University of Stirling

Development and External Affairs

Media

 

News Archive

April 2006

University Promotes World Peace

New Programme Helps fill Nursing Shortage

Housing Care and Support for People With Dementia

Great Scot! Reputations in Scottish History

Impact of Stress on Putting Performance

MMR Uptake About More Than Improved Education

Graduate Wins Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

 

University Promotes World Peace

Date released: Tuesday 4 April 2006

The University of Stirling aims to promote world peace by launching a new MSc in International Conflict and Cooperation this autumn.

Course Director, Dr Vassilis Fouskas says: “Although we would all wish otherwise, there is little likelihood that the world in the 21st century will be a better place to live in, or that it will be without conflict, war, dictatorship, terrorism, genocide or poverty. The least we can do as academics and teachers is to try to produce serious-minded, prospective leaders able to understand the past, intervene in the present and shape a more just, fair and equitable world.”

This practical Master’s course aims to equip policy-makers, professionals, political leaders, writers and scholars with the skills necessary for conflict prevention, management and resolution. Students will discuss and debate the nature of conflict and cooperation between nations, states, individuals, religions, cultures and international organisations.

As Dr Fouskas explains: “The end of the Cold War with its ensuing religious and ethnic conflict, as well as the terrorist attacks on America and the UK, has given conflict, security and international relations studies a particular importance and immediacy. The course takes up topical debates surrounding the roles of the US, as well as other emerging Eurasian powers such as the EU, China and Russia, in global affairs.”

Course topics include the geo-politics of oil and gas; conflict in the Balkans; EU-Russian relations; the conflict between Christendom and Islam; US and Middle East conflict; genocide and conflict in independent Africa; and Cyprus and international relations.

Lesley Pollock
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Dr Vassilis Fouskas

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467570


New Programme Helps Fill Nursing Shortage

Date released: Tuesday 4 April 2006

The first cohort of overseas students has successfully completed the University of Stirling’s new Overseas Nurses Programme. The programme, the first of its kind in Scotland, is designed to meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) new regulations which become compulsory later this year.

The programme, run by the University’s Department of Nursing and Midwifery, enables nurses trained outside the European Union to register with the NMC in order to practice nursing in the United Kingdom. Only applicants resident in the UK are eligible for the programme.

Programme Leader, Isobel Chisholm said: “Many of the students on this programme, which combines supervised practice and academic study, already hold degree qualifications from their own country. Completing the programme enables them to practice in the UK and, in addition achieve academic credit towards a degree programme with the University of Stirling.”

The first six students to complete the programme are already helping meet the national nursing shortage, and a further 13 students have recently enrolled on the programme.

Lesley Pollock
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(01786) 467058

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Isobel Chisholm

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1463 704311


Housing Care and Support for People With Dementia

Date released: Thursday 6 April 2006

Minister for Communities, Malcolm Chisholm MSP, will visit the University of Stirling today (Thursday 6 April) to launch a new book on dementia-friendly home design.

Home Solutions 2, written by Planning Consultant Sylvia Cox of the University’s Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), draws on the experiences of ten housing-based developments across the UK to highlight a range of approaches to and models of housing and care for people with dementia and their families.

Professor June Andrews, Director of DSDC, who wrote a foreword for the book, said: “These case studies show that knowledge about how best to develop, operate and design housing and homely environments for people with dementia is still developing and further research is needed. We need to generate a better understanding of how to respond to different expectations around levels of privacy and social interaction and how services can adapt quickly to changing needs. We also know that more work needs to be done on the design and adaptation of existing environments as well as how to harness the power of new technology. With these aims in mind, DSDC is working closely with organisations across Scotland to offer research, good practice guidance and learning opportunities.”

In launching the book, Malcolm Chisholm said: “This book reinforces the policy message that it is important for people with dementia and their family carers to have the choice to remain at home or in homely environments in their local communities wherever possible. This of course depends on dementia-friendly design in housing, housing adaptation and technology, as well as flexible community services that can adapt to changing and individual needs. There are many challenges ahead but I hope this book will encourage further innovation and research and development work in dementia care and design.”

Home Solutions 2 is aimed primarily at organisations and partnerships involved in operating, developing and commissioning housing and care projects. It should also be of interest to care staff, service users, carer groups and organisations.

Lesley Pollock
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(01786) 467058

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Professor June Andrews

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467740


Great Scot! Reputations in Scottish History

Date released: Thursday 6 April 2006

Research by Ipsos MORI, commissioned by the University of Stirling and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, has revealed the nation’s most important Scottish historical figures as viewed by the Scottish public. The top five are:

1. William Wallace (36%)
2. Robert Burns (16%)
3. Robert Bruce (12%)
4. Donald Dewar (4%)
5. Alexander Fleming (4%)

Other names high on the list include Alexander Graham Bell (2%), John Logie Baird (2%), Mary Queen of Scots (2%), Sir Walter Scot (1%), John Smith (1%), James VI & I (1%), John Knox (1%), Rob Roy MacGregor (1%), Andrew Carnegie (1%), Princes Charles Edward Stuart (1%) and Adam Smith (1%).

The findings of the survey have resulted in an exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery which opens this Friday – Great Scot! Reputations in Scottish History. The idea for the survey and exhibition sprang from an ongoing research project by the University’s Department of History. Since 2001, Dr Michael Penman and Dr James Smyth have been investigating:

• why have particular Scottish historical figures become so important over time and why have others fallen into obscurity?
• how has the image of many of these Scottish historical figures been constantly reinvented to suit successive generations of Scots?
• how do people first find out about Scottish historical figures and where does the defining image of a figure come from – ‘proper’ history books or more ‘popular’ sources?
• and what does this tell us about Scotland’s unique political and cultural history and identity in contrast to nations like England, Ireland or France and their official pantheons of heroes?

