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News archive for September 2009

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News Archive

September 2009

Scottish football’s future goes under the spotlight

Stirling students are the fairest of them all

Does your baby have a sense of humour?

University report calls ‘last orders’ for alcohol advertising

Quality improvement at the bedside

University of Stirling is Scottish University of the Year

Journalists provide their expert insight

Sports scholars compete at home and away

University of Stirling provides financial help to returning students

Champion university golfers accept Canadian call

Wheelchair tennis star hopes to make a racket at Stirling

Scottish football fans can be in dream land

University opens Labyrinth as a place of peace and reflection

The power of being positive

Britain’s welfare state: force for good or creator of social inequality?

Scottish football’s future goes under the spotlight

Date released : Thursday 3 September 2009

Football fans are to have a unique opportunity to quiz the people who run Scottish football, including top men at the SFA, SPL and SFL. Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, the University of Stirling, prides itself on fostering discussion on key sporting issues and on Monday 28 September it will get the ball rolling on the future of the beautiful game by hosting a public debate.

Gordon Smith stands on the hallowed Hampden turfAhead of former First Minister Henry McLeish’s eagerly anticipated Scottish Football review, the University will host a question-time style debate featuring the main men in Scottish football.

Henry McLeish will be joined in a hard-hitting panel which features Scottish Football Association Chief Executive Gordon Smith (pictured left), Scottish Premier League Operations Director Iain Blair and Scottish Football League Chief Executive David Longmuir.

PFA Scotland Chief Executive Fraser Wishart and Supporters Direct Development Manager James Proctor complete the top table. BBC Scotland pundit Jim Spence will chair the discussion at this one-off free public event to address the burning issues.

Jim Spence said: “This debate provides you with the perfect opportunity to put your views to the people in the positions of power - and contribute to the way forward. Perhaps your football club can be held up as a shining example of the way to go or maybe you feel a summer time switch could lift the clouds. Whatever your opinion, this is a great chance to air it.”

Stephen Morrow, Head of the Department of Sports Studies at the University of Stirling and leading expert on football finance, said: “As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, we are committed to encouraging discussion about key sporting issues and to furthering dialogue among relevant sporting communities and stakeholders. The ongoing review into Scottish football, coupled with well publicised challenges faced by the game makes a debate about where Scottish football goes next both timely and necessary. The aim of this event is to encourage debate about possible solutions to some of the present challenges.”

'Scottish Football under the spotlight’ will be held at the macrobert Arts Centre, on the University of Stirling campus, on Monday 28 September, kicking off at 6.30pm.

Tickets are free, but limited, so to make sure you don’t miss out, confirm your attendance via e-mail to or call 01786 466 498. Please provide your name, contact details, a suggested question for the panel if you wish and which team/organisation you represent if appropriate.

Background information:

  • 'Scottish Football under the spotlight’ is the first event in a number of seminars, workshops and high profile speeches organised by the Department of Sports Studies as part of Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence endeavour to lead and promote sporting discussion.

For more information, contact Sports Communications Officer David Christie on 01786 466 653 or email


Stirling students are the fairest of them all

Date released : Friday 4 September 2009

Arsenal striker Eduardo’s debatable dive has raised questions on the integrity of footballers in recent weeks but Stirling students have helped to restore faith in the beautiful game. The Croatian frontman’s antics in a champion’s league qualifier – flopping to the floor to win a penalty against Celtic - was just one of a series of recent incidents including post-match brawls and foul-mouthed rants.

Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the start of FIFA’s Fair Play Days with President Sepp Blatter urging everyone to put fair play ‘before anything else in football’.

And footballers from the University of Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, have already been leading by example by collecting two fair play accolades.

The first team were singled out by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) as the best behaved in the East of Scotland leagues in season 2008/09 while the University’s Caledonian side’s respectful attitude earned them the W D Wilson Good Conduct Trophy.

Performance Manager Raleigh Gowrie presents the W D Wilson Good Conduct trophy to current captain Graham Anderson

Over the course of the season, penalty points are designated by the SFA against every possible offence from offensive language to simulation and time wasting. With as much as 12 points dished out for a red card and three for a cautionary yellow, Stirling’s East of Scotland First Division side recorded a miserly 93 points all season.

This averaged out at roughly 2.5 points per match or equivalent to one yellow card a game. The University was commended alongside Scottish Premier League sides Celtic and St Mirren, while on the flip side, Heart of Midlothian picked up a £50,000 fine for their indiscipline.

