive that disclosing the information would risk unreasonable identification of individuals.

The following exemptions have been applied, either to whole requests or partially:

Commercial interests 10
Personal Data 62
Information already published 18
Information not held 13
Legal professional privilege 1
National security 4
Intended for future publication 2
Vexatious 4

Some of those specific requests over this two year period:

  • Statistics for disciplinary actions taken against students 2010 – present
  • Statistics for Welsh domicile students
  • Student parking fines
  • University investments
  • Server Hardware Maintenance and Software Licensing Contracts
  • the number of UG Taught and PG programmes 12/13 and 11/12 that did not enrol any students
  • Number of students employed in University catering and library departments
  • Amount paid out in hardship funds over last 3 years
  • University Employee Statistics
  • FOI

  • Statistics for research staff recruitment
  • Information and statistics on student bursaries
  • Information on Microscopes Tender
  • Internet traffic
  • Statistics on parking fines issued
  • Statistics for Physics applicants
  • Information and figures relating to Common Purpose
  • Payments from the Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Statistics on changing employment patterns in the public sector
  • Information on admissions cycle for A100 Medicine Course
  • Information on English classes, student figures and fee income
  • Information on research sabbaticals
  • Information on PhD qualifications of staff
  • Information relating to the University’s parking contract
  • Statistics for students failing first year exams
  • Statistics on student housing
  • Information and statistics on student bursaries
  • Information relating to clinical trials
  • Information on Mobile Phone Contracts

Is it worth it? I am dubious. Essentially we spend a great deal of time and effort and public money responding to this stuff and I struggle to see the benefit for anyone, including the requestors. This list also doesn’t include my personal favourite of all dumb FOI requests received (it was before 2011): a request for data on reported hauntings in university buildings. Not quite as bad as the Leicester City Council zombie attack readiness request but still pretty daft. And no matter how silly or pointless such requests may be we have to treat them all equally seriously.

Back to Blair. He claims that FoI is not used, for the most part, by “the people”, but by journalists. His view is that “For political leaders, it’s like saying to someone who is hitting you over the head with a stick, ‘Hey, try this instead’, and handing them a mallet.” It sometimes feels a bit like that in universities too.

(With thanks to Sam Potter for providing the University of Nottingham material included here.)

True Crime on Campus §28: gas!

More true crime on campus:

Strange things continue to happen on campus. Our Security staff always respond professionally, even when faced with rude taxi drivers and distressed waterfowl. Not to mention possible gas leaks.

07:50 Security Patrol stopped a taxi who was driving the wrong way up Cut Through Lane and on speaking stopping the vehicle the Officer was subjected to rudeness from the driver.

20:00 Security attended a report that a tap would not switch off in the Humanities building. On arrival it was established that this was the hot water tap. Security therefore isolated the hot water supply. The helpdesk have been informed.

swan

A swan? Go on!

1720 Report of a distressed swan in the Road adjacent to Melton Hall Security attended and moved the swan onto the grassed area. The swan appeared to be uninjured and was eating the grass. Officers checked later on the Swan it had left the area.

1309 Report of two children throwing eggs at Melton Hall Security attended the children ran from the Campus.

1330 Patrol Security Officers contacted Grounds Staff after a University Shuttle Bus spilled Oil on Cut Through Lane before breaking down on Beeston Lane.

2315 Report of the theft of underwear from the Laundry in Newark Hall. Security attended, Police informed.

1630 Fire alarm in Hall – cause of activation was found to be burnt food in a microwave causing a large amount of smoke to fill the area where the microwave was situated. Security attended, the area was vented and the Microwave unplugged. A student admitted causing the incident and will be reported to the Warden.

2015 Request for assistance for a person who was locked in the Fitness Centre, University Park. The person stated that they had been using the Centre and when they finished the Staff had locked the building and left.

gas-taps17:15 Security received a report of the smell of gas from a lab in the Nottingham Medical School. On arrival the staff informed Security that this was a regular occurrence when the gas taps were used. The room was vented by opening windows and the smell subsided. Security advised staff not to use the gas taps in the room until these had been fixed or replaced. No further action by Security.

15:20 Security reported two youths with a large dog outside the Exchange building jumping on the bike shield covers. Security informed the youths that their behaviour was unacceptable and asked them to leave. The youths were abusive towards Security but did leave the Campus.

08:51 Security received a fire alarm activation from Computer Science for a room that did not exist. The Porter has reported this problem and the Helpdesk informed. The building was checked and the alarm panel was reset.

Investing in careers support

More careers support for Nottingham students.

