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Issue 477, 18 February 2002

In the news

"In terms of population, where is the centre of Britain?" asks the Daily Mail. Geography professor Daniel Dorling has calculated this before for the Office for National Statistics: "Using information available from 1901-1995, it became apparent that the population centre has moved steadily southward and slightly to the east over the past century." It now lies in Appleby Parva, Leicestershire.

As speculation over student evaluation forms continues, Leeds social psychologist Dr Zazie Todd thinks they can reveal more about gender bias than teaching quality. "Feedback forms are part and parcel of a growing amount of paperwork academics are expected to deal with," she writes in the Times Higher Education Supplement. The results do demonstrate bias, as 'students give highest ratings to academics who are the same gender as themselves'.

The new non-woven fabric created by manufacturers and researchers at Leeds, (lead story Reporter 476), featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post. The material is made through hydo-entanglement and is 'ideal for use in sportswear', explains Dr Steve Russell.

Stress levels amongst students may be increasing, according to a survey by the Association of University and College Counsellors. "Being a student is quite different now from 20 years ago," explained the head of the University counselling service Nigel Humphrys. In the Sunday Times he described the impact of a shift to modular courses and more sets of exams for students. Measures to tackle student stress are being taken at Leeds. Dr John Davy in computing surveyed his students and modified courses to reduce their stress levels.

When listing 50 reasons for Leeds' greatness the Leeds Guide included the University's concrete campus. "These surreally-hanging semi-organic concrete growths serve both to imbue freshers with a timely sense of academic inferiority, and as a fertile source of architectural apocrypha."

The universities of Leeds and Bradford will form one of the government's eight new national cancer centres, as featured in Reporter 476. The Yorkshire Post highlighted the boost to medical research in the region and the value of the National Translational Cancer Research Network (NTRAC) in giving patients 'better access to new and experimental treatments as well as speeding up the process for getting scientific breakthroughs from laboratory to bedside.' The Yorkshire Post featured the success of Professor Phil Quirke's work on rectal cancer, evidence of Leeds' strong track record in cancer research.

Former Pro-Vice-Chancellor and new chief executive of the British Library, Lynne Brindley, was profiled in the Financial Times' 'the business'. With experience in the private and public sector, she said: "I got a little fed up being told everything was run a lot better in the private sector. I wanted to see for myself." Her management skills are praised by keeper of the Brotherton Library, Jan Wilkinson: "She sees the big picture. Most in the profession are stuck in the detail."

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