Stirling, which introduced men’s football scholarships last season, has four teams playing in university competitions as well as in senior and amateur leagues across Scotland. In 1988/89, Stirling’s Caledonian side were the inaugural winners of the Good Conduct Trophy, named after former Caledonian League Secretary Drummond Wilson. They have now earned it a record 11 times - a feat not lost on last season’s captain Steve McFadden considering the antagonism they regularly face.

He said: “Some of the teams we come across are full of big men who just want to kick us so keeping our discipline is hard, but we don’t rise to it and let our football do the talking instead. While we don’t aim to win the Good Conduct Trophy, we know it is expected of us to act appropriately as we are representing the University. And it is always better to have 11 players on the park if we want to win the game.”

Peter Bilsborough, Director of Sports Development at the University of Stirling, said: “We set out at the start of the season to play the game in the appropriate manner, respecting the rules, our opponents and the match officials. I am delighted to see the players did exactly this and were rightfully rewarded. It is a great credit to the players, to their discipline, application and overall approach to sport which is very much in keeping with the ethos of sport at the University of Stirling, combining performance with integrity.”

Background information:

  • The image shows University of Stirling Sports Performance Manager Raleigh Gowrie presenting current first team captain Graham Anderson with the W D Wilson Good Conduct Trophy.
  • FIFA’s Fair Play campaign runs from tomorrow (Saturday) until Wednesday 9 September. For more information, see

For more information, contact Sports Communications Officer David Christie on 01786 466 653 or email

Does your baby have a sense of humour?Dr Elena Hoicka is researching babies' humour

Date released: Tuesday 8 September, 2009

Does your baby know when you are joking? Or recognise when something is amusing? And when it comes to communicating, how does your baby actually learn words? If you’ve ever wondered what your offspring makes of new experiences and how he or she adapts to them, you might want to help with research which is underway at the University of Stirling.

The Psychology Department’s newly created Centre for Memory and Learning in the Lifespan is beginning a study on how babies and toddlers learn about the social world. Researchers at the Centre’s Baby and Toddler lab are looking for children from zero to three years of age to participate with their parents in a series of child development studies.

Dr Elena Hoicka (pictured), lecturer in Psychology explains: “My research focuses on how humour develops in infants and toddlers – whether infants know when others are joking or whether pre-school children are capable of creating and delivering their own jokes. However I'm also interested in pretending, parent-child interactions, and toddlers' understanding of others’ intentions.”

The study’s findings will be very useful for several reasons. First, humour is an important aspect of life – it helps to create social bonds, cope with stress, and can even benefit education. However we know very little about how humour develops in the first place and the study will help answer this question. It will also highlight the importance of parent-child interactions – not only for children’s humour development, but for children’s understanding of other people’s minds.

Parents taking part will be asked to make a one-off visit of around half-an-hour. You will be met at the macrobert art centre and taken to the nearby Baby and Toddler lab, where you will be asked to read a book, play a game or watch a video with your child.

The research is designed to be an enjoyable experience for both babies and their mums – or dads – and as a ‘thank you’ from the researchers you will receive a macrobert voucher. This will entitle you to one hour at the Treehouse crèche, a cinema ticket, or purchases at the café or for event tickets, to the value of £4.

For more information on Dr Hoicka’s work see:

If you have any questions about her research, email:

If you wish to take part in the study, register at:

For media enquiries or images, please contact Andy Mitchell, Head of Communications on: 01786 467058 or email:

University report calls ‘last orders’ for alcohol advertising Professor Gerard Hastings, Director of the Institute of Social Marketing

Date released : Tuesday 8 September, 2009

Many lives across Scotland are blighted by high levels of drinking, with alcohol-driven domestic violence, crime and anti-social behaviour apparent in many communities. This issue forms the background to new research conducted by the University of Stirling.

Carried out on behalf of the British Medical Association by Professor Gerard Hastings, Director of the University’s Institute of Social Marketing (pictured), the report, published today, highlights that the nation’s fixation with alcohol may be exacerbated by the drinks industry’s heavy promotion of its products.

Between 1992 and 2006 across the UK, household expenditure on all alcoholic drinks increased by 81%. However the spend is traditionally greater in Scotland. And while it acknowledges that alcohol is the country’s favourite drug, the BMA believes that the problem is increased by pro-alcohol messages, marketing and behaviour – which is why the organisation is calling for a total ban on alcohol advertising.

