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News archive for September 2003

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Postal Workers Ballot for Strike Action

Royal Mail staff have begun voting on a national postal strike after the collapse of talks with management over a pay deal.

Commenting on the approach of the first national postal strike in seven years, Dr Gregor Gall, a Reader in Industrial Relations at the University of Stirling said:

“Despite the recent lull in industrial conflict in the Royal Mail since mid-2001, it appears that postal workers are due to return to their combative traditions of seeking higher pay to offset the low pay they currently receive for working long and unsociable hours.

“This will be taking place under the leadership of new left-wing full-time officers like Billy Hayes, General Secretary, and Dave Ward, Deputy General Secretary.”

Dr Gall is the author of ‘The Meaning of Militancy? Postal Workers and Industrial Relations’, which was published in June this year. The book examines the history of industrial relations in the Royal Mail from the early 1980s to 2003. It highlights the relatively militant response of British postal workers to the increased commercialisation of their industry.

Dr Gall said: “By comparing this response to that of postal workers in nine other major industrial countries, my study provides an explanation of why UK postal workers have been relatively successful in resisting management techniques and privatisation through militancy and oppositional behaviour.”

The book also focuses on the national union leadership’s move to the left in recent years.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
+ 44 (0) 1786 467058

Nurses Encouraged Back to Work

Stirling University's Nursing and Midwifery Department (Highland Campus) launched an innovative online course to help tackle the nation's nursing shortage at the Inverness Marriott, today Tuesday August 26.

"Return to Practice" is aimed at previously trained nurses who wish to return to the workplace and those who wish to reactivate a dormant registration.

The theoretical part of the course will be delivered by web-based learning to make it accessible to all nurses regardless of their location; while the practical element will be undertaken through work placements within the nurses’ localities.

Nursing and Midwifery lecturer at the University's Highland campus, Isobel Chisholm said: “We expect this course to be in high demand. Our equivalent residential course has always been over-subscribed and the on-line delivery will make it accessible to nurses living in remote or rural areas who have so far been unable to fit studying into their busy work and private lives.

“The course will benefit patients, nurses and clinical areas both in private and public sectors, where recruitment and retention of trained staff is becoming a national problem.”

The course is the University's response to a national drive by the Government, not only to encourage registered nurses to return to the work place following a break in service, but also to promote lifelong learning. Everyone passing the course will rejoin the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Professional Register and will gain access to an accredited degree unit.

The project won an Innovation Award from Stirling University Research and Enterprise (SURE) in April 2003. The award provided almost £10,000 in funding towards the design and marketing of the course.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
+ 44 (0) 1786 467058

Hetherington Memorial Lecture

This year's Hetherington Memorial Lecture at Stirling University will be given by journalist, author and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland on 22 October.

Freedland was named Columnist of the Year in the 2002 What the Papers Say annual awards. He will give the annual public lecture, organised by the Stirling Media Research Institute, on Wednesday 22nd at 5.30pm.

The annual lecture is named after the late Alastair Hetherington. The former editor of The Guardian and Controller of BBC Scotland was the first Research Professor of Media Studies at the University of Stirling.

Previous speakers include Sheena McDonald, Jon Snow, Alan Rusbridger and Peter Preston.

Media Relations Manager
+44 (0)1786 467058

Environmental History Centre Launched

Academics at the Universities of Stirling and St Andrews will this week officially launch a joint research centre for environmental history, with special reference to the history of waste.

Established in October 2002 with a grant of £900,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), the Research Centre for Environmental History brings together historians, environmental scientists, ecologists, philosophers and economists from both institutions.

Determined to address both cultural and biological diversity through time, the centre will focus on the theme of waste and wastelands for the next four years.

Acting Associate Director for the Centre, Dr Richard Oram from the University of Stirling said:

“Environmental History addresses human interaction with the natural world  through time. Given that it is generally agreed that human impact over the millennia is one of the major causes of environmental change, it is imperative that we understand not only what that impact has been, but also why it happened. Understanding the context and processes of change is vital in informing future strategic decisions that will determine the form and condition of our environment in the years ahead.”

The group will engage in six integrated projects over the next four years including the language of waste; cultural soils; recycling and trash culture and the management of household waste in Britain.

Acting Director for the Centre, Dr John Clark from the University of St Andrews said:

“The Centre for Environmental History will establish a unique base for international scholarship in an important field of study. Through a historical study of waste, the Centre will draw together a number of academic disciplines while addressing a fundamental human activity. Historically, the many meanings of waste include unoccupied or uncultivated land, wilderness and desert, in addition to objects or materials that are discarded or regarded as valueless."

