University of Stirling

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News Archive

June 2010

Don't worry, be happy - you're in Stirling

Stirling is top of the class!

New bee discovered on Stirling campus

Happiness is University shaped at Stirling’s summer graduations

Rebalancing the relationship between economy and environment

Minister debates Housing Green Paper with Stirling experts

Stevenson and Song concert

Stirling honours conservationist

First Minister opens economics conference at University of Stirling

Top environmental impact award for Stirling

Lizelle's delight at film award

Times Higher Education prize for University Registry team

Access course students win John Smith Book Awards

Two Honorary film and media professors at Stirling

Parents wanted for babies and humour research

University conference promises new theories on the practice of Education

NHS Quality Strategy: an opportunity for research and education?

Aquaculture research conference examines future food security

Science meets culture: scientists probe the evolution of culture at major science exhibition

Stirling launches Health Research Master's


Don't worry, be happy - you're in Stirling

Date released: Sunday 6 June, 2010

Students at the University of Stirling are the happiest people in Scotland, according to new research conducted by the Scottish Government. The finding has been revealed by Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics, the Scottish Government’s on-going programme to improve the availability, consistency and accessibility of small area statistics in Scotland.

SNS mapped a range of measures in more than 6,000 geographical zones, correlating to postcodes, and against the measure ‘Estimated percentage of population prescribed drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis’, the score for FK9 4LA – the University of Stirling’s campus - is just 2 per cent, the lowest in Scotland.

The Scottish Mail on Sunday (today, 6 June 2010) revealed the outcome, and quoted an explanation of Stirling’s happy environment from Dr Cynthia McVey, head of psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University. She said: “Stirling has a beautiful campus and I know the University has worked very hard to provide a wonderful environment for the students. It’s very green with lots of space and trees. These might sound like trivial matters but they are precisely the sort of positive surroundings which can have an impact on people’s general outlook and mental health.”

About 2,000 students live on the 310 acre campus, in halls of residence and university chalets, with views of a large loch and historic castle. They also have access to outstanding sports facilities.

A University spokesman said: “This finding reinforces the fact that Stirling provides one of the best student experiences in the UK. Stirling not only has a stunningly beautiful campus, we are proud of the way we look after our students, with excellent support services for times of anxiety, and a wide range of social, sporting and cultural activities. It all adds up to an inspirational learning and living environment.”

Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics can be accessed at www.sns.gov.uk/ and the University of Stirling postcode is FK9 4LA.

If you would like to find out more about studying at Stirling, see: www.external.stir.ac.uk/undergrad/campus_visit/index.php


Stirling is top of the class!

Date released: Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The University of Stirling has been ranked top for Education in all three of the main university league tables, the first time it has swept the board.

The Guardian, published today (8 June) has joined the Times and the Independent in their judgement that the number one place in Scotland to study Education is The Stirling Institute of Education.

The autumn intake of around 170 student teachers can look forward to the best possible experience as they prepare for a career in education, and Professor Richard Edwards, head of The Stirling Institute of Education, said: “I am delighted that the high quality of what we do here at Stirling has been recognised in the current round of university guides.

“It is thanks to the dedication and hard work of the staff that our programmes are so highly rated in Scotland and the UK. Both our research and teaching are now rated by external bodies as excellent and we try to ensure students are well prepared to face the challenges of professional life.”

The Institute provides high quality initial and in-service teacher education and continuing professional development programmes for primary, secondary and tertiary teachers.

It also engages in language teaching, the education of new researchers and research and consultancy services. With strong global research and professional networks, the Institute attracts students and academics from around the world to study and research at Stirling.

Among other accolades, Stirling is Scottish University of the Year 2009/2010 (Sunday Times), and is judged:

1st in Scotland for Communications & Media (The Independent and The Guardian)

2nd in Scotland for Psychology (The Guardian)

2nd in Scotland for Social Work (The Times)

2nd in Scotland for Sociology (The Independent and The Times)

2nd in Scotland for Philosophy (The Times)

Links for further information:

The Stirling Institute of Education: www.ioe.stir.ac.uk/index.php

The Times Good University Guide: extras.thetimes.co.uk/gooduniversityguide/institutions/stirling

The Guardian University Guide: www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2010/jun/04/university-league-table

The Independent Complete University Guide: www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/single.htm?ipg=7281


New bee discovered on Stirling campusThe tawny mining bee is recorded in Scotland

Date released: Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bees visiting the University of Stirling campus can expect a higher than usual level of attention, given that this is where the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) is based. So when a group of bees, which have never before been recorded in Scotland, chose to make a pit stop here, they were destined for recognition and celebrity status.

BBCT Trust director Dr Ben Darvill found the tawny mining bees and had his find confirmed by Murdo Macdonald of the Highland Biological Recording Group.  Dr Darvill said: "This discovery, on our doorstep, just goes to show how much lies out there waiting to be found by the curious. The general public can do their bit to make gardens little oases for bees by planting more traditional 'cottage garden' style plants and wild flowers.

"Farmers, crofters and other land managers are encouraged to consider bees and work towards providing a mosaic of flower rich patches with something available throughout the season."

The tawny mining bee is a European species of the sand bee (Andrena) genus. Usually found in England, it tends to inhabit light woodlands and dry grasslands, parks and gardens. It flies from March until May and it prefers to fly in a multitude to different nectar-bearing plants. The bee nests in the ground, having first made a small volcano-shaped mound in soil and these individual nests are often part of larger colonies.

