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Fry to teach at Oxford

Oxford University have recently announced that Stephen Fry will be the next Cameron Mackintosh visiting Professor at St Catherine’s College.

The Cameron Mackintosh Drama Fund was established by Cameron Mackintosh in 1988 to promote and develop theatre and the performing arts.

The aim of the Visiting Professorship is to promote interest in the study and practice of contemporary theatre at the University of Oxford. Previous visiting professors include the likes of Sir Ian Mckellan, Sir Patrick Stewart and Kevin Spacey.» >

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‘You said, we did’

The University has been listening to students’ feedback and has implemented several new ideas to improve student experience.

Feedback was collected from student course reps, RUSU, the National Student Survey and various other surveys and questionnaires that took place in the last academic year.

One of the most notable things that has been introduced is 24/7 study space ‘The Study’ which was created after a £240,000 investment from the University.

The University are also making it more affordable for its students to continue their studies at Reading and a 10% discount will be offered to all UoR students who wish to enrol on a postgraduate course.» >

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Eating at outlets on campus is not friendly for student budget

Many students choose to eat on campus, as not only is it close and convenient but the food is supposed to be catered for a student budget. However, one of the busiest places for students to eat on campus, Mojo’s, has raised its prices and has left some students feeling agitated.

The increase in prices has caused a stir amongst some students and Danielle Maguire, a second year Chemistry student, said: “the increase in prices at Mojo’s seems unfair when the quality of the food has not improved.” Another student who commented on the quality of food was Amy Tuson, a second year Law student.» >

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International student fingerprint scan-dal

Some Universities in the UK are introducing new attendance monitoring measures which make international students participate in fingerprint scans in order to prove their attendance to lectures.

Both the University of Sunderland and the University of Ulster have already adopted the practice. Ulster University has defended this decision as: “In response to changing UK Border Agency attendance monitoring requirements”

On 30th November 2009, in an attempt to counter the influx of “fake” student visa applications, the UK Border Agency introduced fingerprint and facial scans for Tier 4 (adult student) visas, also known as biometric data.» >

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Vice-Chancellor defends University pay policy

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading Sir David Bell has defended the University’s pay policy after it emerged that the University pays nearly 10% of its staff less than the living wage.

Figures obtained by Spark* through a Freedom of Information request have revealed that 378 employees are paid less than £7.45 an hour by the University, of this number, 178 are employed on permanent contracts.

The living wage, promoted by the Living Wage Foundation, is an informal benchmark calculated on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living.» >

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Problems with parking, permits and potholes

For many students at the University of Reading, driving is not only a source of independence, but also a huge convenience.

On-campus parking, however, is an issue facing those students who drive. With a grand total of twenty-four car parks on site, it seems surprising that the University is so reluctant to allocate spaces to students. Indeed, although parking permits can be applied for, the University’s website notes that: “these are only usually awarded to students with mobility issues or with other extenuating circumstances.”

The University must not only recognise that driving is an opportunity to become independent and an adult, but also an increasingly popular option for students living away from home.» >

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‘Best job prospects’ for social science grads

A recent report using data on graduate destinations from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows that social science graduates are more likely to be in paid employment than arts or humanities graduates. The researchers define social sciences as including economics, management, business studies, anthropology, sociology, criminology, human geography, media studies, town planning, education and politics. Professor James Wilsdon, chairman of the Campaign for Social Science study said, “Teaching and training the next generation of social scientists is an investment that will repay itself many times over”.» >

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Help mark Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance was on the 20th November. This day of remembrance, remembered those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, hatred, and fear of transgender and gender non-conformists. It brought to attention the violence that those who are transgendered have to endure continuously.

Hate crimes towards those who are transgendered have increased in recent years with it having one of the highest percentages of homicide, sexual offences and other offences.» >

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