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News archive for October 2010

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News Archive

October 2010

University appoints first Professor of Creative Writing

University appoints two leading sports professors

Harmful parental drinking – the devastating effect on Scotland’s children

Stirling swimmers' medal glory

University of Stirling welcomes Business Secretary

Minister launches Be Plant Wise Campaign at University

University welcomes first Professor of Creative Writing

Medal success for Stirling students in Delhi

Stirling’s Postgraduate Fair – the next step to a great career

Dementia Services Development Centre comes of age

Can’t see the wood for the trees?

Inverness graduation ceremony for nursing students

University appoints first Professor of Creative WritingKathleen Jamie is first Professor of Creative Writing

Date released: Tuesday 5 October, 2010

The University of Stirling is delighted to announce the appointment of Kathleen Jamie (pictured), one of Scotland’s finest writers, to the newly created post of Chair in Creative Writing. Her arrival adds weight to a dynamic English Studies Department that has an international reputation for expertise in literature and publishing.

Professor Jamie began creative writing while at school and won an Eric Gregory Award for her poetry when she was 19. This took her to the Himalayas, and subsequent trips led her to write The Autonomous Region (1993), a poem sequence with photographs about her experiences in Tibet, and the finely perceptive prose study The Golden Peak (1992), which was revised and reissued as Among Muslims (2002).

Her prize-winning poetry collections include The Queen of Sheba (1994), Jizzen (1999), and The Tree House (2004) which have garnered the Somerset Maugham award, three TS Eliot Award nominations, two Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prizes, and two Forward Poetry Prizes. The Tree House also won the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year award. A new book of essays will be published in 2012.

She is looking forward immensely to designing the new programme at Stirling, and is confident that the course will attract the cutting edge writers of the future: “Stirling is very well placed to be attractive to students of a wide age and ethnic diversity. It has an attractive local environment in the heart of Scotland, yet an international outlook. There is great potential here, and a genuine hunger for really good writing.

“Some people say writing is about 'finding a voice' or 'making yourself heard'. Not true: it's about listening. I believe it is possible to teach creativity, setting talented writers on their way, and I look forward to giving the Stirling MLitt a distinctive stamp.”

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal, welcomed her to Stirling and said: “Kathleen Jamie is an immense talent and I am sure she will have an enormous impact. I am particularly impressed by her desire to broaden the reach of creative writing to students from all backgrounds and nationalities.”

Professor David Richards, Head of the Department of English Studies, said he is delighted that Kathleen Jamie is joining the University: “Working with Kathleen is a very exciting prospect. Not only is she one of the nation’s foremost poets but she has inspiring ideas about how creative writing should be taught in the academy. Her work will also make a major contribution to research in other areas.”

Also joining the Creative Writing team in the English Studies Department is Dr Paula Morris, an award-winning New Zealand writer, of English and Maori descent, whose fiction encompasses a startling range of genres, locales and historical eras. She recently edited the Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories (2009), and her own short stories have been widely published. Recent novels include Hibiscus Coast (2005) and Trendy but Casual (2007), both published by Penguin.

University appoints two leading sports professors

Date released: Tuesday 5 October, 2010

The University has made a major investment in enhancing its sport and health research capacity, with the appointment of two leading sports professors. Professor Kevin Tipton takes up the role of Chair of Sport, Health and Exercise Science while Professor Leigh Robinson assumes the position as Chair of Sport Management at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.

Stirling’s Department of Sports Studies delivers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, including a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science, MSc in Sports Nutrition and an MSc in Sport Management as well as Mphil and PhD Research opportunities. The new additions to the department will further enhance the University’s sport and health research endeavours, voted the best in Scotland and fifth in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

Professor Robinson joins Stirling from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University. Professor Leigh RobinsonOriginally a swimmer from her native New Zealand, Professor Robinson is also a keen player and supporter of water polo, having been Team Manager at Junior and Senior level.

Her research expertise lies in the area of organisational performance management and investigating the principles of management which make sport organisations more effective. She has worked extensively with Olympic sport organisations throughout the world and is currently an advisor to the Olympic Solidarity Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on their two global Sports Administration Programmes.

An expert on exercise, nutrition and muscle metabolism in athletes and vulnerable populations, Professor Tipton spent five years as a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Metabolism in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at The University of Birmingham.