Dr Brian Keighley, Chairman of the BMA in Scotland, says: “Widespread marketing and promotion of alcohol products, particularly at sporting and entertainment events, give alcohol an air of innocence which it should not have, particularly given the dire health consequences of heavy alcohol consumption.”

This is a reference to the fact that alcohol is the third leading contributor to disease in developed countries and is related to more than 60 types of disease disability and injury.

Of the report’s findings, Professor Hastings says: “Considering the alcohol industry spends £800 million a year in promoting alcohol in the UK it’s no surprise that we see it everywhere – on TV, in magazines, on billboards, as part of music festival or football sponsorship deals, in internet pop-ups and on social networking sites.

“Given adolescents often dislike the taste of alcohol, new products like alcopops and toffee vodka are developed and promoted which have greater appeal to young people. All these promotional activities serve to normalise alcohol as an essential part of everyday life so it’s hardly a surprise that young people are drawn to alcohol.”

The report entitled ‘Under the Influence – the damaging effect of alcohol marketing on young people’ renews calls for tough measures to address wider alcohol misuse problems. These include taxation at a UK level to be set higher than the rate of inflation; the number of existing alcohol outlets to be considered in planning and licence applications; and the introduction of a minimum price per unit on alcoholic drinks.

Referring to the latter measure, Professor Hastings commented: “The Scottish government is taking the courageous step of introducing minimum pricing for alcohol. This report heartily endorses this move and recommends that it should be applied to the whole of the UK.”

In addition, the report points out that until now, industry funded health education has served the needs of the alcohol industry, rather than public health. This echoes BMA Chairman Dr Keighley’s criticism of a drinks industry which advises our governments on alcohol reduction policies and funds health awareness campaigns.

The report recommends the introduction of a compulsory levy on the alcohol industry which would fund an independent health body to oversee alcohol related research, health promotion and policy advice.

To read the full BMA report, click on:

For further information or images, please contact Trudy Whyle or Andy Mitchell on: 01786 467058 or email:

Quality improvement at the bedside

Date released: Friday, 11 September 2009

Professor Angela Wallace

A leading Scottish health professional will reveal how nurses are revolutionising patient care in Scotland’s National Health Service.

Professor Angela Wallace, Director of Nursing at NHS Forth Valley (right), will deliver a lecture entitled Back to the Future: Caring for Patients, Leading the Profession at the University of Stirling on 15 September.

Professor Wallace, who is responsible for the leadership and direction of over 3,000 nurses and midwives, will talk about her strategy of putting patients at the heart of care and services, as well as her national leadership role for the delivery of the Scottish Government’s ‘Leading Better Care’ initiative.

She explained: “Our ‘improving patient care and experience’ strategy puts patients at the heart of care and services in NHS Forth Valley.

“Patients want respect and dignity, being listened to and communicated to in a way that allows them to make decisions about their care. Improving their care and experience is at the heart of everything we do.

“Scotland is now at the leading edge of quality improvement at the bedside as ‘Leading Better Care’ gives charge nurses and midwives an exciting and ground-breaking opportunity to deliver safe, effective and caring care. It ensures the quality of care for patients is of the highest standard, and the guardians of that quality are Senior Charge Nurses supported by NHS Scotland.”

Professor Wallace, who was appointed last year as an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling in recognition of her expertise, will speak on Tuesday 15 September 2009 at 4pm in Lecture Theatre A4 on its Stirling Campus.

The lecture is open to all. If you would like to reserve a place please contact Lynne Black at the University of Stirling on 01786 466345, or by email:

University of the Year

University of Stirling is Scottish University of the Year

Date released: Sunday, 13 September 2009

The University of Stirling has been named Scottish University of the Year by the Sunday Times newspaper, in recognition of the University’s “outstanding student experience and record for innovation and high quality teaching”.

Stirling jumped 10 places in The Sunday Times university league table published today (Sunday). Its rise from 42 to 32, its highest-ever ranking, followed excellent results in this year’s National Student Survey and a strong performance in last December’s research assessments.

It is the first time that the University of Stirling has won the award, and Professor Christine Hallett, Principal, said: “This is a superb accolade that underlines the overall quality of this University, and in particular the outstanding staff we have here.

“Our mission is to pursue world-class research, scholarship and learning, and the staff at the University of Stirling have worked extremely hard to raise standards. I am delighted that this award recognises their passion for innovation and excellence. We are now competing nationally and internationally with some of the best universities in the world.