The launch will be held in the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh on Thursday 11 September between 7-9pm.

Speakers at the event will include leading environmentalist Sir Crispin Tickell and founder of St Andrews Institute for Environmental History Professor Chris Smout, who is Historiographer Royal in Scotland.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

Dementia Studies by E-Degree

The University of Stirling has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to dementia education and research by launching a new distance learning course for professionals working in the field.

The post-graduate Dementia Studies programme aims to address critical issues in Dementia Care and Service Delivery. Course Director Dr Anthea Innes said:

“Many industrialised countries have an increasing older population. An estimated 60,000 people in Scotland have dementia. The prevalence of dementia is associated with older age, but dementia can also affect younger people. Consequently many social workers, health practitioners and voluntary staff have regular contact with people with dementia and their carers.”

Students will explore the experience of dementia and will address issues such as diagnosis; assessment and care management; population profiles and service development.

Apart from an introductory residential, all the module teaching will be delivered using text based materials. In addition, a specially designed Internet web-based site will allow student interaction and tutorial support to be given.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
+ 44 (0) 1786 467058

Michael Howard to Give Williamson Memorial Lecture

The Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC, MP will speak on the topic of Britain's Public Services: Rhetoric and Delivery at the University of Stirling on Thursday 25 September.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, the Shadow Chancellor said: "Labour were elected on a platform of transforming the state of our public services through a programme of investment and reform. It is time to measure their record against those promises, to ask why in so many cases they have failed to live up to expectations and to suggest ways forward for the future. That is what this lecture will aim to do."

The lecture has been organised by the Andrew John Williamson Memorial Trust.

The Trust was established by an endowment from the parents of Andrew John Williamson. Andrew died as a result of a car accident in 1981 while a Politics student at the University of Stirling.

The lecture is free of charge and open to the public. It will be held in the Logie Lecture Theatre commencing at 6.30pm.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

Andrew Miller Building

The University of Stirling is to honour former Principal and Vice-Chancellor Andrew Miller CBE by naming a building after him.

The Andrew Miller Building is situated next to the MacRobert Arts Centre. It houses the University’s main social space and is a place for staff and students to congregate. Its attractive glass roof was added during Professor Miller’s seven-year principalship (1994-2001). The Andrew Miller Building also comprises the University Library, shops, Chaplaincy Centre and Robbins Centre.

Perhaps the biggest legacy of Professor Miller’s time at Stirling is the major increase of buildings on campus. These include projects such as the R G Bomont Nursing & Midwifery Building and the Court Room annex to Cottrell. Other buildings initiated during his time include the Robertson Trust Swimming Pool within the National Swimming Academy, the Iris Murdoch Building and the MacRobert refurbishment.

The naming ceremony will take place on Wednesday 1 October at 12 noon. Welcome and introductions will be performed by Professor Christine Hallett, Acting Principal and Vice-Chancellor. This will be followed by a speech by Professor Miller.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

History of the Women's Game

Date released - 30 September 2003

Women's football is the fastest growing sport in Britain and is played by almost 10,000 women and girls in Scotland. Despite the overwhelming love of football in Scottish society we know almost nothing about the history of the women's game.

Jessica Macbeth, a PhD student in the University of Stirling's Department of Sports Studies, was recently awarded a grant by the Alumni Projects Fund to assist with the costs of historical research into women's football in Scotland.

The grant has enabled Jessica to trace the development of women's football in Scotland by pulling together information that already exists as well as conducting original historical research. Jessica has travelled throughout Scotland to meet with and interview past and present players and has made a number of visits to the Scottish Football Museum archives to consult a variety of important documents, including interviews conducted with past players, Scottish Football Association (SFA) minutes, sports journals and press cuttings. She has also visited Leicester to access material held by a fellow researcher in the field.

Jessica said: "The research so far has been extremely interesting. Evidence has been found of women playing some form of folk football as early as the 1600s. The research reveals that throughout the development of the sport, women have encountered varying degrees of hostility in Scottish society particularly from the press and the SFA. In fact in 1921 women were banned from playing football on the grounds of clubs affiliated to the SFA. This ban was in place until the early 1970s when the SFA reluctantly offered 'official' recognition to the women's game. The women's game certainly has a colourful history, knowledge of which will contribute to the growing literature on the historical and social significance of sport in Scotland."

Jessica hopes that her research will be key in giving women's football in Scotland the attention it is long due.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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