Professor Kevin Tipton

Originally from Oklahoma, USA, he worked previously as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Professor Tipton has spent time with the Australian Institute of Sport and for IOC and FIFA committees while also serving as a fitness and nutrition advisor with amateur football and rugby clubs.

Now at Stirling, he will lead the new Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences Research Group. He said: “Recent years have seen a growing awareness of the extreme importance of exercise in the form of physical activity for overall health and well-being.

“The University of Stirling is committed to making significant contributions to research efforts in exercise sciences to provide important information that can be used to enhance the health of individuals and to improve training and performance in sport.”

Stephen Morrow, Head of the Department of Sports Studies, welcomed the two professors. He said: “These two professorial appointments in sport science and sport management serve to emphasise and strengthen Stirling’s commitment to developing excellence in  research and teaching in all aspects of sport.”

Harmful parental drinking – the devastating effect on Scotland’s children

Date released: Thursday 7 October, 2010

Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol is under the spotlight again tomorrow, (Friday, October 8, 2010), as practitioners working with vulnerable children and families gather to hear a mix of policy, research and practice messages on supporting children who are affected by their parent’s problem drinking.

The seminar is being held during Alcohol Awareness Week at Perth Concert Hall and been organised by the Scottish Child Care and Protection Network, (SCCPN), based at the University of Stirling, and the Scottish Network of Alcohol Practitioners for the Young, (SNAPY).  Both networks are seeking to highlight the most effective ways of supporting Scotland’s 65,000 children currently living with a parent with an alcohol problem, and raise awareness of the impact of harmful parental drinking on children.

Recent research has shown that children experience a range of negative effects when their parents drink excessively including their emotional and physical needs being unmet due to unpredictable parenting, lack of attention and routine, regularly witnessing alcohol-related domestic abuse, and family breakdown. Children can also be deprived of their childhood because they are ashamed to bring friends home or end up acting as ‘carer’ to the drinking parent or younger siblings - which can also disrupt the child’s schooling. 

Dr Evelyn Gillan, Chief Executive, Alcohol Focus Scotland and conference Chair, will highlight that policies designed to reduce Scotland’s overall alcohol consumption, such as minimum pricing, are key to improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families.

Dr Gillan commented: “While Scotland’s relationship with alcohol affects us all, children living with harmful parental drinking are perhaps the most seriously affected but least able to protect themselves. And parents don’t necessarily have to have a serious drink problem for children to be affected. Weekend binge drinking can leave parents struggling to cope with the physical effects of a hangover which reduces their parenting capacity.

“Effective policy measures aimed at reducing overall consumption by raising the price of alcohol would reduce harm and help protect thousands of children and young people from the harmful effects of other people’s drinking.”

The ‘Working With Children Affected by Harmful Parental Drinking’ seminar has attracted over 80 delegates from across Scotland  including Social Workers, Teachers, Drug and Alcohol workers, Nurses, Police and Child Protection Officers.

Fiona Mitchell, SCCPN co-ordinator said:  “It’s important that we take the time to reflect on the findings of research into children and young people’s experiences of growing up in households where problem drinking is an issue, and what they suggest would help them.

"Living with parents who are drinking harmfully can have a negative impact on emotional wellbeing and a key finding across a number of studies indicate that children feel anxious, upset, worried, fearful, sad and angry about their parents’ drinking.

“Parental alcohol problems have been associated with a range of negative experiences and effects in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. This seminar will look at how working directly with children and young people can help support children and families in the short and longer term.”

Background notes:

The seminar will include an up-to-date briefing on current policy, insights offered by research into children and young people’s experiences of living with parents experiencing alcohol problems and research into interventions working directly with children. There will also be contributions from practice projects in Scotland which are working directly with children and young people to promote their well-being and development.

The Scottish Child Care and Protection Network (SCCPN) is based within the Department of Applied Social Science at The University of Stirling and aims to disseminate policy and practice messages from existing national and international research evidence. The network, which was set up in 2006 by a group of key stakeholders in child protection research and practice , seeks to foster connections, collaborations and the coordination of activities that promote the use of research evidence in child care and protection practice in Scotland.