“Students are at the heart of what we do and we provide one of the best all-round student experiences in the UK, with innovative and high quality teaching programmes that produce intellectually able graduates who are highly sought after by employers.”

The Sunday Times chose Stirling following in-depth research for its annual Sunday Times University Guide, which measures progress and standards in all of Britain’s universities.

A Sunday Times analysis of the latest National Student Survey results covers students’ views on teaching quality, assessment and feedback, the quality of learning resources and their overall satisfaction with university life. Since last year, Stirling’s score has risen from 74.1% to 78.7%, ranking it 23 in Britain and registering one of the biggest gains of any university in the UK.

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times University Guide, said: “Stirling richly deserves its award. It has provided a distinctive higher education for the past 40 years in a fantastic setting. Its designation as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence was an acknowledgement of one aspect of the high quality provision on offer to students. The Sunday Times award recognises Stirling’s offer to students on a much broader basis.

“High quality teaching is backed up by research demonstrating innovation and excellence across several subjects areas. The end result is highly employable graduates, who have benefitted from an outstanding student experience. No wonder they rate the university so highly.”

Tom Spencer, President of the University of Stirling Students’ Union, said: “Everyone at Stirling Students’ Union is delighted by the news, and warmly thanks The Sunday Times for their recognition.

“Stirling has demonstrated ever since its birth that it is not just one of the most dynamic and vibrant of the universities in Scotland, but across the UK. We are enormously proud of our relationship and role in working with the University in developing Stirling's leading record on widening access, excellence in sport and world class student satisfaction. For the future, we intend to continue building on this success; to better educate, develop and enrich our students’ lives."

Read more on the Sunday Times website


Journalists provide their expert insight

Date released: Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A Zimbabwean labelled an ‘enemy of the state’ and forced to flee the country will analyse the current power-sharing agreement in his homeland in a talk at the University of Stirling. He is one of two leading journalists providing an inside view of their profession next week.

Wilf Mbanga, founder and editor of The Zimbabwean and The Zimbabwean on Sunday, the nation’s largest circulation independent newspapers, will deliver a talk on Democracy, journalism and the search for a new Zimbabwe on 25 September.

A well-known opposition journalist, Mbanga’s non-profit weekly compact newspapers circulate in Zimbabwe and internationally, mainly in the UK and Southern Africa. Mbanga was notified by the government of Zimbabwe that, as a result of these writings, he was considered ‘an enemy of the state’ and was forced to leave the country. Mbanga’s safety remains in doubt should he ever return.

Mbanga is also the author of Seretse and Ruth (Khama), a biography of Botswana’s first president, and Van ons correspondent Standplaats Tilburg. The talk is organised by the Stirling Media Research Institute and the School of History and Politics.

Earlier in the week, Brian Gorman, Reuters correspondent on European Stock Markets, will present a seminar entitled Talking about Financial Journalism: Numbers in context on 21 September.

A Stirling graduate, Gorman qualified as an accountant and worked in the National Audit Office and the National Health Service before taking up journalism, a career which now spans 15 years and includes work at specialist trade titles, Bloomberg and The Scotsman before Reuters.

Reuters is the world’s largest international news agency and is a leading provider of financial news and information services to newspapers, television and cable networks, radio stations and websites around the globe.

Dr Jairo Lugo, lecturer in Journalism Studies, at the Department of Film, Media and Journalism, said: “We are delighted to have such speakers coming to the University. Wilf Mbanga is by all accounts an example for future generations of journalists across the globe and is someone who we must all hear.

“And to have Brian Gorman here is an opportunity to learn from the journalists who are out there taking the heat in the current financial times. It is also timely as we have just started the first MSc in Financial Journalism in Great Britain.”

Brian Gorman’s seminar is on Monday 21 September at 1pm in the Cottrell Building room 2B38. Wilf Mbanga will be speaking on Friday 25 September at 1pm in the Pathfoot Building room G18. Both are open to all, but early attendance is recommended with limited spaces available.

For more information, contact the Department of Film, Media & Journalism on (0) 1786 467520 or see

Sports scholars compete at home and away

Date released: Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Sports scholars from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence were involved in major competitions around the globe last week.

While most students are just returning for the start of the new academic year, current and former University of Stirling students have been busy clocking up the air miles.

Gavin Dear knocks his shot clear of a bunkerFormer postgraduate golf scholar Gavin Dear (pictured left) was in the USA, representing Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup, amateur golf’s most renowned competition.