Dr Michael Penman said: “The main focus of Reputations is to trace how and why the image of Scottish historical figures has evolved over the years since their death. By identifying those figures whom Scots choose to celebrate at any given time we can learn a lot about changes in Scottish politics, culture and identity. For example, the project has looked at how William Wallace has become Scotland’s ultimate patriotic hero but also a champion of the working class, overshadowing the royal figure of Robert Bruce. We have also traced how romantic figures like Robert Burns and Mary, Queen of Scots, remain firm favourites whilst figures who were household names in their own time, like churchman Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) or radical politicians like John Maclean (d. 1923), are now almost forgotten.”

The project has also shown how certain criteria are important in the creation of a lasting Scottish icon: a strong work ethic, a humble background, a noble cause, a dramatic death. At the same time, the project has revealed how professional historians are usually unable to alter the popular image of Scottish figures best-remembered through pictures, statues, novels, poems, song and film.


Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058


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Dr Michael Penman

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 77228 15707


Impact of Stress on Putting Performance

Date released: Monday 10 April 2006

As the US Masters golf tournament draws to a close, the University of Stirling has some advice for the world’s golfing greats and not-so-greats: the answer to the perfect putt lies in mind over matter.

Sports psychologist, John Mathers, who assessed the performance of elite golfers in a series of experiments, discovered that missing a putt under stress conditions was more likely to result from an error in green reading or commitment to the putt, than a breakdown in stroke technique.

Mr Mathers said: “Most golfers find that they tend to putt more poorly under the stress conditions associated with a tournament. However many players don’t seem know where they are going wrong. We found that it was the decision-making abilities, rather than the stroke technique, that deteriorated under pressure. Stressful situations seemed to cloud their judgement about the best line to choose and force to apply to the ball for a given distance of putt.”

The answer to improving your putting skill under pressure, could therefore lie in practicing stress reduction and focusing techniques rather than practising the technical elements of your putting stroke.

Mr Mathers added: “Mental skills training, where players are taught to control their thoughts, could be the answer. We have thought this for a long time, but this is the first time we have had significant scientific evidence to support the case."

Lesley Pollock
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Mr John Mathers

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 466489 or 07749846182


MMR Uptake About More Than Improved Education

Date released: Tuesday 18 April 2006

A University of Stirling research study into MMR immunisation has found that vaccine uptake could rely on more than just improved education campaigns.

Dr Julie Brownlie said: “Much current debate about child immunisation focuses on how to improve participation through improved education campaigns. Our study suggests that support for parental decision-making about MMR and other immunisations needs to go beyond filling information gaps to seriously consider how parents come to reach decisions in the first place. We found that an important part of how parents make their decisions was based on their relationships with and trust in health professionals such as GPs and health visitors. Other key influencing factors were personal experience, social networks and the media.”

The study, carried out by Dr Julie Brownlie of the Department of Applied Social Science and Dr Alexandra Howson (then of Abertay University), was based on a secondary analysis of existing research data and examined the links between risk, trust and knowledge in the delivery of childhood immunisations, including MMR, in Scotland. They re-analysed existing qualitative data which had been gathered through a series of focus groups involving parents and health visitors as well as a number of telephone interviews with GPs.

Dr Brownlie added: “Parental anxieties about MMR are not all the same. Their concerns are shaped by their personal experiences, friends, family and the media. While unease about MMR for some is linked to their anxieties about the trustworthiness of the state in relation to health or the nature and pace of technological changes in general; for others, it relates to their past experience of having a child immunised or their other experiences of making health decisions as a parent or indeed their own memories of being parented. Parents were not alone in harbouring anxieties. We found that some health visitors perceived a conflict in their role between ‘active encouragement’ of MMR uptake and supporting ‘informed choice; while some GPs were concerned about the impact of target setting. There needs to be more research into relationships between parents and health professionals and the nature of ambivalences held by some parents and indeed some professionals.”

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Julie Brownlie

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467980


Graduate Wins Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Date released: Wednesday 26 April 2006

University of Stirling graduate Stuart Mitchell, has been named Forth Valley and Tayside Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 for his business running community football leagues across Scotland in disadvantaged areas to help tackle health and anti-social behaviour issues.

The company began trading in January 2005 with one league made up of 20 teams at Forthbank in Stirling. Just over a year later, Fivez oversees eight leagues comprising 170 teams in Stirling, Falkirk, Bo’ness, Airdrie, Ayr and Greenock. To win the £1000 prize, Stuart and Paul outshone other young entrepreneurs from Forth Valley & Tayside who have recently started up their own businesses.

Stuart and Paul will now represent Forth Valley and Tayside at the Scottish final in Edinburgh on Thursday 8 June 2006 with the chance of winning £3000.

Commenting on his success, Stuart said: “Winning the Shell Livewire Award is a great boost for my business and will hopefully help it grow further. Now I’m looking forward to competing against other Scotland based young entrepreneurs for the overall Scottish award at the final in Edinburgh in June.”

Throughout their business venture Fivez have been supported by the University of Stirling’s Student Enterprise Programme, SUREstart.

Alasdair Gammack, Student Enterprise Manager, said: "Stuart benefited from our student enterprise incubator during his first year in business, and working with him has been a pleasure. He is a great role model to other young entrepreneurs, and this award is a reflection of the hard work and dedication that he has put into his business."

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Alasdair Gammack

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 458014