This is not the first recent finding of a rare bee in Scotland. In February a species of bumblebee was spotted in the country for the first time in 50 years. The southern cuckoo bumblebee was seen at Humbleton Hill, just north of Eyemouth, by Bob Dawson from the BBCT. It is black and yellow like other types but the male has distinctive antennae and is named after the cuckoo because it moves into the nests of other bees.

The new discoveries have been greeted by the Trust as good news against a backdrop of hard times for bees, due to disease and loss of habitat. Meanwhile, BBCT are semi-finalists – and the only Scottish-based project left – in a UK-wide competition to select the top eco-project for the National Lottery Awards.

For more information on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, click on: http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/


Happiness is University shaped at Stirling’s summer graduations students attend their graduation ceremony

Date released: Wednesday 9 June 2010

Students at the University of Stirling are already regarded as being some of the happiest people in Scotland*. And these ‘happiness’ levels will be off the scale on Wednesday 30 June and Thursday 1 July, when 1,276 Stirling students descend on the University campus to take part in the Summer 2010 Graduations.

The University’s Chancellor, Dr James Naughtie, will preside over four ceremonies, which will take place in the National Tennis Centre. In addition to awarding student degrees, The Chancellor will confer honorary degrees upon six distinguished individuals, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to society.

Wednesday 30 June 2010

Ceremony 1: Wednesday 30 June, 10am

Academic areas: Institute of Education; Department of Film, Media & Journalism; School of Languages, Cultures & Religions

Dr Richard Holloway will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his questing mind, all-encompassing humanity and work for the under-privileged. Dr Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, was appointed Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council in 2005 and brought the programme of El Sistema to Stirling.  This revolutionary method of teaching music to children was launched in the Raploch in 2008 and within six months, children of six and eight were playing the violin and cello in their own orchestra.

Mr Graham Stewart will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Scottish arts and crafts. Graham Stewart is an internationally distinguished gold and silversmith whose work is recognised throughout the world and can be found in international collections. He was commissioned by the Scottish Parliament to design and make the centrepiece “Honours of Scotland” sculpture in the Holyrood Parliament building and he also created the distinctive candelabrum used at special University functions.

Ceremony 2: Wednesday 30 June, 2.30pm

Academic areas: Stirling Management School (includes Divisions of Accounting & Finance, Business & Organisation, Economics, Marketing); Department of Nursing & Midwifery; Department of Computing Science and Mathematics

Mr Jim McColl will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to enterprise in the Scottish economy.  Jim McColl is one of Scotland’s leading businessmen, Chairman and Chief Executive of Clyde Blowers plc, which he bought in 1992 and turned into a global company with an annual turnover of over £1.35 billion. As Chairman of the Welfare-to-Work forum he helps to tackle unemployment in his own community.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Ceremony 3: Thursday 1 July, 10am

Academic areas: School of Biological & Environmental Sciences; Department of Applied Social Science;

Institute of Aquaculture; Department of Psychology

The Right Honourable the Baroness Valerie Amos will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding service to our society and her role as a model of leadership and success for women today. Baroness Amos, the British High Commissioner to Australia, was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997 and served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, becoming Leader of the House of Lords from 2003-2007.

Ceremony 4: Thursday 1 July, 2.30pm

Academic areas: Department of Sports Studies; School of History and Politics; School of Law; Department of Philosophy; Department of English

The Hon Lord Brailsford will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution and achievement in the field of Scots law.  Lord Brailsford is the only Stirling graduate ever to have been appointed to the judicial bench, having graduated with a BA Accountancy, Business law and Economics in 1976.  An Advocate at the Scottish Bar since 1981, he was appointed a Senator of the College of Justice in 2006 and elevated to the judicial bench of the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary (the supreme civil and criminal courts in Scotland).  Amongst other contributions to public life, Lord Brailsford served as a member of the University Court from 2001-2006.

Mr Derek Casey will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sports policy and sports administration in the UK.  Derek Casey was Director of Glasgow’s successful bid to stage the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is currently chair of the World Leisure Organisation. A former Chief Executive of the UK Sports Council from 1994-2001, he was responsible for the development of the World Class Support Programmes (Performance, Potential and Start) and has also acted as an advisor on sports development in a number of countries, particularly in Africa.

Media are invited to attend for photography but must notify the Communications Department in advance on 01786 467058.

Notes to Editors

*Students at the University of Stirling are the happiest people in Scotland, according to new research conducted by the Scottish Government. The finding has been revealed by Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics, the Scottish Government’s on-going programme to improve the availability, consistency and accessibility of small area statistics in Scotland.  For more on this story, go to: http://www.externalrelations.stir.ac.uk/news/news_stories/index.php#happy


Rebalancing the relationship between economy and environment

Date released: Wednesday 16 June 2010


Dr Frans de VriesStirling Management School, University of Stirling, has been awarded a major 3 year research grant to study how we rebalance the relationship between the economy and the environment.


Funded by the European Investment Bank University Research Sponsorship (EIBURS) scheme, the project is entitled Designing Markets for Ecosystem Services Delivery and examines the interconnected systems of the economy and the environment.


The research team includes economists Dr Frans de Vries and Professor Nick Hanley and mathematician Dr Adam Kleczkowski.


Explaining the study, Dr de Vries said: “The economy-environment relationship is currently out of balance, most noticeably through human-induced climate change and global biodiversity loss. Studying the rebalancing of the economy-environment relationship is therefore timely in view of the current intertwined economic and environmental crisis. The project will explore the interaction between economic activity (such as farming) and the direct sources for human well-being the natural environment provides us. For example, there is a multitude of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems, ranging from biodiversity, flood mitigation, nutrient and toxins pollution control, habitat for wildlife and plants, and pollination.”