Dear, one of two Scots selected for the 10-man Walker Cup team, impressed at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, but was unable to prevent Team USA from their third straight victory.

Under the guidance of Colin Dalgleish, the University’s first ever scholarship student, Dear, from Perthshire, remained undefeated against Brian Harman in the matchplay singles, halving his first match then winning 3&2 in the final day’s play.

He was not as successful in his two foursomes match-ups, losing both, and Team GB & Ireland went down 16.5 to 9.5 over the two-day contest. Dear will, however, console himself with the news he has been named Scottish Golf Union’s 2009 Scottish Golfer of the Year, having finished 14th in the World Amateur Golf rankings.

Back in Scotland, second year psychology student Kelsey MacDonald played for the Scotland team in the Home Internationals at Irvine GC. MacDonald, the Scottish Under-21 girls’ Open Stroke Play champion who was recently selected for the national sports scholarship scheme Winning Students, won three and lost three as the Scottish team finished runners-up to Wales.

Partnering Carly Booth, MacDonald, a member of Nairn Dunbar GC, won two out of her three foursomes matches, including a final day result against the eventual winners, while her one singles victory was 3&2 over Ireland’s Mary Dowling.

Across the other side of the world, fellow Winning Student David McNamee took part in the 2009 Gold Coast ITU Triathlon World Championships. He was one of five Brits selected for the U23 team, the fourth year Accountancy student cycling and running in the Australian heat, gaining further experience following an impressive 17th finish at the Dextro Energy Triathlon race in Kitzbuhel.

Raleigh Gowrie, Sports Performance Manager at the University of Stirling, said: "It was pleasing to see Gavin Dear compete so well in this year's Walker Cup under the captaincy of Colin Dalgleish. Their success demonstrates the significance of Stirling's International Sports Scholarship Programme in assisting young talent to reach the highest levels of sporting competition.

"Kelsey Macdonald is another student golfer who has performed well of late and it has been a rewarding summer for Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence, considering Andy Hunter, Lewis Smith and Clare Dawson swam at the World Swimming Championships, David McNamee competed on the world stage in triathlon and the excellent achievements of Catriona Mathew and Maria Hjorth representing Europe at the 2009 Solheim Cup."

Background information:

• The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads a national sports scholarship scheme entitled Winning Students, which supports athletes studying in colleges and universities across Scotland.

• More than 300 students have been supported by the University of Stirling’s International Sports Scholarship Programme since its launch in 1981. It provides a twin track approach, allowing talented young student athletes to combine their education with high performance sports success.

• It is anticipated 70 scholarships will be awarded in academic year 2009-10 across five sports: golf, swimming, tennis, triathlon and football.

• The image of Kelsey MacDonald should be credited to Ian MacRae

For more information, contact Sports Communications Officer David Christie on 01786 467653 or email

University of Stirling provides financial help to returning students

Date released: Thursday 17 September 2009

The University of Stirling has helped its graduates beat the recession by investing £30,000 to encourage them to continue their studies.

A new Stirling Graduate Scheme was launched in the summer and has proved highly popular. This week 18 students have returned to Stirling for the new semester with each of them benefitting from a substantial scholarship of £1,500 towards their tuition fees.

Ian Cockbain, Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, said: “At a time of economic hardship and low employment, many graduates have found it tough in the employment market. We have been proactive in encouraging a significant number to sign up for further study, and many have acknowledged that they would not have been able to do so without these scholarships. I am delighted that the scheme has been so well received.”

Among those who have taken up the scholarship offer are Helen Batchelor and Michelle Tuxworth.

Helen Batchelor has been fascinated by politics ever since she studied South African apartheid at school in Balloch, Dunbartonshire. Having achieved a First in her BA Hons in International Politics, now she’s embarking on an MSc in International Conflict and Co-operation.

She wrote her BA dissertation was on the subject of child soldiers and as a volunteer with the Red Cross, she regularly conducts workshops with schoolchildren on this subject.

“I love studying international politics because they affect every aspect of our lives,” she says. “So much has happened politically since 9/11, for instance. I find the subject interesting and relevant – and sometimes quite frightening.

“The scholarship will make a huge difference and take a big weight off my shoulders,” she admitted. “My University Masters degree means I have to attend lectures two evenings a week. I work in a Balloch hotel and without the tuition discount I thought I would have to work 40 hours a week and study for the MSc on any evenings off. But now I can afford to waitress part-time, freeing up more study hours, when I’m under less pressure. So obviously, I’m really pleased to have received it.”