The University of Nottingham has invested in a major expansion of its Careers and Employability Service intended significantly to enhance provision for students.

6132webThe new investment will support the vision for tailored career development, learning and employability support to Faculties. So far, the following steps have been taken:

  • 22 new members of staff have been recruited and have started work in the last week.
  • Five Faculty teams have been created – they are managed by a Faculty Employability Consultant and consist of Senior Careers Advisers, an Employability Education Projects Officer and an Employability Officer. These teams are constituted in order to provide a broad range of skills and experience from individual career guidance, career development learning, advice and CV support, workshop delivery and the creation of learning and development materials/programmes, employer engagement, event organisation, and student engagement.
  • The Faculty teams will also draw upon the expertise of our central team for e-information/web content, statistics, employer engagement, Unitemps, Nottingham Advantage Award, employability education, e-mentoring and administration.
  • A Global Labour Market team has been created and currently comprises three members of staff covering China, Malaysia and UK. This team will be proactively seeking opportunities for students and graduates globally and will be primarily focused on business engagement and labour market intelligence.
  • A School Employability Fund has been launched to give support to school/faculty-based employability projects.

6127web

These are really important developments. The 22 new members of staff are now involved in a two week induction programme (as part of which I was very pleased to meet with all of them), which is introducing them to the work of Careers and to key aspects of the University’s activities.

The objective here is to enhance the employability of Nottingham students and graduates and to deliver, in partnership with Schools, an effective, professional and tailored service.

I think this is a striking confirmation of the commitment of the University to the Careers and Employability Service and the development of our students. It represents a significant investment for the future.

Unwanted branch campuses

An unwelcome higher education arrival.

University World News reports on French unhappiness at a Portuguese interloper:

Portugal’s private University Fernando Pessoa, or UFP, is planning to set up a second branch in France – despite a complaint filed last year by French Higher Education Minister Geneviève Fioraso that installation of its first university centre in France was against the law.

The UFP’s first branch, the Centre Universitaire Fernando Pessoa, was set up last November at La Garde, near Toulon in the Var, southern France. It offers humanities and social science courses and, more controversially, health studies including dentistry and pharmacology at bachelor, masters and doctoral levels.
assi_horiz
The university claims its Portuguese degrees are valid throughout the European Union – including in France which, unlike Portugal, exercises strict selection in health studies with an 85% failure rate at the end of the first year.

In recent years many failed French medical students have continued their studies by moving to other countries such as Belgium, Romania and Spain. Now the UFP at La Garde offers them an opportunity to do so on home soil – at a cost.

UFP charges between €7,500 and €9,500 a year, compared with French university charges of €181 for first-degree general medical studies and €250 for a masters.

It is a surprising situation. UK institutions do not exactly welcome foreign branch campuses either but there are at least six already in this country according to the OBHE plus dozens and dozens of smaller offices, most of them in London. With France’s 85% failure rate though it does look like there might be a good market for UFP’s health studies courses with their more relaxed entry requirements. Even with their significantly higher fee levels.

Hobbit talk

A great oration.

Continuing the ceremonial theme this week. I recently received an email from a Tolkien scholar asking for a copy of the oration delivered when the great man was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Nottingham back in 1970. Well, I must admit I thought it might be a little tricky to locate this but one of my colleagues knew exactly where to find the oration: it was published in an edition of the University Gazette (since discontinued) and therefore would have had a reasonable circulation at the time.

the_hobbit_ed356ad97bae9d27ff57d8004a3d61e6

Having come across this in such a fortuitous way I thought it was worth reproducing in its entirety. I suspect it remains one of the few orations to mention Hobbits quite so freely (at least until the University of Kent decided to honour the actor Orlando Bloom) and is therefore worth a read for that alone although the phrase “deep fruity laugh” is also noteworthy.

Here it is

The Public Orator, Professor E. J. W. Barrington, M.A., D.Sc., F.R.S., delivered the following orations when presenting the honorary graduands to the Chancellor:
For the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa:

JOHN RONALD REUEL TOLKIEN
Your Grace and Chancellor,
All members of the Congregation will join with the University Officers in deeply regretting that there are no Hobbits with us today. Well-informed as we are regarding the way of life of these Little Folk, we know that they would have welcomed the opportunity to dress in bright colours. And they would have relished even more the provision of luncheon and tea, for Hobbits are fond of six meals a day (when they can get them), and their consequent tendency to be fat in the stomach need not have made them unduly conspicuous. But it is your Public Orator who most keenly regrets their absence, for they have the singular merit of enjoying simple jests, and of responding to them with deep fruity laughs. And what can fall more rewardingly upon the ear of any Public Orator than the sound of a deep fruity laugh?