The project will contribute to an improved understanding of this rebalancing by concentrating on mechanisms for improving the delivery of ecosystem services. The project will focus on two of the most important terrestrial ecosystems in Europe: wetlands and forests.


Dr de Vries said: “The fundamental question that will be addressed is how to both effectively and efficiently increase the supply of eco-system services from private land ?such as forests and wetlands? using market-based instruments, including so-called conservation auctions.”


A dedicated website has been developed to provide information on the various components of the project including the research, training and knowledge exchange programme www.eco-delivery.stir.ac.uk.

For further information please contact Dr Frans de Vries on f.p.devries@stir.ac.uk or +44 (0)1786 467485


Minister debates Housing Green Paper with Stirling experts 'Question Time' panel during visit of Alex Neil MSP

Date released: Wednesday 16 June 2010

Everyone should have a safe, warm home which they can afford and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that this aspiration becomes a reality. Yet today in Scotland, there are approximately 10,000 households in temporary accommodation – up from 4,000 in 2002 – and Scottish Councils assessed 21,645 households as homeless between April and September 2009.

By 2003, the projection is that there will be around 345,000 more people and nearly half a million more households in Scotland than there are today, while the number of people aged 75 and over will have increased by 84%. Meanwhile, the average deposit for UK first time buyers in 2009 was 25%, up from 10% in 2007.

Housing the nation’s increasing population will be one of the biggest challenges we face, and in May Alex Neil MSP, Minister for Housing and Communities, published a Green Paper on housing reform. ‘Housing: Fresh Thinking, New Ideas’ is now the basis of a countrywide series of debates around housing policy – the first of which is hosted by Stirling Management School and the Department of Applied Social Science today, Wednesday 16 June, at the University of Stirling.

Alex Neil will be the event’s keynote speaker and his talk will be followed by a ‘Question Time’ panel consisting of housing policy experts. These include Professor Roger Mullin from the Stirling Management School, Professor Isobel Anderson, Director of the University’s Housing Policy and Practice Unit and Ms Olga Clayton, Head of Housing and Building Services at North Ayrshire Council (see picture caption below). The seminar will be attended by various groups and organisations with a professional interest in Scotland’s housing system.

The problems associated with poor quality housing – poverty, ill health and lack of the best start in life for our young people – entail costs to our communities and are visible evidence of inequalities in Scottish society. As well as improving our quality of life, housing is a vital part of our economy, since well functioning housing markets are part and parcel of well functioning labour markets. However the economic crisis has put additional pressure on all parts of the housing system, including home-owners, tenants, those seeking a home, providers of social housing and the building industry.

At the same time, the government’s targets on carbon emissions reductions means that our housing stock needs to be greener and more sustainable, since presently 25% of greenhouse gas emissions come from domestic energy use.  Despite these challenges, doing nothing is not an option and everyone has a part to play in Scotland’s housing future.

Professor Anderson said: “I very much welcome this Green Paper which re-emphasises the centrality of quality, affordable housing to the wellbeing of all and to the success of our economy. The paper raises challenging questions for both the market and social housing sectors. In responding to the current economic challenges however, we must not prioritise economy in the short term over quality and standards for the long term.

“The consultation process should elicit the views of the more vulnerable groups in the housing system, along with those of the powerful established stakeholders. Policy must continue to ensure adequate housing for the most vulnerable in Scottish society, including through our internationally renowned legal safety net for those facing homelessness.

“In parallel, health, social care and housing support services need to be delivered more effectively in the community in partnership with housing providers. Finally, achieving excellence across the housing sectors will require a highly skilled workforce and provision for education and training within and between the relevant professions will be vital to support the policy proposals which emerge from the current debate.”

The Green Paper explores how different groups, such as lenders, social landlords and house builders, can best work together to support each other’s interests and the interests of the system as a whole. It also examines the technologies which could be further exploited to raise the performance and efficiency of housing and related services; how more personalised housing options could be made available and how ordinary people can be involved in important decision making.

Key themes in the paper range from the evidence for housing and how we can make more flexible use of existing housing stock, to examining new ways of generating investment in affordable housing, the responsibilities of the main players in the system and how we address the problem in an environmentally aware way.

Notes to editors:

  • Picture caption L to R: Professor Isobel Anderson, Professor Roger Mullin, Alex Neil MSP and Ms Olga Clayton on the ‘Question Time’ panel.
  • The Housing Policy and Practice Unit (HPPU) is part of the Department of Applied Social Science at the University of Stirling. This is a large department which undertakes teaching and research in sociology, social policy, social work, housing, services to people with dementia and addictions; as well as containing a number of specialist research centres. HPPU provides two important programmes of study at postgraduate level, leading to the professional qualification in housing.
  • All of Stirling's Diploma and Certificate courses are validated by the Charted Institute of Housing (most recently in 2006) and lead to the CIH Professional Qualification. Staff from the HPPU also teach on a number of undergraduate courses as well as supervising postgraduate research students. For further information see: http://www.dass.stir.ac.uk/sections/showsection.php?id=2
  • Stirling Management School combines expertise in Accounting & Finance, Business & Organisation, Economics and Marketing. It is committed to a research-led approach in all of its activities through: research programmes, knowledge transfer partnerships, industry-specific postgraduate programmes and management development programmes which encompass both local and international communities. For further information see:  www.management.stir.ac.uk

Stevenson and Song concert

Date released: Thursday, 17 June 2010

As part of an international conference on the work of Robert Louis Stevenson, the University of Stirling is to host an evening of music, song and recital.

