Reporter 422, 8 June 1998

University gets down to business

A new business magazine, Yorkshire Post Business, features an article by the Vice-Chancellor on the future challenges facing the University in an increasingly competitive academic environment.

Professor Alan Wilson stresses the importance of a businesslike approach to attract the resources to achieve academic objectives and create demand for degree programmes and research. In addition, the opportunities engendered by new projects such as the Leeds University Business School and electronic infrastructure, provided by the Virtual Science Park, are cited as major assets to the University’s future education and training concerns.

Following extensive media coverage last week, reviews on the actions of the Leeds 13, a group of fine art students who fooled art critics into believing they went on a Spanish holiday as an exhibition of conceptual art, remain mixed. Letters appeared in The Guardian praising the students’ judgement and a London barrister, in a letter to The Times, was so impressed by the hoax he offered the students a small sum to pay for materials.

However, the THES questioned how such a piece of art will be examined and the YEP claimed the hoax will ‘ruin it for future students’ as local businesses will be sceptical of approaches by students, in the future, for contributions. The students themselves were interviewed by Cosmo Landesman in the Sunday Times and they wrote an article in The Guardian revealing their views on the reactions to their work.

An article in The Independent on exam stress featured comments by the University’s senior student counsellor Nigel Humphreys. He said that stress amongst very academically able students is high as many fear they will disappoint their parents. The article was enhanced with a photograph of Leeds students working towards exam success.

Professor Peter Bonsall of the Institute of Transport Studies was interviewed live on BBC TV’s One O’Clock News regarding a new transport scheme launched in Leeds. The High Occupancy Vehicle lane, introduced on a busy city bound road, allows cars with more than one occupant to escape congestion whilst single occupant cars are left waiting in traffic.

And finally, staff from the School of Earth Sciences and the University rugby team joined up with a YTV film crew to demonstrate how earthquakes are produced, for a new childrens’ TV programme called ‘The Big Bang Earthquake’. Staff stood on a wooden raft whilst members of the rugby team, dressed in full kit, tugged at the ropes to the raft to simulate how earthquakes can be produced by a slippage between rock strata. Filming took place beside a seismometer in the University grounds so that monitoring procedures could also be shown.

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