The SNAPY project supports a network of practitioners working with children and families affected by harmful drinking. SNAPY shares good practice and seeks to influence policy to protect children and young people from alcohol-related harm. SNAPY is funded by Comic Relief and managed by Alcohol Focus Scotland.

For further information on the project please visit

For further information, please contact Lianne Smith, SCCPN Events & Communications Manager on 01786 466300 /

Stirling swimmers' medal glory

Date released: Thursday, 7 October 2010

Two University of Stirling swimmers have won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, in the gruelling men’s 4x200 metre relay.

Andy Hunter and Jak Scott both swam at their best to help Scotland to second place, with Hunter swimming the first leg and Scott the third, joined by David Carry and Robbie Renwick – who had already won an individual gold at the games.

Hunter, who added to his medal tally having also won silver in 2006, went through the pain barrier in his performance, and said afterwards: “I was passed out at the back somewhere, lying on the floor in a lot of pain. I was watching in between cheering them on, and it was a great feeling when Robbie touched the wall.”

Scott, the novice in the team at 19 years old, was delighted: “It is my first Commonwealth Games, and to be here with the other three guys then up on the podium when it is all over is what I’ve trained my whole life for. I was almost in tears.”

Professor Gerry McCormac, University of Stirling Principal, said: “I would like to congratulate Andrew and Jak, as well as their relay partners, for a magnificent performance in winning silver. I know how hard they have trained to prepare for the Commonwealth Games, and this is a just reward for all their work. I hope they, and all the University of Stirling students in Delhi, will continue to do their university, and their country, proud.”

Another Stirling student to find success in the Games today is hockey player Alison Bell, who scored two goals for Scotland as they thrashed Trinidad and Tobago 6-1.  After their two opening games, which ended in a 1-1 draw against India and a 2-1 defeat to South Africa (in which Alison scored a penalty corner), it was a welcome result for Scotland’s women.  The team now has a rest day before facing Australia on Saturday.

University of Stirling welcomes Business Secretary

Date released: Friday 8 October 2010

Professor Gerry McCormac with Dr Vince Cable

The Coalition Government’s Secretary of State for Business, Dr Vince Cable MP, shone an arc light into the economic hole we’ve blundered into and proposed some surprising approaches to digging ourselves out of it, in a talk at the University of Stirling.

His lecture, entitled ‘Scottish Economic Lessons for “the general industry of society”’, was appreciated by a packed audience, many of whom had travelled long distances to hear him speak in anticipation of a lecture which would combine his trademark economic wisdom with mischievous and acerbic wit.

As the first person in his family to stay on at school beyond age 15, Dr Cable believes everyone should have the opportunity to continue their education. In a broad-ranging talk about industrial renewal and economic development, he started by referring to the 18th century economist Adam Smith: “Smith clearly understood the importance of state supported infrastructure and education. Where he was of enduring value was arguing that the general economic interest was different from that of the business community.”

He highlighted the importance of the contribution made by the University of Stirling and other higher education institutions to the country’s economic recovery, saying: “Scotland’s shift from heavy industry to a lighter, higher technology model has clearly benefited from close links with Scottish universities like Stirling.  I notice there is even a specific Web Interface for helping SME’s to make the most of your research.”

Dr Cable cautioned that too much has been made of the UK manufacturing industry’s supposedly terminal decline: “Manufacturing has a future, not just a past,” he insisted. “Britain’s manufacturing output, even in depressed 2009, was worth more than newly industrialising South Korea’s and former industrialised Russia’s. We are the world’s sixth biggest manufacturing country and, as a share of GDP, it is bigger than the US or France.”

Acknowledging that we could not easily return to the industries of the past, he believes that an economic recovery depends on capturing a greater share of the high-value end of the market –activities that rely on high skills, sustained investment, strong technology, leadership in science.

In a further reference to the importance of university research to make this happen, the Business Secretary described the ‘Fraunhofer’ model; a network of institutes that provide the German economy with a reliable conveyor belt from research, to application, to commercial realisation: “In the UK, we have some examples of this …but our approach is too scattered, too piecemeal and with none of the long-term funding that leads to industrial confidence.  So I am planning to rationalise this into what I like to call Hauser centres, building on the recommendations of the great inventor-entrepreneur Hermann Hauser.”