'Stevenson and Song' is a concert of folk music and classical singing based on Stevenson's writings, and will take place on Friday 9 July 2010 in the Pathfoot Building, on the university campus. It starts at 8.30 pm and is open to the public. Tickets are £15 (£12 concessions), and available from the macrobert box office, www.macrobert.org, or phone: 01786 466666.

The highlight of the concert is the live premiere of 'From a Garden of Songs', in which a group of Scottish songwriters have set their favourite poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses to music in the folk idiom.

Allan Smith, baritone, will perform a recital of 'Stevenson and Classical Song' that will give a flavour of Stevenson’s own taste in classical melody, and the various musical settings and styles his writing has inspired.

As well as other recitals, there is also a Stevenson-themed whisky tasting with Robin Laing.

A contribution to the RLS Memorial Trust, a registered Scottish charity assisting children with respiratory disease, will be made from ticket proceeds.

For further information see: www.rls2010.stir.ac.uk/stevenson-and-song/ or email Dr Scott Hames on scott.hames@stir.ac.uk


Stirling honours conservationist

Date released: Thursday 17 June 2010

Lee White

One of Africa’s leading conservationists, Lee White, has been made an honorary professor by the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling.

His services to environmental conservation and sustainable development in West and Central Africa have also earned him a CBE in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours.

This double recognition comes in the light of Professor White’s major role in setting up and now running the national park network in Gabon, west central Africa, which is seen as a role model for national park networks in other developing countries.

Professor Dave Goulson, Head of the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, said:  “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Lee White as an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling, and to congratulate him on his CBE. Lee’s partner, Dr Kate Abernethy, has been a member of staff at the University for many years and leads our African Forest Ecology group.

“Lee and Kate were instrumental in setting up the national park network in Gabon which covers 10 per cent of the country. Gabon retains a large proportion of its original rainforest, together with thriving populations of endangered mammals such as lowland gorilla, mandrills and forest elephants. The national park network, which Lee now manages, aims to conserve these and a multitude of other species for posterity.”

For further information on the African Forest Ecology Group at the University of Stirling, see: www.sbes.stir.ac.uk/research/ecology/afeg/index.html

Photo of Professor Lee White courtesy of Rob Ross


First Minister opens economics conference at University of Stirling

Date released: Friday, 18 June 2010

ISNIEconference opening

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond last night opened the 14th Annual Conference of the International Society for New Institutional Economics (ISNIE), which is taking place at the University of Stirling.  The conference alternates between North America and Europe and this is the first time it has been held in Britain.

About two hundred economists, from all five continents, are attending the conference. The two keynote conference speakers are winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, institutional economists Professor Elinor Ostrom (Indiana University) and Professor Oliver E Williamson (University of California, Berkeley).  Both are ISNIE members.

ISNIE President-Elect and conference organiser, Professor Frank Stephen (University of Manchester) said: “The award of the Nobel Prize to Oliver Williamson and Elinor Ostrom for their work on economic governance is further recognition of the impact which the New Institutional Economics is having on our understanding of social organisations such as firms, associations, households, agencies and legislatures.”

The conference began with a drinks reception, hosted by the First Minister, sponsored by the University’s Stirling Management School and attended by the University’s recently appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac.

Alex Salmond said: “It is a privilege to meet joint Nobel Laureates Professor Elinor Ostrom and Professor Oliver Williamson. Their work has been instrumental in enhancing our understanding of non-market institutions and economic governance, especially the commons and the boundaries of the firm. I am delighted to welcome scholars with such an outstanding international reputation to Scotland.

“I also greatly welcome the fact that the International Society of New Institutional Economists is holding its annual conference here. This is the first time in its 14 year history that this prestigious event has been held in the UK and it is wonderful that the ISNIE has chosen Scotland as the location. Our proud economic past and present means that we are ideally placed to host this world class event and attract an audience of distinguished international economists.”


Professor Roger Sugden, Director of the Stirling Management School, said: “The Management School is delighted to be able to sponsor the ISNIE reception in honour of two Nobel Laureates. They have contributed fresh ways of thinking that are all the more important in the challenging times facing communities in Scotland. Their presence on the Stirling campus provides an exciting opportunity for us all to learn.”

Picture caption: Gerry McCormac, Frank Stephen, Elinor Ostrom, Alex Salmond, Oliver Williamson, Pablo Spiller and Roger Sugden at the opening of the ISNIE conference.

Notes to Editors:

  • The New Institutional Economics (NIE) is an interdisciplinary enterprise which combines economics, law, organisation theory, political science, sociology and anthropology, with the aim of understanding the institutions of social, political and commercial life.  Although it involves various social science disciplines, economics is the primary language of NIE and its aim is to explain what institutions are, how they arise, what purposes they serve, how they change and how – if at all – these should be reformed.
  • For more information on Stirling Management School: www.management.stir.ac.uk
  • For more information on the ISNIE and the full conference programme: www.isnie.org

Top environmental impact award for Stirling

Date released: Friday 18 June 2010

Daniela Bolle and Dave Goulson

The University of Stirling has won another national award for its innovative work with bumblebees.

At the PraxisUnico Impact Awards Ceremony, held in Nottingham, Stirling’s outreach work won the ‘Environmental Impact' award category, which recognises projects that have made an outstanding environmental impact through successful knowledge transfer.