But if we are deprived of the Hobbits themselves, we have the pleasure of welcoming their distinguished chronicler, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Educated at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, and at Exeter College, Oxford, he served in the First World War and then, in 1920, went to the University of Leeds as Reader, and later Professor, in English Language.

Those who knew him at that time might well have predicted for him a progress to academic eminence along well-trodden paths, and would have felt confirmed in this expectation when he was appointed at an early age to the Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. He held this Chair from 1925 to 1945, during which period he initiated the modern critical study of Anglo-Saxon poetry. His influence was exerted partly through some highly significant essays, but no less through his intensely vivid and dramatic teaching, which has left ineradicable memories. What pupil could forget a Professor who was prepared to prostrate himself upon the floor if he could thus the better illustrate the drama of Anglo-Saxon combat?

But other modes of expression must also have been stirring within him, for in 1937 he published The Hobbit, or There and back again, that memorable account of the perilous journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins. It is now recalled that during those early North Oxford days his creative energy was so far overflowing that from time to time he would himself polish his shiny yellow brass door knob with all the care of a thoroughly domesticated Hobbit. With his removal, first to Headington, and now to a location more closely concealed than that of the Hobbits themselves, North Oxford can hardly be the same, and cer¬tainly the door knob is not, for its once cheerful surface has been covered with a coat of sad varnish.

From 1945 to 1959 he was still at Oxford, holding the Merton Chair of English Language and Literature, and it was then that it became apparent that The Hobbit was only a beginning. Stung, perhaps, by the suggestion that he might prove to be Oxford’s second Lewis Carroll, an occasional writer of small-scale works, he proceeded to the remarkable achievement for which he is now best known. This is his heroic romance, The Lord of the Rings, planned as a vast sequel to his earlier tale. His profound and scholarly grasp of the whole range of Germanic mythology, combined with an intense personal interest in the supernatural, here comes to superb expression, in a fantasy which explores an invented world, and maintains with compelling consistency every detail of life within it.

Tolkien has never lost touch with the academic roots of creative scholarship from which his fantasies have grown. But to a host of readers throughout the world he is primarily esteemed for providing in such rich measure, through the power of his imagination, the recovery, the escape, and the consolation which he sees as the prime gifts of the fairy-story, for adults as much as for children. “Why,” he asks, “should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home?”

We can assure him that at no time has it occurred to us to apologise for our frequent escapes to the Shire, and, for choice, to the home of Mr. Bilbo Baggins. To that nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing, and with freshly baked seed-cakes in the pantry. “If ever you are passing my way”, said Bilbo, “don’t wait to knock! Tea is at four; but any of you are welcome at any time!”

Your Grace and Chancellor, I present to you John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, as eminently worthy of receiving the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.

They don’t do them like that any more.

Chancellor successfully installed

One of those big University events.

Yesterday the University of Nottingham installed (a technical term) its seventh Chancellor, Sir Andrew Witty.

Full details of the appointment and the background to Sir Andrew can be found on this page about the installation and the video of the event can be found here.
installation-andrew
Note that the video starts with 45 minutes of milling about so you might want to skip some of that. I have one sentence to deliver which I manage at around the 47 minute mark. It gets better after that and in addition to the installation two Honorary Degrees are conferred.

The job of Chancellor is an unusual one. For reference, the job spec is as follows:

The Chancellor has a number of key roles including ceremonial duties – playing a formal part in graduation ceremonies – and acting as an ambassador and advocate of the University in the UK and around the world. He also acts as a key adviser on matters of major strategic importance to the development of the University. It is an unremunerated role.

Alternative perspectives on this can be found in this UUK publication ‘Beyond Ceremony’ which contains “anecdotes and advice from UK chancellors”. Actually, I’m not sure our new Chancellor is really going to need much in the way of advice (or Chancellorial anecdotes). Sir Andrew is an outstanding and hugely impressive individual and will I am sure be a huge asset to the University of Nottingham.

Anyway, the installation was a terrific event and one of those special days in the life of the University where tradition, ceremony and forward thinking combine and lots of staff, stakeholders, alumni and friends of the institution come together in a shared celebration of past achievements and future ambitions. And a lot of wonderful work from many of my colleagues to make it all happen.

Footnote: an interview with the new Chancellor is also available:

An interesting approach to teaching physics

But is it effective?