Thanking Dr Cable for his thought-provoking lecture, Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal of the University of Stirling, welcomed his comments on the value of university research. While recognising the financial constraints facing the UK Government, Professor McCormac said: “The decisions he will make in respect of HE funding will impact not only on this University, but on all those who benefit from the impact of the world class education we deliver and the research that we carry out.

“At best, reductions in research funding will stifle economic recovery and growth, and would at worst severely, and possibly irreparably, damage a high-performing world-leading higher education sector.”

* Dr Cable was speaking in the Williamson Memorial Lecture, delivered annually by a prominent politician in memory of a former student at the University of Stirling.


Minister launches Be Plant Wise Campaign at UniversityEvironment Minister Rosanna Cunningham with Dr Willby

Date released: Tuesday 12 October, 2010

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham (pictured) has launched the second phase in an awareness campaign to tackle invasive non-native species in Scotland at the University of Stirling. The Be Plant Wise campaign aims to raise awareness of the damage caused by invasive aquatic plants at a time when gardeners traditionally tidy ponds to prepare for winter.

Some invasive non-native species can be so fast growing that the release of just a tiny fragment of plant can establish a population that can choke an entire waterway, causing damage to the natural environment and costing the economy millions.  The problem can be heightened at this time of year when gardeners may unwittingly assist the spread of harmful plants by disposing of unwanted pond plants inappropriately. By ensuring unwanted plants and waste pond water are composted in the garden or disposed of carefully away from streams, rivers, ponds or lakes, gardeners can help protect the environment and save the nation money.

On Monday (11 October), Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham launched the second phase of the Be Plant Wise campaign from the banks of Airthrey Loch, located on the University campus, where a problem invasive aquatic plant, water fern (Azolla filiculoides) is currently being removed from the water.

Ms Cunningham said: "Invasive aquatic plants can cause very real problems when they establish outside of garden ponds.  When they escape into the wild they can threaten native plants, choke waterways, exacerbate flooding and reduce opportunities for angling and boating. 

“The water fern has been at nuisance levels at Airthrey Loch for the last two years.  Not only is it unsightly, it is also costly to control.  The large mats of ferns raise safety issues for small children and dogs who can mistake the dense coverage for firm surfaces.

“It’s important that we try to eradicate these problem species from small isolated sites, like ponds, to prevent them from spreading to larger bodies of water where they are much more difficult to control and can cause more serious problems.

“Gardeners can help protect Scotland’s waterways by following the advice in the Be Plant Wise campaign and ensuring that they dispose of all excess plant material carefully – ideally in the compost heap.”

Dr Nigel Willby (pictured) of the University’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences said: “Concerns about invasive plants are often related specifically to their effects on biodiversity. Growing en masse, the floating fronds of Azolla have adverse impacts on the native plants, fish and waterbirds of Airthrey Loch.  However, here we see a situation where the main impact is aesthetic – a visual intrusion into a spectacularly beautiful designed landscape.

“Azolla has occurred here intermittently in small quantities since the 1990s. We don’t know how it arrived but it has only become problematic in the last few years, possibly due to deteriorating water quality. The University now spends significant sums each year managing the outbreaks of Azolla. It is working with SEPA and Scottish Water to develop plans to improve the quality and quantity of water entering the loch from upstream of the University, which should provide a longer term solution to the problem.”

He added: “The potential effects of climate change could make this sort of thing a much more familiar sight in Scotland if public awareness is not raised by campaigns such as Be Plant Wise.”

While invasive aquatic plants are not yet commonplace in Scotland, the natural environment is now under threat in some areas from plants that have either been inappropriately disposed of, or inadvertently escaped from people’s gardens.

Pond owners are advised to:

• Compost with care – make sure you dispose of the whole plant properly and no fragments break away; dispose of waste pond and fish tank water away from streams, rivers, ponds or lakes.

• Stop the spread – be careful not to introduce invasive species into the wild, even accidentally, as you could be breaking the law.

• Know what you grow – pick the right plants for your pond and manage them carefully. Choose non-invasive species where possible.

For more information about the campaign visit

University welcomes first Professor of Creative WritingProfessor Kathleen Jamie with the Principal and artist Brigid Collins

Date released: Wednesday 13 October, 2010

The University of Stirling’s newly appointed Chair of Creative Writing was formally welcomed at a campus reception on Tuesday evening (12 October). Professor Kathleen Jamie, one of Scotland’s finest writers, was joined by her new University colleagues, as well as fellow writers, friends and family.

