Reporter 425, 19 October 1998

In the news

What makes ordinary people tick?

The Daily Mail and Yorkshire Evening Post reported on a £1.3m research project headed by Professor Fiona Williams to examine how ordinary people run their lives. The project, first publicised on the front page of Reporter 423, will assess family life and morals. It is hoped that the information collated by the study will help in implementing major reforms of the welfare state.

The resignation of the Duchess of Kent from her post as University Chancellor generated local media interest last week. Both BBC’s Look North and YTV’s Calendar reported on her departure. Roger Gair, Deputy Secretary, spoke on Look North about her long-running involvement with the University. The Yorkshire Evening Post and Yorkshire Post also covered the story.

Professor Phil Taylor, Director of the Institute of Communications Studies, featured in the first edition of a new Times Higher Education Supplement series looking at lecturers teaching styles. A THES journalist listened to him lecturing a group of students on the MA Communications Studies programme. It was reported in Star-turn that his relaxed style, using few overheads and allowing himself to be veered off course by questions, had developed with experience. Professor Taylor said that he realised the benefits of a less structured approach to lecturing whilst teaching in the United States.

The Financial Times on October 12 reported on a new form of postgraduate training developed through University collaboration with local engineering company Filtronic. The electronics group, set up by University professor David Rhodes, was experiencing problems hiring people with the necessary expertise in physics and maths from the engineering and academic communities. To bridge this gap, the company’s graduate engineers are being offered three year MSc courses, accredited by the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Teaching will be done in-house, jointly by University lecturers and Filtronic’s own staff.

And finally, the Yorkshire Evening Post and BBC’s Look North reported on research by Professor of Cancer Epidemiology, David Forman, to see if there is a link between brain cancer in children and nitrates in drinking water. The research follows an earlier University study which found a link between increased levels of nitrate in water and childhood diabetes. Professor Forman said there is no cause for public health concern at the moment, the team need more information to prove whether a clear link exists.

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