Inside Higher Ed reports on a Columbia University professor who adopted a rather unconventional approach for a physics class:

A Columbia University professor who incorporated (himself) stripping, ninjas and images of 9/11 in a lecture on quantum mechanics has attracted widespread attention. While he’s not talking and Columbia officials aren’t saying much, they have now confirmed that he remains in his job, and some colleagues and his wife are offering a public defense — and urging people to be open-minded.

Emlyn Hughes, a professor of physics at Columbia, this month welcomed students to the first session of Frontiers of Science, a core requirement for undergraduates at Columbia College, by slowly undressing as the rap song “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Lil Wayne played in the background.

 

The video of part of the event isn’t hugely enlightening

 

It’s all very interesting and undoubtedly the Professor made an impact. But did the students learn anything? And will he be able to sustain such a level of interest for the remainder of the course? It’s probably for the best that not everyone adopts such an approach.

For a more refined alternative there is always this Sixty Symbols video.

Everything’s gone green

Some positive work on sustainable futures at the University of Nottingham.

In 2012 the University of Nottingham won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development. In the citation for the award the judges noted Nottingham was a “trailblazer” for environmental best practice.

David Walliams applies to join the Estates Office team

David Walliams applies to join the Estates Office team

Now I must admit that I used to be rather skeptical of the idea of ‘greening’ different aspects of university activity. Partly this was down to concern about the additional cost, substantial in many cases, but also doubt that it would have any meaningful impact on sustainability or that prospective students would really be interested in a university’s green credentials.

I got it wrong. This is all for real and it does matter. At the University of Nottingham our sustainability policy has the following aims:

  • Improve the environmental performance of our buildings and the University’s physical infrastructure
  • Ensure all operations and procurements are sustainable
  • Harness the University’s research and teaching strength to improve its environmental performance and advance the environmental agenda
  • Contribute broadly to efforts to protect the environment and ensure those efforts get the recognition they deserve.
Lincoln Hall solar panels

Lincoln Hall solar panels

OK, grand ambitions, but how do these translate into practice? The University has done rather a lot. In terms of travel there has been significant pedestrianisation and cycle lane installation, Ucycle Nottingham and ride-to-work schemes and more public transport and inter-site buses. Moreover, one of the new city tram lines under construction will pass through University park and a parking charging scheme (not universally popular, it has to be said) has been introduced, resulting in a drop in car use.

The grounds management  plan has sustainability and increasing biodiversity of campuses as key requirements. The University has won 10 consecutive Green Flag awards and a Green Gown award for sustainability and, in partnership with the Woodland Trust, planted a ‘Diamond Wood’ in Sutton Bonington in 2012. On waste and re-cycling there have been significant improvements in recycling rates, from 4% in 04/05 to 29% in 08/09, and 87% in 10/11.

In terms of carbon management, the University’s Carbon Management Plan (CMP) was approved in 2010 and includes targets for reductions in emissions of CO2 from energy usage. It identifies the principal areas of energy use and investment programmes required to improve energy efficiency, reduce usage and generate energy from renewable energy sources. In its second year the CMP developed 55 projects requiring a total investment of £1.48 million. The overall benefits identified equate to 2,028 tonnes of CO2 and £350k per annum. In 2010/11 there was a 1.7 % decrease in CO2 and this trend continued in 2011/12 with a 2.3% reduction from 67,454 to 65,901 tonnes CO2 a saving of 1,553 tonnes.

Less positively, planning applications for a three turbine wind farm alongside the Grove Farm sports ground appear to have been stymied for the present by some disappointing decisions by Broxtowe Borough and Nottingham City Councils whose green rhetoric has, unfortunately, not been matched by their actions.

The University currently has 14 BREEAM schemes within the system, the highest within the HE sector: seven ‘BREEAM Excellent’ completed buildings, six buildings where BREEAM Excellent is being targeted during the development process and one ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ for the first carbon neutral laboratory to be built in the UK. The building will achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Platinum’ and carbon neutral status after 25 years.

On teaching, there is an expectation that sustainability will be built into all curricula and some good progress has been made here, including through the Nottingham Advantage Award.

 Sutton Bonington

Sutton Bonington


The University has a strong research portfolio looking at the fields of environment and sustainability, both in the UK and at our campuses in Asia including for example, the Creative Energy Dwellings, Energy Technologies Research Institute, Green Chemistry, Food Security and Bioenergy. Most recently the announcement of the new GSK laboratory has confirmed Nottingham’s continued commitment to cutting edge research in this area.

The establishment of an Environmental Champions Network, which aims to bring together people from a broad spectrum of Schools and Central Professional Services to share ideas and act as champions to reduce environmental impacts, has been particularly successful in communicating and raising awareness of environmental matters.