University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac, introduced  Professor Jamie as: “An immense talent who has already had a dramatic impact on the Department of English Studies and its students”. He went on to list her many prize-winning poetry collections, which have won accolades including the Somerset Maugham award, two Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prizes and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year award.

Thanking all present for her welcome, Kathleen Jamie  went on to give a reading of several of her evocative poems, while artist Brigid Collins – whose artwork had been hung in the University gallery for the occasion – explained why she so much enjoyed visually interpreting elements of Kathleen’s poetry.

Picture caption L to R: Professor Kathleen Jamie, University Principal Professor Gerry McCormac and artist Brigid Collins.

Medal success for Stirling students in Delhi

Date released: Monday 18 October 2010

Students and graduates from the University of Stirling delivered gold and silver medals for Scotland at the XIX Commonwealth Games.

Some 14 current and former students at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence – including 11 for Team Scotland – showcased their talent in Delhi.

And they turned their training into results, with no fewer than four Stirling students heading home with a medal secured: comprising a gold in tennis and a team silver in swimming.

At the same time, athletes on the Winning Students scholarship programme – governed by the University for athletes studying nationwide – collected a further two gold medals. Combined with the University’s own International Sports Scholarship Programme, Scottish students finished 14th in the medal table.

Colin FlemingTop performer was tennis star Colin Fleming, who along with team-mate Joss Rae, collected gold in the tennis mixed doubles. Rae and Fleming, who graduated in 2007 with first class honours in Economics and Finance defeated the Australian top seeds Paul Hanley and Anastasia Rodionova in the final.

The duo were led by Team Scotland Tennis coach Euan McGinn, who is also the University’s Performance Tennis coach. He said: “It was a fantastic performance by both players to win a gold medal for Scotland.

“As a team, we went in with no pressure or expectations which enabled them to play freely and showcase their talent. Colin is a world class doubles player and his success shows how the scholarship programme at Stirling and University tennis more widely, can deliver gold medal champions.”

Andy-Hunter8In swimming, a fresher and a 2010 graduate showed their class to secure a team silver in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

Accountancy and Business Studies graduate Andy Hunter, part of the Scotland team who collected a silver medal in the relays in Melbourne, repeated the feat alongside teenager Jak Scott, from Hawick. Scott surprised himself by making the team four years early, having been initially targeting Glasgow for his Commonwealth debut.

The 19-year-old said: “It meant everything to me to win a medal for Scotland. Just making the team was fantastic, let alone to perform how we did. We believed silver was possible as long as we could out-perform England so we raced hard and it all fell into place. Now I’m going to enjoy a well-earned week off then get back to my studies and my training.”

Hunter added: “This win is just as good as in Melbourne, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The swimmers in Delhi have done well and it’s nice people look to swimming and to the performance training centre at Stirling, knowing we can do well.”

Smith, Scott and Lewis Smith, who raced in the heats and finished eighth in the 400m IM, were supported by a national Winning Students scholarship, as was Robbie Renwick (University of Strathclyde), also part of the relay final team.

Strathclyde  Sports Engineering student Renwick won individual gold in the 200m freestyle while top talent Hannah Miley, from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeenshire, earned gold in her favoured 400m Individual Medley.

Clare Dawson, a postgraduate Psychology student at Stirling, raced for Northern Ireland and narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing 4th in the 4x100m freestyle relay, while English swimmer Ryan Bennett, a second year BSc Sport and Exercise student at Stirling, made the finals of both the 100m and 200m Backstroke.

Two former Stirling scholars took to the squash courts, with Frania Gillen-Buchert reaching the quarter finals of the mixed doubles for Scotland while Kate Cadigan represented her native Jersey.

In hockey, graduate Ailsa Robertson, now working as an Active Schools in Stirling, netted Scotland’s goal in a 1-1 draw against Wales, the Scots eventually securing seventh spot via a penalty shoot-out. Also among the goals during the earlier rounds was Alison Bell, with a brace against Trinidad and Tobago the highlight for the PhD Sports Coaching student.