Professor Dave Goulson, Head of the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling, and co-founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “We are thrilled with this award which recognises our success in translating academic research on bumblebees into practical, on-the-ground conservation measures for this vital and endearing group of insects. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the 7,000 members of the public across the UK who have joined the trust and who support our activities.”

The Stirling team behind the award entry was Dave Goulson, Ben Darvill, Pippa Rayner, Bob Dawson, Natasha Rolph, Christiane Nitsch and Daniela Bolle.

This award follows on Professor Goulson being named Britain’s Social Innovator of the Year by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBRSC) for his work in bumblebee conservation.

Garden bumblebee

The annual Impact Awards aim to raise awareness of the potential of knowledge transfer activities by demonstrating best practice and impact. Organised by PraxisUnico, the UK's leading research commercialisation organisation, they showcase the very best examples of knowledge transfer activity.

Maggie Philbin, who regularly provides analysis and comment on technology for the BBC, hosted the ceremony and presented the awards to the winners.

Professor David Secher, PraxisUnico Chairman, said, "Fostering knowledge creation and its application is a high UK priority and its support is a key element of the national strategy. The Impact Awards recognise those teams, and individuals, who are creating the businesses and social enterprises of tomorrow."

Photo captions:

Daniela Bolle, Business Development Manager with the University of Stirling, and Professor Dave Goulson, Head of the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, with the award.

Garden bumblebee on viper's bugloss

Notes:

For further information on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, see www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/

The PraxisUnico Awards Ceremony falls during the inaugural 'Universities Week' which takes place from 14-20 June 2010. The week, organised by Universities UK, the body which represents all universities in the UK, provides an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of Universities at local, national and global levels. See www.universitiesweek.org.uk/Home.aspx


Lizelle's delight at film award

Date released: Friday 18 June 2010

Lizelle Bisschoff, who recently completed her PhD at the School of Languages, Cultures and Religions (SLCR), is delighted that the film festival which she co-directs has received a prestigious international award. The Africa in Motion festival has been honoured by the Foundation for Subjective Experience and Research (SER Foundation), in the context of the United Nations’ International Year of Reconciliation.

Lizelle said: "We are extremely excited about and proud of this award, which is a wonderful recognition of our attempts to change perceptions of Africa in the UK. Despite the conflicts and problems in Africa that the Western media is inundated with, the continent has achieved peace and reconciliation on so many levels and the West can certainly learn from Africa in various ways. This is what we tried to achieve with last year’s festival and this award is a confirmation that we are on the right track."


In 2009, the Africa in Motion (AIM) festival took ‘Reconciliation’ as its main theme and the festival screened a range of films on this topic, as well as hosting a symposium and various panel discussions on trauma, conflict, peace and reconciliation in Africa.

SER Foundation, which supports worldwide projects in the area of children and youth, culture, inter-cultural dialogue and religion, described the festival as an ‘outstanding’ project, because it emphasised the need for reconciliation and the necessary steps required to ‘build bridges’ on the road to a sustainable peace. The Africa in Motion festival was named as one of twelve projects worldwide which will receive an award, together with 600 euros prize money, at a ceremony in Switzerland in August.

The Africa in Motion festival, founded by Liz in 2006 and held annually in Edinburgh, aims to introduce Scottish audiences to the brilliance of African cinema and to overcome the under-representation and marginalisation of African film in British film-going culture. The SLCR has close connections with the festival, which it supports financially.

This year’s Africa in Motion festival runs from 21 October to 5 November 2010, see www.africa-in-motion.org.uk for further details.

Background information

Lizelle Bisschoff, from South Africa, has just completed a PhD at the University of Stirling, researching the role of women in sub-Saharan African cinema. She studied under the supervision of Professor David Murphy, who is on the advisory board of AIM.

Lizelle has previously completed a BA degree in Communication Theory and a BA Honours in Literary Theory and Audio-visual Production Management (cum laude) at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. She gained an MSc degree in Cultural Studies (with distinction) at the University of Edinburgh in 2005.


 

THE prize for University Registry team

Date released: Friday 18 June 2010

Registry and Governance team

A management team from the University of Stirling has won a prestigious national award for its outstanding service to students and staff.

Stirling’s Registry & Governance Services Department was presented last night (Thursday 17 June) with the ‘Outstanding Registry Team’ award in the Times Higher Education (THE) Leadership and Management Awards, which are open to all higher education institutions in the UK.

The University of Stirling employs hundreds of staff, educates thousands of students, and runs annual budgets worth millions of pounds. The teams behind the scenes who are responsible for managing these resources demonstrate remarkable business and management skills - and Stirling has demonstrated that it is the best in the business.

Joanna Morrow, Academic Registrar, said: “We are delighted to have won the THE Leadership & Management Award for Outstanding Registry Team. This recognises the commitment of the Registry & Governance Services staff to providing excellent services to our students and the academic community.”

The award is given for outstanding examples of best practice, and among other qualities, it recognises the Stirling team’s support of innovation in teaching and learning; its implementation of key government initiatives; its support for strategic and operational planning; its excellent communication skills and its contribution to the successful running of the University.

The awards ceremony was held on Thursday 17 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane.

The judges said the small team had shown great focus in delivering consistent and professional advice. Stirling's student administrative process is now entirely online, with recent developments including allowing students to select course modules via their PCs.

John F. Baldwin, registrar at the University of Warwick and a member of the judging panel, said: "Stirling has shown real evidence that a small, focused team working in support of institutional priorities can make a difference."