There is, of course, a league table which offers ratings of universities’ sustainability efforts. The UI GreenMetric World Universities Ranking has sought to provide a system which allows universities in both the developed and developing world to compare their efforts towards campus sustainability and environmentally friendly university management. Nottingham was ranked second in this table in 2010 and again in 2012, coming first in this world league table in 2011. Note that I am deliberately ignoring the ‘People and Planet’ ranking here because of their extremely dubious and constantly changing methodology and because Nottingham rarely scores well in their table. Sadly, the much loved University Duck Density League , which ranks institutions by the number of waterfowl on campus must be ignored too given the absence of updated data.

So, overall it is a really positive picture here. There is still a long way to go but the public praise is welcome. Going back then to that THE award citation:

in both the innovative approach to estate development and the determination to embed best sustainability practice across the university, Nottingham has again shown the way.

The College Scorecard: KIS-ing in the USA

President Obama announces a higher education initiative which looks a bit familiar.

scorecard

The College Scorecard as it is known has attracted some mixed reviews since it was announced by the President. The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that it is intended to help prospective students but that it doesn’t perhaps do all that is claimed:

In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Obama announced the release of the College Scorecard, a project he first proposed in a speech at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor last year. The interactive online tool provides comparable information on college affordability and value, to help students and families figure out “where you can get the most bang for your education buck,” the president said.

Most interestingly it bears some quite striking similarities to the Key Information Set, recently established in England, ostensibly to aid student decision-making about higher education choices:

graduate-employment

Graduate salary information

finance

Financial information

And as an earlier post on Unistats and KIS noted, that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Big Brother for University Sport

Responding to worries about student athletes on social media.

There has been not insignificant anxiety in US higher education about the inappropriate use of social media by student athletes and universities are looking to monitor activity much more closely. On this side of the Atlantic the issues have largely been confined to professional sports people (and Joey Barton).

Whilst there may be general worries in UK universities about student use of Facebook and Twitter these have yet to have the impact that some unfortunate transgressions have had in the US where some universities have banned athletes from using Twitter following concerns about insulting, vulgar and generally questionable posts by players. And also because the coaches suspect social media might represent something of a distraction for players.

Fortunately, for those universities which struggle with monitoring social media usage there appear to be several organisations dedicated to ensuring that student athletes behave themselves. Looking for example at via Varsity Monitor, one of these monitoring outfits, we find they have an interesting prospectus:

For Athletes and Parents:

College recruiters actively review social media accounts to fully evaluate the character of potential recruits. Varsity Monitor works to ensure that social media posts do not negatively impact recruiting or existing scholarship offers.

For Institutions:

Coaches, Administrators and Sponsors need to ensure that Athletes uphold their organization’s standards and adhere to their code of conduct when using social media. Varsity Monitor provides monitoring services that help verify that policies are being followed.

Varsity Monitor provides extensive social media education for athletes and administrators designed to establish a solid foundation for the positive use of social media. Exploring methods and techniques to leverage social media to promote and enhance their brand and reputation.

Just extraordinary. Is it worth it if the teams deliver the results required? Or is is excessive intrusion into students’ non-academic activities?

A winning international strategy

The University of Nottingham wins another award.
 

The Guardian awarded its first HE prizes at a ceremony in London on Thursday. And the University of Nottingham came out top for its international strategy against stiff competition from UCL and Salford.
 

University Awards 2013 buttons_Winner

 

It’s a terrific citation:

As the first university to open a fully operational branch campus in Malaysia in 2000, internationalisation has been in the University of Nottingham DNA for well over a decade. It has since opened a further campus in China, and says that global reach is “hardwired” into its strategic plan.

Ambition on such a scale means you can’t keep your recruitment exclusively based in the UK, so Nottingham has international stude
It’s an approach that’s getting results: over 9,500 students are enrolled in Malaysia and China, and as well as having one of the largest cohorts of international students in the UK, Nottingham is a top 10 recruiter (by volume) in most markets worldwide. With 25% of the university’s academic staff being international, the institution’s commitment to sourcing the best talent available means it also runs one of the largest scholarship programmes for the developing world, explains professor Hai-Sui Yu, pro-vice-chancellor for internationalisation.

 

The University of Nottingham

 

Staff and students also benefit from partnerships with commercial partners in 25 countries across the globe.nt recruiters employed in regional offices in Malaysia, China, Brazil and Mexico. The university’s West Africa office opened in Accra in April 2012 and an India office opened in June last year.

Very pleasing.