Stirling’s most experienced representative, badminton player Susan Egelstaff, was competing at her third successive Games, having won an individual bronze in Melbourne and a team bronze in Manchester in 2002. The Psychology and Sports Studies graduate narrowly missed out on another medal, finishing 4th overall.

Other Stirling graduates competing were: Richard Hurren (Pole Vault), Graham Moodie (Hockey) and Stewart Crawford (Table Tennis).

Professor Gerry McCormac, University of Stirling Principal, said: “I am very proud of the University of Stirling students and graduates who contributed to the medal tally of Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. Their success in Delhi will be an inspiration for the many sports scholars on our campus for years to come.”


Stirling’s Postgraduate Fair – the next step to a great career

Postgraduate Fair welcomes students past and present

Date released: Monday 18 October, 2010

The University of Stirling Postgraduate Fair should be a date in the diary of anyone who wants to enhance their academic qualifications – and their career prospects.  Are you coming to the end of your first degree course and considering what to do next? Or have you gained some experience in the workplace and feel now is a good time to add to your skills set?

Whatever your situation, visiting the Fair and exploring the wide variety of subjects which our Postgraduate courses offer could be the best decision you ever make, career-wise. The event  will take place on Wednesday 10 November, at The Atrium, Andrew Miller Building and will run from midday until 3pm. Past and current students are welcome, together with members of the public.

The University’s Director of Student Recruitment, Ian Cockbain, said: “The PG Fair is an excellent opportunity to showcase our graduate programmes to anyone interested in embarking upon research or taught programmes guided by world-class scholars and researchers.  Just six months after Graduation, 91% of our postgraduates gain jobs or move on to further study in a wide variety of interesting fields.”  *

Academic staff members from every University department will be available to chat with you individually on the range of opportunities available. Additionally, staff from various service departments will be on hand to discuss funding, careers, accommodation and other issues and there will be a general talk on Postgraduate studies at Stirling.  You can even take a tour around the campus.

On the question of funding, all current University of Stirling students, whether home, visiting or international, are entitled to a 10% tuition fee discount on their graduate studies should they embark upon a graduate degree with the University;  a valuable financial incentive, which is well worth considering.

To book a place on the day, send an email to: or contact Student Recruitment Manager Scott Morrice on: 01786 466030 with any enquiries.

*Statistic released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2010


Dementia Services Development Centre comes of age Actor Simon Callow celebrates with Professor June Andrews

Date released: Wednesday 20 October, 2010

The University prides itself on being an innovative and far-sighted institution and back in 1989, it was these qualities which informed its creation of the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) – the first of its kind in the world.

This week, as it marks 21 years of operation with an international dementia conference in London, the Centre – now an internationally recognised leader in its field – has done much to change perceptions of the condition and its treatment.

When the Centre was first established, understanding of dementia was in its infancy and standards of care were patchy. The wider public – and even social services and health care providers – were still largely unaware of the huge impact dementia could eventually have on society, both in human and economic terms.

However the Centre was committed to researching, trialling and practising what worked, in terms of managing the condition. Now, thanks to its vision, there are accredited training courses and specialist education for carers at all levels, together with far greater awareness of the importance of the therapeutic environment. With its 21st birthday celebration, the DSDC comes of age in a world which is finally acknowledging the breadth and reach of the problems presented by dementia.

The Centre’s Director, Professor June Andrews, said: “Dementia already costs the UK more than heart disease, stroke and cancer combined, and incidence is set to double over the next 20 years.”

It is statistics like these which can send chills through government agencies and care providers who must manage the economic implications. However Professor Andrews says: “it is important to understand that doing dementia care badly, costs more than doing it well.”

Her view is that high-quality dementia care depends upon the people who deliver it having at least a basic understanding of how the condition affects both brain and body. “We now know what a difference that makes and this awareness is growing among care providers at a time when the wider public will expect standards of care to continuously improve.

Families need to know the simple things they can do to help people with dementia stay well, and professionals need to keep up to date with the latest research.  That’s what our conference is all about.”

Certainly the conference was well attended, with 200 members of the public arriving on the opening day and around 700 health professionals attending on each of the other days. A keynote conference speech was given by the national Clinical Director for Dementia, Professor Alistair Burns.

He said: “Improving the quality of care for people with dementia and their carers is a priority for the coalition government, with the emphasis now on better health care outcomes. This is an exciting time to be involved in delivering and shaping dementia care and we all need to rise to the challenge to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.”