Picture: The University of Stirling Registry and Governance Services staff with (in front) Susan McAuley, Head of Student Administration, Joanna Morrow, Academic Registrar, and Jennifer MacPhee, Head of Policy, Planning & Governance.

 


Access course students win John Smith Book Awards John Smith Book awards for Access programme students

Date released: Monday 21 June 2010

Being a full time student requires discipline and motivation. Working towards becoming a full time student whilst running a home, raising children or holding down a job also requires energy, organisation and a determination to succeed. Ten students working on the University of Stirling’s part-time Access to Degree Studies programme have shown such commitment and have been rewarded with £100 book tokens to support them in their continuing studies.

The awards were made by John Smith & Son who run the campus bookshop and the company’s Deputy Chairman, Willie Anderson said: “We are very proud of the close relationship we have had with the University since it was founded.

“Our store sits at the heart of the campus, this is our thirteenth year of presenting these awards and it is our pleasure to support people through their university careers. We know how much hard work you have put into getting here and we would like to congratulate you and wish you all future success.”

The John Smith Awards are offered each year to students on the part-time Access to Degree studies programme in acknowledgement of the students’ personal commitment to education. They are chosen on the basis that they have faced particular challenges over the course of the programme or that they have had a specific input. Bookshop manager John Gray presented the book tokens to: Morven Harley (Alva), Darren Hatfield (Glasgow), Angela Miller (Crieff), Fiona Wells (Rosyth), Susan Carlyon (Stirling), Cheryl Ann Docherty (Tillicoultry), Michele Hill (Alloa), Donald Pollock (Glasgow). Students Sarah Metcalf and Kevin Scotland were unable to attend.

The Access Programme Director Dr Kevin Brosnan said: “Many of our students are coping with additional responsibilities such as jobs and child care issues and many of them have been away from full time education for a number of years. Their next steps, into full time education, will be yet another challenge and the book tokens will certainly provide practical help.

“There have been numerous occasions when I have actually seen dramatical changes in our students, as they have moved through the Access course. Initially, they might choose not to comment on an academic point or engage in debate but by the end of the year, they have developed a completely different approach to study and academic thinking. They present themselves differently at sessions, they have the confidence to argue their point and they often do seem to be quite transformed by the experience.

“I always have high expectations of full time students who arrive by this route, because they have already proved they have the energy and determination needed to complete a full time course.

“And of course their experience means they bring other skills into the class, without ever realising how valuable these various skills can be in a learning environment. I’m always telling Access students that, while they should access their lecturer, the library and our online facilities, the most valuable resource they have is each other.”

Group picture caption, from front row, L to R: Cheryl Ann Docherty, Susan Carlyon, Angela Miller, Morven Harley, Michele Hill, Fiona Wells, Donald Pollock, Darren Hatfield.

 


Two Honorary film and media professors at Stirling

Date released: Tuesday 22 June 2010

John McLellan, editor of The Scotsman newspaper, has been made an honorary professor by the Department of Film, Media and Journalism at the University of Stirling.

An alumnus of the University, class of 1983, John was appointed to the top job at The Scotsman in February 2009. He was previously editor of the Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday, having come to Edinburgh from the Newcastle Journal.

He said: "I am deeply honoured by this appointment, not to say delighted, especially as I was a less-than-diligent student in my early years at Stirling!

"I am also delighted that from the small beginnings when I was there that the department has grown into the strong and influential unit it is today. I have maintained my links with the department since coming back to Scotland and look forward to forging an even closer relationship in the years to come."

The Department of Film, Media and Journalism has also made an honorary professor of Peter Barber-Fleming, Scottish film producer and director, the founder of Horseman Productions and Saltire Films.

Brought up in Balfron, Stirlingshire, he produces human interest drama and documentaries, which are frequently historical in nature. From an involvement with the production of television dramas including Taggart, The Bill, Mortimer’s Law and Casualty, he has gone on to make many successful documentaries on subjects as varied as the St Andrews golf course greenkeepers and caddies and the young residents of Ballikinrain school.  His first Saltire Films feature, Man Dancin’, netted a global business deal when it showed at Cannes in 2003.

Head of the Department of Film, Media and Journalism, Professor Neil Blain said: “I'm very pleased that the University of Stirling has recognized the contribution of two key figures in the creative and media industries with these appointments. My department looks forward to developing its relationship with John and Peter in the future, and is delighted to welcome them as honorary professors.”

 


Parents wanted for babies and humour research

Date released: Tuesday 22 June 2010

Does your baby know when you are joking?  Or recognise when something is amusing? If you’ve ever wondered what your offspring makes of new experiences and how he or she adapts to them, you might want to help with research which is underway at the University of Stirling.

The Psychology Department’s newly created Centre for Memory and Learning in the Lifespan is beginning a study on how babies and toddlers learn about the social world.  Researchers at the Centre’s Baby and Toddler lab are looking for children from 14 months to 23 months of age to participate with their parent/s in a child development study.

Dr Elena Hoicka, lecturer in Psychology explains: “My research focuses on how humour develops in infants and toddlers – whether infants know when others are joking or whether pre-school children are cable of creating and delivering their own jokes.  However I'm also interested in pretending, parent-child interactions, and toddlers' understanding of others’ intentions.”

To answer some of these questions the Baby Toddler Lab’s latest study is looking for Dads, or both parents to come in with their child. We are really keen to look at how children respond to their parents during play and joking and if there are different ways Dads and Mums play with their child.

The study’s findings will be very useful for several reasons. First, humour is an important aspect of life - it helps to create social bonds, deal with stress, and can even benefit education. However we know very little about how humour develops in the first place. This study will help answer this question. Second, this study will highlight how parent-child interactions are important – not only for children’s humour development, but for children’s understanding of other people’s minds.