History is Michelle Tuxworth’s passion, covering as it does the economic, social and political aspects of the past. In the second year of her Scottish History degree course the student from West Calder in West Lothian took a module in Environmental History, and duly linked the two when it came to her final year dissertation. She realised she had found her niche and now she’s beginning an MRes in the subject.

“What’s interesting about it is that it doesn’t focus on a single person, movement or event or on a particular time period,” she said. “With Environmental History, you can be studying events from just 20 or 40 years ago. Really, it’s more about how people have viewed and used their world in that moment, unaware of the potential long-term consequences. So there’s a very ‘human’ and psychological element to the study.”

She acknowledged the help from the University: “I realise the tuition scholarship is going to be incredibly helpful; for the last two years of my degree, I had to do a part-time job. My sister, who has Aspergers Syndrome, gets no funding, support or benefit. That makes it difficult for my family also to support me financially and in the last year of my degree, my loan didn’t even cover my accommodation.

“I will still have a part-time job. But having to pay less than £3,000 for my course – which my family have offered to help me with – definitely means that the worst of the pressure is off. Also, the discount is a gift, not a privilege and it should be used for the right reasons. It has given me the incentive to do the best I can with my degree.”

Interested in postgraduate study at the University of Stirling? Click on this page for more info or email


Champion university golfers accept Canadian call

Date released: Thursday 17 September 2009

The victorious University of Stirling team who lifted the 2009 British Universities Golf Matchplay title will team up again for a 10-day trip to Canada.

Golfers from Humber College in Ontario visited Stirling earlier in the year after receiving an invite from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence and they have moved quickly to return the favour.

Five of Stirling’s successful six who crushed Loughborough University 7-2 in the final in May will set off on Monday (September 21) to compete in a number of prestigious events across the Atlantic.

The Humber trip team before they depart for CanadaStirling’s team comprises: 2009 Scottish Universities champion James White; 2008 Scottish Youths Open Amateur Stroke Play Champion David Booth; former Scotland Boys Internationalist Andrew Wallace; Scottish Golf Union Academy player Michael Dailly and team captain Bobby Rushford (not pictured).

PGA professional Gordon Niven, who coaches the golf scholars at the University and Sports Performance Manager Raleigh Gowrie will accompany the team on their travels.

The golfers will stay with host families and compete not only against the players from Humber, but at a number of Canadian events including the Niagara College Tournament and the University of Western Ontario Tournament.

A 54-hole competition at The National Golf Club will provide the acid test for the promising Stirling players who will then complete the trip with a round at Angus Glen Golf Club, the course which hosted the Canadian Open in 2007.

Captain Bobby Rushford, who has just started a Masters degree in Sports Management, is delighted to be leading the team. He said: "It is a great occasion, particularly coming at the end of the season when the competitions have finished up. It is an ideal time for us to go away and the matches lined up should give us a good level of competition.

"The guys are quite lucky in that we have been playing in the same events throughout the summer around Scotland so we haven’t lost touch since the academic year ended. We have a good bunch of guys and will be looking to go to Canada and keep up the reputation we have built up by winning the British title."

Coach Niven said: "It is a fantastic trip and personally, I can’t wait to go. The courses we will be playing look really good and Humber have given us a great opportunity to show how well the University can perform overseas.

"It is great to be able to take the successful British Universities team over. There are new, talented players coming into the scholarship programme this year and we have also managed to keep the nucleus still here so we can only go from strength to strength."

Background information:

• The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads a national sports scholarship scheme entitled Winning Students, which supports athletes studying in colleges and universities across Scotland.
• The photo shows (l-r): James White, Andrew Wallace, coach Gordon Niven, Michael Dailly and David Booth. Not pictured: Bobby Rushford.

Wheelchair tennis star hopes to make a racket at Stirling

Date released: Tuesday 22 September 2009

Britain’s number one wheelchair tennis player blazed a trail in North America before starting his studies at the University of Stirling.

Teenager Gordon Reid has just begun a degree in Sports Studies and Psychology at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.

And the 17-year-old from Helensburgh arrived on campus straight from three highly successful weeks competing in the USA, where he played himself into a career high International Tennis Federation (ITF) world ranking.

Victory in the men singles and men's doubles titles at the PTR/ROHOChampionships in South Carolina brought his tally to four titles in three weeks and lifted him to No.16 for men’s singles in the ITF standings. Prior to this, Reid won the singles and doubles titles at an ITF Futures tournament in Quebec, Canada and reached the second round of the US Open USTA Championships in St Louis, Missouri.

