Reporter 416, 9 March 1998

News in brief

Dieting daughters

Mothers are central in shaping their daughters’ attitudes towards food and dieting, according to research co-authored by Leeds psychologist Dr Andrew Hill. The report, published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology, investigated maternal influences on weight and dieting concerns at a young age. The research found that dieting girls have mothers who think their daughters are not as attractive as others, and this influences their attitudes and behaviour.

The findings are valuable at a time when levels of obesity and weight control are increasing. Dr Hill said: “Parents need sensible advice on how their attitudes and behaviour can influence their children.”

Tuition protest

Student protests on the campus, including a 24-hour occupation of the Roger Stevens Building, took place last Wednesday in support of a National Union of Students day of action over tuition fees.

The University issued a statement on the issue: “We sympathise with the students’ concerns about tuition fees and the maintenance grant. Their battle, however, is with the Government, not us. “We have a legal requirement to collect the fees and failure to do so would have very serious financial implications for us.

“Funding figures announced this week assume that this University will collect more than £2.5m in fees from students next year, rising to some £7.5m in three years’ time; if we failed to collect them, our only other option is hundreds of redundancies and that is out of the question.”

Meeting the Minister

The first four students to complete the UK’s first postgraduate diploma in Public Communication received their certificates from Peter Mandelson, Minister without Portfolio, at a presentation held in the Cabinet Office.

This unique diploma for the public sector was developed by Trinity and All Saints University College in association with the Central Office of Information. The modules cover government press work, public relations, marketing, law and communication management.

War database

The University Library’s special collections web site now includes the first fruits of a project to turn the Liddle Collection into a fully searchable online database catalogue. The Collection contains personal papers, letters and diaries of men and women who served in the First World War. So far the papers of men who served in the Navy and in Africa have been catalogued in the database. This is the second special collections database to be made publicly available in this way, the first being a catalogue of the Library’s 17th and 18th century manuscript English verse.

New Trinity principal

Dr Michael Coughlan has been appointed the new Principal and Chief Executive of Trinity and All Saints University College. He will take up the post in September, taking over from Dr Gerard Turnbull.

Dr Coughlan has been Assistant Principal at the College since 1991 and was previously Dean of the Faculty of the Arts at University of Wales, Lampeter.

A nutritious course

University experts in the psycho-biology of appetite, anorexia nervosa and diabetes will be among speakers at this year’s Leeds course in clinical nutrition. The programme runs from 15 to 18 September and enquiries should be made to the course secretary in the School of Continuing Education on ext 3236 or email

Weetwood profits

Weetwood Hall has completed its fourth full year of trading and produced a net profit of £209,000, it was reported to Council last month. This is significantly higher than the previous year’s £84,000 profit. Weetwood Hall continues to be seen as one of the best conference hotels in the area.

Times gone by

The University is hosting this year’s annual conferences of the Economic History Society (3 – 5 April) and the Urban History Group (2 – 3 April). Mothering and the welfare state, the popularity of films in the 1930s and urban pollution in France will be among the topics covered.

Drama in Nigeria

Co-operative farming and children’s education were two of the issues discussed by a British Council sponsored working seminar on Theatre for Development held in Nigeria in February and chaired by Professor Martin Banham. Two village communities hosted the TFD team which included delegates from Nigeria, the UK, the USA and five other African nations. They explored the working methodology and potential of TFD through discussion and fieldwork.

Four of Professor Banham’s former PhD students from the Workshop Theatre of the School of English who are now active in the TFD field took part in the seminar. They were Professor Olu Obafemi (University of Ilorin, Nigeria), Dr Asheri Kilo (University of Buea, Cameroon), Dr Jumai Ewu (Nene College) and Dr Oga Steve Abah (Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria).

Research funding

Major research grants worth a total of more than £2m were made to eight research teams at the University between October and December. Among the grants was £325,000 from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to Professor Peter Selby in the Research School of Medicine for the Cancer Medicine Research Unit and £188,000 from the Wellcome Trust to Professor John Trinick in Human Biology who will investigate the molecular origins of muscle elasticity. The full list of recipients of major research grants is available on the Reporter web site.

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Journals on web

An increasing number of academic journals are now available on the World Wide Web. The University Library has set up electronic access to around 400 journals which are listed on its Web pages at – in some cases a username and password may be needed. One large collection is provided by the IDEAL service, which provides access to over 170 journals published by Academic Press. The entire body of journals can be searched at

Transport MSc

A new MSc in Transport Planning is being launched by the Institute for Transport Studies. The degree will be available full time over 12 months or part time over two or three years and will enable students to specialise in the field of transport planning while benefiting from the wide range of modules provided by the Institute. Professor Peter Bonsall is the course leader of the degree, which starts in September.

Tribute to Child

A collection of specially commissioned chapters from key researchers in the field of educational psychology has been compiled to mark the retirement of Professor Dennis Child. Directions in Educational Psychology, edited by Professor Diane Shorrocks-Taylor, acknowledges the major contribution Emeritus Professor Child has made to various aspects of the subject throughout his career.

He first published in 1964 in the British Journal of Education Psychology. He became Professor of Educational Psychology at Leeds in 1981. In 1997 he was awarded an OBE for services to deaf people – he persuaded the University to begin courses for teachers of deaf people with a compulsory commitment to sign language and took up the voluntary position of Chairman of the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People in 1989.

The four sections of the book represent a research area to which he contributed. In the appreciation, Raymond Cattell says: “Every profession is likely to find one member who contributes more than many others. Such a one is Dennis Child.”

Engineering award

Dr Michael Brown from the School of Mechanical Engineering has received the Hartree Premium Award from the Institution of Electrical Engineers. The award is one of only a small number of citations presented each year for excellence in research work published in the Institution’s journal. Dr Brown was nominated by the editorial panel for research into artificial neural network modelling. The award was presented by Professor Gray, outgoing chairman of the Institution’s Control Division.

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