Parents taking part will be asked to make a one-off visit of around half-an-hour. You will be met at the MacRobert art centre and taken to the nearby Baby and Toddler lab, where you will be asked to read a book, play a game or watch a video with your child.

The research is designed to be an enjoyable experience for both parents and their babies and as a ‘thank you’ from the researchers you will receive a MacRobert voucher. This will entitle you to one hour at the Treehouse crèche, a cinema ticket, or purchases at the café or for event tickets, to the value of £4.

For more information on Dr Hoicka’s work, click on: www.psychology.stir.ac.uk/babytoddlerlab

If you have any questions about the research, email: babytoddlerlab@stir.ac.uk

If you would like to take part in the study, register at: www.psychology.stir.ac.uk/babytoddlerlab

 


University conference promises new theories on the practice of Education

Date released: Thursday 24 June 2010

How do we recognise what is educationally valuable and how can we think outside the box to help make education more worthwhile? A conference designed to tackle these questions opens today at the University of Stirling.

Theorists from around the world are coming to Scotland to address the big questions in education and develop fresh thinking about the future role of education – why it is the way it is and how it could or should be different.

Professor Richard Edwards, Head of The Stirling Institute of Education, said: “For professionals in the field, the reality of managing daily and immediate concerns around budgets, staff sickness and student attainment, means that these bigger theoretical issues of purposes and how to achieve them can be all too easily overlooked.

“Is education important regardless of what we do in schools, colleges and universities? What role will it play in rising to the economic, social and environmental challenges we face?  These questions need to be addressed if we are to engage fruitfully with the educational challenges of the future.”

Researchers from 19 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, Canada, the USA and many parts of Europe, will gather at the University of Stirling on Thursday 24 June for two days for the first International Conference of the Laboratory for Educational Theory.

The Laboratory was established in 2008 by three of the Stirling Institute of Education’s Professors – Gert Biesta, Julie Allan and Richard Edwards – to provide a space where people can experiment with ideas in order to develop fresh thinking about educational issues and the possibilities for new practices. Among the highlights of the conference will be keynote talks by a number of world class researchers.

Professor Lisbeth Lundahl, Umeå University, Sweden will talk about the rapid transformation of education and educational governance and the changed demands this has placed on research. Lynn Fendler, from Michigan State University, USA, will ask:  how can the big educational questions be better addressed?

The Stirling Institute of Education’s own leading authority, Professor Gert Biesta, will explore some of the concerns about the status of theory in educational research and practice and the rights and wrongs of education.

Commenting on the positive response of so many education professionals, Professor Julie Allan said: “Addressing questions of theory is now more important than ever, if we are to identify the big questions in education. It is only by responding to these that the relevance and impact of research to education policy and practice will be enhanced. We look forward to welcoming our many delegates to the conference.”

The event will be followed by the launch of an inaugural international summer school for doctoral students, also hosted by the Laboratory for Educational Theory.

For further information, visit the website: www.ioe.stir.ac.uk/research/LETConference.php


NHS Quality Strategy: an opportunity for research and education?

Date released: Thursday 24 June 2010

Developed healthcare organisations worldwide recognise that in complex systems there are deficiencies in patient safety and quality of care.  In response, the Government aims to ensure that Scotland’s healthcare system is a world leader in quality and safety.   The recent launch of The Healthcare Quality Strategy for NHS Scotland (2010) sets out the quality ambitions to deliver mutually beneficial, safe and effective health care.  Educational and research developments will be required to deliver the quality agenda.

In collaboration with the Institute for People-Centred Healthcare Management, the Department of Nursing and Midwifery has developed a Strategy to contribute to education and research in quality improvement.  A key event in shaping that strategy is the Quality Improvement workshop taking place in the Iris Murdoch Centre, on Monday 28 June.  This unique event is being attended by many of Scotland’s leaders in Healthcare Quality. 

The main aim of the workshop is to identify the educational and research needs emerging from the NHS Scotland Quality Strategy, so that appropriate academic activity can be developed.  The session has attracted professionals from various groups and organisations, including NES, QIS and Board Level NHS Highland, Forth Valley and Western Isles.

Lecturer Michelle Beattie said: “There has been a keen response to attend, which demonstrates the timeliness of this exciting event.  We already have many educational resources and research activity going on in relation to the quality agenda, but the workshop will enable us to focus and prioritise this activity to meet strategic needs. ”

Colin Brown, the Scottish Government’s Head of Quality and Safety, will open the session and Jane Murkin, Associate Director of Improvement Support, NHS Quality Improvement Scotland will give an overview of the development of the QI Hub. 

Attendees will be encouraged to outline and discuss their organisations’ perceived research and educational needs, after which Emma Watson, Director of Medical Education, NHS Highland and Clinical Lead HAI Quality Division SGHD will facilitate the feedback into a prioritised action plan.   Guests will then be taken to the Management Centre for lunch to close the event. 

For further information, please contact:  Michelle Beattie, Department of Nursing & Midwifery on: 01463 255622 or email:  michelle.beattie@stir.ac.uk


Aquaculture research conference examines future food security

Date released: Thursday 24 June 2010

Fish cages

Fish Farming must play a significant role in future food security.  This is one of the key messages which will be delivered at the second Aquaculture Research Conference to be held on Monday 28 June by the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture.

