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Sector news, 24 - 30 June 2013

Immigration policy makes students ‘feel less welcome’ Times Higher, 24 June 2013

The coalition’s aim to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015 makes more than half of international students in the UK feel less welcome, according to a new survey. The survey of 510 students from more than 100 institutions, carried out by polling firm YouthSight for Regents University London, suggests that the public debate around immigration is harming international students’ perception of the UK. Universities and science minister David Willetts has stressed that there is no cap on the number of students who can come to the UK. The survey also found that four in ten international students spend most of their time with students from their own country. At Russell Group Universities, the proportion was 47 per cent.

Women underrepresented at academic conferences Times Higher, 24 June 2013

A greater tendency among women to turn down invitations to speak at prestigious conferences could account for their relative scarcity among senior academic ranks, a study has suggested. A team led by Hannah Dugdale at the University of Sheffield found that the proportion of female invited speakers at the prestigious congresses of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology was significantly lower than the proportion of female authors of high-profile papers or female faculty members at high-ranking institutions. In 2011, 50 per cent of women declined an invitation to speak, compared to 26 per cent of men. Dr Dugdale said the team were currently investigating why fewer women accepted invitations.

Foundation appoints first board members FE Week, 28 June 2013

The Education and Training Foundation has named its first board members. The seven men and women who will help to steer the organisation, formerly known as the FE Guild, to set professional standards across the sector, include Don Hayes MBE, chief executive of voluntary skills consortium Enable, Lynsi Hayward-Smith, head of adult learning and skills at Cambridge County Council, and John Hyde, co-founder and executive chairman of HIT (Hospitality Industry Training). Joining them will be Chris Jeffrey, strategy and policy adviser for General Physics (UK) Ltd Skills Training Academy, Asha Khemka OBE, principal of West Nottinghamshire College, Peter McCann, principal of Kirklees College, and Mark White, vice-chair of Stockton Riverside College. The board will now appoint an independent chair and up to five more specialist directors. Discussion about learner representation are being looked at with the National Union of Students after the NUS campaigned on the issue.