WORD OF MOUTH

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The Independent Online
'Ello, 'Ello:

All kinds of subjects, from customer care to knitting, may now be studied at universities. Even policing. Yes, a Certificate of Professional Policing is a copper's for the asking at the University of Teesside. It was created after Durham police felt younger officers needed training in how to recruit and handle informers. Far too many narks, it seems, are more streetwise than the coppers. Indeed, they are often "dodgy characters with a criminal background" (no, not the police, silly!). So Durham asked copper-turned- criminology lecturer Colin Dunningham to draw up a series of intensive two-week courses. They're accredited by the National Police Training Directorate. Police from seven forces have already signed up.

Stake well done:

An important journal has entered the market. The Stakeholder deals with standards and values in public life - just the kind of reading required in these days of sleaze. It examines, among many other matters, the inquisitorial background of the Public Accounts Committee at Huddersfield University and there's a profile of the Further Education Funding Council. Stakeholder is produced in association with the University of Central England in Birmingham, and has a coterie of distinguished academics among its patrons. They include Professors Nicholas Deakin (Birmingham University), Peter Hennessy (QMW, London University) and David Marquand (Mansfield College, Oxford). Its editorial board's many experts include The Independent's David Walker. The gravy on this meaty dish is its editor, ex-MP and former Leeds Metropolitan University vice-chancellor Christopher Price.

Honoured and dishonoured:

Hearty congratulations to Mike Goldstein, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, and Professor Richard Shaw, Principal of the University of Paisley, appointed CBEs in the Queen's Birthday Honours. The New Universities have been sadly neglected by HM and we applaud this small recognition. Congratulations, too, to Lisa Potts, Gwen Mayor, Mary Blake and Eileen Harrild on their bravery awards. Good also to see a posthumous Gallantry Medal for Philip Lawrence.

UK and Europe:

Peter Gordon, Emeritus Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, and Richard Aldrich, Professor of Education in the history and philosophy group at the same University of London institute, have published a remarkable guide to the lives and work of 900 educationists. It is crammed with colourful and, above all, readable, pen portraits. Naturally, when I received the excellent Biographical Dictionary of North American and European Educationists (Woburn Press pounds 47.50; paperback pounds 22.50), I immediately looked up such notables as Kurt Hahn and Cyril Burt. Neither is featured. Hahn, founder of Salem School in Germany, Gordonstoun in Scotland and the Round Square Conference, would, I thought, have merited a mention. As for Sir Cyril, the first educational psychologist appointed by a local authority (LCC, 1913), whose work on IQ tests led to the selective tripartite school system, should also be among the great, even if he later stood accused, wrongly, I believe, of having falsified his evidence. But my penny drops a farthing at a time. Britain is still not considered "European". I expect these and many other Euro-Brits probably feature in the Dictionary of British Educationists, by the same authors, not on my shelves.

Scop's phoneaholic:

A sad new start for the Standing Conference of Principals. No sooner had it moved from clean and peaceful Cheltenham to the grime and noise of central London, when the Phone Addict struck. The umbrella body of the country's higher education colleges is now within the Committee of Vice Chancellors' new abode at Woburn House. For many years the home of the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Chief Rabbi's Court, it was as secure as No 10. Yet at the weekend, someone forgot to switch on the burglar alarm and Scop's telephones disappeared - even before they could be connected.

And finally ...

Food and consumer studies students at the University of North London recently conducted a survey into people's favourite colours. All kinds of goods were picked but one finding gave rise to a few puzzled blushes. Extrovert women, it appears, choose cream-coloured underwear, while their male counterparts prefer to wear pink. Explanations to me, please.

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