Gordon Reid on court in South CarolinaIn all, Reid (pictured left) has now won five singles and five doubles events in 2009, moving him into the top 20 in the world for doubles. He said: "It was great to get a bit of success and finish things off by moving up the rankings. Now I can focus on my studies and make the most of the facilities at Stirling.

"I had been through here a few times before to work with National Youth Development coach Karen Ross. The facilities are first class and I can’t wait to make the most of them. Hopefully there will be some dry days too so I can get out on the outdoor courts as well.

"I chose to come to Stirling because of the flexibility of the course, the facilities and because I know some people based up there – plus the fact the sportscotland Institute of Sport is on campus too."

Reid, who represented Great Britain at the Paralympics in Beijing and has previously competed at Wimbledon, will be studying part-time to allow for various competitions worldwide. His success in North America means his competitive season is not quite over as Reid has qualified for the Camozzi Wheelchair Tennis Doubles Masters in Palazzolo, Italy at the end of November.

And while flying high in singles events, he is quietly confident of further success on the doubles stage. "Wheelchair tennis is different in that you compete in both singles and doubles at every event," explained Reid. "So I will be keeping up both, especially as the current world number two in singles is the world number one in doubles."

Scottish football fans can be in dream land

Date released: Tuesday 22 September 2009

Scotland’s 1982 World Cup song We Have a Dream inspired the nation and now, a generation later, dreaming might just be the answer once again, according to former First Minister Henry McLeish, chair of the Scottish Football Review Committee.

Mr McLeish was speaking ahead of the Scottish Football under the Spotlight debate being held at the University of Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, on Monday 28 September.

"We are a country that has far too few dreams as against the many memories,” he said. “This Review is a matter of Scotland stopping looking backwards and starting to look forward and I am very confident that it will make real progress.

"If we want to qualify for international tournaments and make more impact on the Champions League then, at the end of the day, you have to start somewhere. If we have a genuine wish to be a world-class country in football we have some hard choices to make."

McLeish, who played professionally for East Fife, will be joined on the Stirling panel by SFA Chief Executive Gordon Smith, SPL Operations Director Iain Blair, SFL Chief Executive David Longmuir, PFA Scotland Chief Executive Fraser Wishart and Supporters Direct Development Manager James Proctor.

BBC Scotland pundit Jim Spence will chair the discussion at this one-off free public event to address the burning issues and perhaps even shape the on-going review.

Mr McLeish added: “What is happening at the University of Stirling, generating a wider debate, is invaluable as the Scottish public should have the chance to put their views across. Most people now accept change has to be made - we need long term solutions to long term problems.”

Stephen Morrow, Head of the Department of Sports Studies at the University of Stirling and a leading expert on football finance, said: “As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, we are committed to encouraging discussion about key sporting issues and to furthering dialogue among relevant sporting communities and stakeholders.

"The ongoing review into Scottish football, coupled with well publicised challenges faced by the game, makes a debate about where Scottish football goes next both timely and necessary. The aim of this event is to encourage debate about possible solutions to some of the present challenges."

Scottish Football under the Spotlight will be held at the macrobert Arts Centre, on the University of Stirling campus, on Monday 28 September, kicking off at 6.30pm. Over 200 football fans have already booked a place, and if you want to join them, confirm your attendance via e-mail to or call 01786 466 498.

For media inquiries, please contact Sports Communications Officer David Christie on 01786 466 653 or email

University opens Labyrinth as a place of peace and reflection

Date released: Thursday 24 September 2009

Labyrinth opening group

A haven of peace at the University of Stirling today received a ceremonial opening, as the Labyrinth was blessed by The Most Revd David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and Primus of The Scottish Episcopal Church.

The Labyrinth is a new garden which has been created by the University Chaplaincy in conjunction with the Gardens and Grounds staff. It was originally set out by a Quaker group two years ago when they visited for a conference, but the ground has since been formally shaped and cut, with the paths defined by inlaid stones. The work was carried out by University grounds staff Raymond Hallam, Eileen Iggo and Alasdair Collier.

Picture: University staff and chaplains attended the ceremony in which the Bishop blessed the garden

Labyrinths are not mazes, which are designed to make us lose our way; they have the opposite purpose, they are designed to help us find our way. Slowly walking the path to the centre of the Labyrinth and back out again gives you time to slow down, still the mind, let go of everyday concerns and renew your inner calm.