The message will be delivered by Peter Hajipieris from Bird’s Eye Iglo, who will outline this major food manufacturer’s and retailer’s perspective on the importance of sustainable fish farming.  Peter says: “Fish Farming as an industrial food production method is a relatively young industry compared to land based farming. For this reason, everyone involved with fish farming must work hard to ensure that the industry operates in a responsible manner consistent with sustainable fisheries development to ensure it offers us viable choice in meeting the challenges of food security.”

The human culture of fish and shellfish is a 3000 year old industry which has only experienced rapid development in the last 40 years. Today the industry supplies food product which accounts for half of the world’s fish consumption.

“Culture of fish offers the ability to control the quality of fish produced, which is an important retail requirement,” says Peter. “However, we must continue to support better understanding of resource utilisation for fish farming and educate the benefits of less wastage in the supply chain as well. For this reason, we are actively supporting the development of responsible fish farming standards across the industry. This includes academic institutions, industry organisations such as the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation and new bodies such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.”

Seventy postgraduate research students from twenty-two countries study at the world renowned Institute of Aquaculture and many of them will make Conference presentations on subjects which encompass all aspects of fish and shellfish culture. Their research assessments include the effects of disease, reproduction, ecotoxicology, environmental issues; large scale modelling and global food security issues.

Dr Richard Corner, the Institute’s conference organiser says: “As countries worldwide grapple with the challenge of increasing production whilst minimising harmful impacts, our students represent a significant research resource. Peter Hajipieris’ expertise is well recognised within industry and his experience and contributions to the sector are second to none. We are very pleased he has accepted our invitation to give a keynote speech at our conference and we anticipate a lively lecture and discussion.”

Further information:

The Institute of Aquaculture is the leading international centre in its field and the largest of its kind in the world. It brings together cross-disciplinary, world class researchers to meet the challenges facing aquaculture as it grows to meet global demands. Created 35 years ago, it now has over 100 staff and 140 postgraduate students.

This is the second research conference to be held at the Institute of Aquaculture. The first took place in October 2008 and was attended by 180 academics, students and Scottish industry and governmental representatives. There are currently 190 registrations for the 2010 conference. Conference web-page www.aqua.stir.ac.uk/news/research-conference-2010/

 


Science meets culture: scientists probe the evolution of culture at major science exhibition

Date released: Friday 25 June 2010

Christine Caldwell

A new ‘science of culture’ will feature in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, a ten-day extravaganza showcasing the UK’s cutting-edge science. Held in London’s Southbank Centre from 25 June, it is expected to attract over 10,000 visitors.

Scientists’ love of measurement, precision and tidy formulae might seem to make culture an unlikely target subject to study. Human cultures round the world - our varied customs, traditions, technologies and languages – are mind-bendingly complex, rich, and messy in their glorious detail. But now scientists are putting culture under the microscope.

Scientists from the Universities of Stirling, St Andrews, Edinburgh and Cambridge will show how they study the evolution of culture in humans and in animals, from meerkats to apes.

The researchers expect to attract the interest of all age levels by offering computer games played on iPads, videos and hands-on examples of their experiments. Visitors will be able to step into the shoes of a chimpanzee learning about tool use from other apes, or play their part in the building of ever-taller spaghetti towers.

Some parts of the ‘Culture Evolves’ exhibit are about answering the question, ‘where did our human cultural nature come from?’  From chimpanzees to meerkats to fish, the researchers will present some of their most fascinating discoveries showing that the roots of culture can be traced in animal traditions.

Other parts of the exhibit will focus on human culture, where visitors will be able to take part in the evolution of an artificial language, or in a tournament to discover the best learning strategies in a changing world, that last year saw the award of a €10,000 prize.

The Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, which is free to attend, is at the heart of See Further: The Festival of Science + Arts at Southbank Centre which celebrates the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society.

For further information about the Festival please visit: http://seefurtherfestival.org.

More details, including downloadable images, videos, background information, related links and blogs are available via www.cultureevolves.org

The University of Stirling's contribution is led by Dr Christine Caldwell (pictured), with human cumulative culture (‘spaghetti tower’ experiment)


Stirling launches Health Research Master's

Photo of Dr Tessa Parkes Date released: Tuesday 29 June 2010

The University of Stirling is inviting applications to a new multi-disciplinary Master's in Health Research, which will meet the need for a rigorous, high-quality, interdisciplinary research training programme in Scotland.

Dr Tessa Parkes, the Programme Director (pictured), says: “Current policy and practice developments are placing greater emphasis on the Clinical Academic Career pathway, meaning there is an increasing need for health professionals to be involved in a range of research, evaluation, service audit or governance activities.

“The aim of the Master's (MRes) in Health Research programme is to develop skilled and knowledgeable healthcare researchers who are able to understand and use research techniques appropriate to their practice or subject area. We have placed a strong emphasis on the application of knowledge and skills, to build capacity and capability in individuals - and the healthcare workforce more generally - by promoting lifelong learning.”

The programme can be taken as an advanced qualification in its own right, or as a preparation for doctoral level study. Full-time students will be expected to take between 12-18 months to complete the Master's programme, depending on the nature of the research dissertation. Part-time students are expected to finish within 3 years.

Three bursaries, worth £3,600 each, are available for prospective students on the programme, to help with tuition fees.

Stand-alone modules will be available for those interested in Continuing Professional Development, and there are also Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma routes. The Nursing and Midwifery Department at Stirling also offers a portfolio of postgraduate qualifications, including the Masters in Advanced Practice.

Programme information on the Master's in Health Research can be found at: www.nm.stir.ac.uk/applicants-pg/masters-health-research.php