It’s a challenge which the Dementia Services Development Centre first rose to over 20 years ago and one which Professor Andrews is determined it will continue to meet. She said:  “If you had told me when I started nursing that 30 years later, patients with dementia would still be kept under sedation, or treated as if they were not there, I wouldn’t have believed you.

“However even today, when we consider the whole spectrum of care provision, the condition is frequently not handled as well as it could be. Care provision needs to be transformed and we are in the process of achieving that. And while it may seem ambitious to imagine this could happen by the time I retire… I’m certainly going to give it a go.” 

Picture caption: The three-day international dementia conference was opened on 19 October by actor Simon Callow , whose mother has dementia. He is photographed with Professor Andrews at the DSDC's 21st birthday celebration.

For further information or media enquiries, please contact: Deputy Director Colm Cunningham at:


Can’t see the wood for the trees?

Date released: Thursday 21 October 2010

Venturing into the countryside and strolling through autumnal woodland is a great way to de-stress. And, thanks to an imaginative restoration programme, Forth Valley communities are set to enjoy some of the most impressive woodland areas right on their doorstep.

Whether you’re a lover of history or you simply support the idea of nature conservation, these are exciting times for local residents who enjoy our surrounding woodlands. So says Dr Richard Tipping, senior lecturer in Environmental Science at the University of Stirling, who recently appeared on BBC TV’s Making Scotland’s Landscapes programme to talk enthusiastically about trees.

“In the last year there have been extraordinary advances in conserving our lost woodland heritage and restoring what used to be here,” he says. “Thanks to funding from BP, we are now home to Europe’s most ambitious woodland restoration programme - the Great Trossachs Forest.”

Over the next few years, the forest will spread from Aberfoyle to the shores of Loch Lomond, linking individual woods managed by all the major conservation bodies in Scotland.

To celebrate this collaboration, the Forth Naturalist & Historian is presenting a one-day conference at the University of Stirling on Saturday 13 November. It will bring together experts on woodland history and forestry, including the Historiographer Royal, Professor Chris Smout; woodland ecologists and representatives from the Woodland Trust; the RSPB and the Central Scotland Green Network.

The aim of the seminar is to provide new insights into our heritage and to look to the achievements of the next decade. It is open to anyone who cares for trees, woods and people.  It will take place in Lecture Theatre A3 of the Cottrell Building, beginning at 10am, with registration on the door from 9.30am. The cost for the day, including tea and coffee, is £12 and £6 for students.

For further information, visit the Symposium website or contact Dr Richard Tipping at: or call 01786 466541

Inverness graduation ceremony for nursing students

Date released: Thursday 28 October, 2010

Over one hundred students will congregate at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Inverness on Friday 5 November, to take part in the University of Stirling’s 2010 graduation ceremony, which will begin at noon. As well as many graduating students of nursing, there are 7 midwives who graduated with BScs in Midwifery and others who graduated with certificates or degrees in child welfare and protection, education and unscheduled care.

The University’s recently-appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac, will present the degrees before an invited audience of proud parents, family and friends.

During the ceremony, the famous Scottish journalist Isabel Hilton OBE will receive the honorary award of Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the arts, communications and public affairs. 

Born in Aberdeen, Isabel Hilton’s career in journalism has spanned television, print and radio.  She began her journalistic career at STV, before moving into print journalism and serving as a feature writer with The Sunday Times, covering home and foreign affairs.  

In 1986, Ms Hilton joined The Independent newspaper as the Latin America Editor, reporting widely from the region.  She later served as the European Affairs Editor and covered the end of the Cold War and the subsequent elections in Central and Eastern Europe.  She has contributed extensively to the BBC and has reported on topics as diverse as the genocide in Rwanda and economic reforms in China. 

Ms Hilton has been a presenter on What the Papers Say, The Late Show and Radio 4’s The World Tonight and has presented Radio 3’s Night Waves since 1999.  She has lectured extensively on foreign affairs and, with an MA in Chinese from Edinburgh University, has a particular interest in China.   She is the founder and editor of, an innovative, fully bilingual Chinese English website which is recognised as a unique, independent source of information on environmental and climate issues.  Isabel Hilton was appointed OBE in 2009.



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