All are welcome to visit the new Labyrinth, which is attached to the Gardeners' Memorial Garden on the north side of the campus, past Airthrey Castle and the golf academy. The entrance gate is on the right, just before the parking for Alexander Court. David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews

Lower picture: the Bishop blesses the Labyrinth





Jim McColl on the power of positive thinkingThe power of being positive

Date released: Tuesday 29 September 2009

Remaining positive in the face of a financial crisis has been a frightening challenge for many people in business over the past couple of years.

Jim McColl OBE (pictured), one of Scotland’s most successful businessmen, has a portfolio of 83 companies in 27 countries, so he is ideally placed to talk about strategies for survival and success. He will describe his tactics for ‘Remaining Positive through the Global Financial Crisis’ in a public lecture at the University of Stirling on Tuesday, 6 October.

As chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers, which employs 5,000 people around the world, with an annual turnover in excess of £1.4 billion, Mr McColl has immediate first-hand knowledge of the global financial crisis and the impact it has had.

He said: “The current financial crisis has created a very challenging environment for businesses and individuals, and those in the developed economies of the Western World have been particularly hard hit. I would like to talk about how we have remained positive through this period and the impact it has had on young people and employment.”

Mr McColl, who left school at 16 to take up an engineering apprenticeship, has become a leading figure in Scottish business. Last year he led the largest transaction in Clyde Blowers’ history by acquiring the Fluid & Power Division of Textron, an American Fortune 500 multi-industry company, in a deal worth over $1 billion.

Lecture details:

Jim McColl’s talk on 'Remaining positive through the global financial crisis' will be delivered on Tuesday 6 October at 5pm in the Iris Murdoch Building, on the University of Stirling Campus. The talk is open to all and is free, and places can be reserved in advance by calling 01786 467055 or by email to


Britain’s welfare state: force for good or creator of social inequality?Professor Kirstein Rummery, social policy expert

Date released: Tuesday 29 September 2009

When it comes to tackling many of our society’s social divisions, has the modern welfare state been a force for good? Or has it helped to create and perpetuate many of today’s social inequalities?

These and other questions will be aired by University of Stirling Professor Kirstein Rummery (pictured), an expert on social policy, when she delivers her inaugural lecture at the University on Wednesday 7 October. The event will take place at 5pm in Lecture Theatre B4, Cottrell Building.

When Britain’s welfare service was created in 1945, its founding principle was that Government would take responsibility for ensuring that health, education and many other social needs would be provided through universally available services. The theory was that if everyone had access to resources to meet their needs, social inequality would be reduced, if not completely removed.

As the world has changed, so have people’s expectations regarding what the State should be expected to achieve and provide. As we live longer, our needs grow exponentially, so that now we demand ever more from a welfare state which has finite resources; especially in light of the present economic crisis.

In an effort to address this, much has been said about ‘partnerships’ for the delivery of welfare services – the most obvious being the involvement of the private sector. However, Professor Rummery believes that partnerships should also be formed with communities, groups and individuals – with the aim of redistributing responsibility.

“The idea of citizenship – the relationship between the individual and the State – was always about shared community and family responsibility,” she explains. “But ever since the welfare state’s creation, there has been a growing sense that, as citizens, we have relinquished our responsibility to the State. Now, an element of personal responsibility is something the State may need to return to us. We need to think about what a ‘partnership’ with the State might mean for citizens, families and communities.”

Professor Rummery acknowledges that there are risks involved with allowing people to become more self-determining, particularly in respect of recognised social issues such as gender, disability and age, which could become more important and divisive.

She says: “We need to look at the role of the markets in all this. The theory is that bringing the markets in will make things happen faster and more efficiently. My view is that people do well in markets who would have done well anyway.

“The welfare state is about looking after the interests and needs of those people who, left to their own devices, might tend to fare badly. So I believe a vital role remains for a ‘benign’ but powerful welfare state.”

Kirstein Rummery grew up in Vienna, where she developed an interest in citizenship rights and welfare. After reading law at the University of Kent she moved into the area of social policy, with particular interest in the access available to older and disabled people to health and community care services, gender and policymaking.

She worked at the Universities of Birmingham and Manchester before joining the Department of Applied Social Science at Stirling in 2007, as a Professor of Social Policy. She is the author and editor of many books and articles on the themes of citizenship, care, partnership, disability and gender.

To reserve a place at the lecture, please telephone: 01786 467055 or email



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