Yet this boost in Oxford applications is unlikely to be solely down to homegrown endeavours. According to the admissions department around half of the recent growth in applicant numbers is due to an increased interest from overseas students.“Oxford was always my first choice, even over all the American schools,” says Heather Mayer, a US student who turned down an offer from Yale to study Classics at St. Hilda’s.“I know already what I want to study, I am going to the best place to do it, and I’m getting an experience by going abroad that will serve me well later on. I get to have a new perspective on the world.”Still another reason why UK students may be being drawn to Oxford is its unrivalled funding provisions. According to bursarymap.direct.gov.uk, a government-run website monitoring the funding opportunities available across the various UK academic institutions, Oxford offers freshers the highest bursaries of anywhere in the country.First year undergraduates coming from a home with an annual income of less than £18,000 can qualify for the Oxford Opportunity Bursary, a funding grant worth £4,100. In contrast, Cambridge University only offers a bursary of £3,250 for the same income bracket, while Oxford Brookes provide less than half the funding offered by their neighbour, at just £1,800 per student.Many were anxious when hearing about a rise in applications, but thought this only proves the academic strength of the university.“Its reputation makes it a scary place to apply to,” commented recent applicant Daher Aden, who nevertheless referred to the university as his “pie in the sky choice”.Other students welcomed the news, “I think it’s really cool that Oxford’s application numbers are growing,” said Mayer.“It’s already one of the best uni’s in the world, but to have an expanded application pool is wonderful because it will make the university just that much better.”Oxford officials say that it is still not sure whether the trend will continue. “It’s hard to tell at this point in time,” says Dr. Nicholson. “There will come a time when the number of students who have the potential grades needed to get into Oxford will plateau.”Still, others are worried about the growing costs faced by prospective students. In a recent article in The Guardian many Oxford academics voiced concern over the possibility of a rise in tuition fees following the next general election.“Oxford is becoming more socially exclusive,” commented Dr. Iain McLean, Professor of Politics at Nuffield College. “It costs a great deal to educate an Oxford undergraduate and at the moment this is just not being met.”According to Jonny Medland it may not just be Oxford University application numbers that are set to suffer if costs do rise, “Any change in the funding of Higher Education could have ramifications for access to universities. There is a danger that prohibitively high fees could lead to fewer applications to all universities, not just Oxford.” Oxford University has once again seen a rise in the number of applicants for its courses.Recent figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) show that the number of applications made for undergraduate courses in Oxford this year were up by 12.5% in comparison to 2008.This is sizeably more than the national average across all UK institutions, which only grew by 9.7% since 2008. In contrast, Oxford’s biggest rival, Cambridge University, saw its rates drop below the national average, with the number of applicants only increasing by 8.2%.Last September more than 15,000 hopefuls applied for around 3,000 places at Oxford, making 2009 the most competitive year in the University’s history.Speaking to Cherwell, Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University, described the new figures as “encouraging”.Rather than relying on its reputation as one of the top universities in the world, Dr. Nicholson puts the growing popularity of Oxford firmly down to the efforts of its colleges and departments.“The reason why we’ve seen such a significant rise in applications this year is primarily due to a range of outreach programmes and activities set up by the departments and colleges,” he said.Representatives from Oxford University have been involved in building a number of schemes to encourage applications across the UK, including a series of conferences aimed at teachers as well as students.“We have run sessions around the country for teachers and guidance advisors to demystify the admissions process so that they can encourage their most able students to apply,” explained Dr. Nicholson in an earlier statement.Jonny Medland, VP for Access and Academic Affairs at OUSU agrees, “It’s unsurprising that the number of students applying to Oxford has increased in the last year. Oxford is one of the leading universities in the world, and its reputation for delivering an outstanding undergraduate education means that the numbers of applications will increase over time. The active outreach programs which Oxford and OUSU engage in also contribute to the rising numbers of applicants.”
Oxford University is planning a comprehensive renovation of the Iffley Road sports centre, it has been revealed this week.The plans include an indoor cricket school, fencing room, three squash courts, a weights room, climbing wall and a café. In total, over 80 sports will enjoy upgraded facilities if the project goes ahead.University sports director Jon Roycroft commented, “We are now moving onto the challenge of fully developing plans for the University to fund-raise and build the highest quality indoor sports facilities for the 21st century.” He added, “It will be an absolute transformation.”The current estimated renovation budget is said to be around £19m, but an Oxford University spokesperson said the university is “holding a public consultation and our final designs will depend on any comments made by members of the university and local community that we can take on board, and the budget will obviously reflect this.”The consultation highlights the University’s sensitivity to concerns by Oxford residents regarding the impact of the construction work on the local area. David Barton, chairman of Iffley Road Area Residents’ Association commented, “Although we would not be against the development, it is a conservation area and everything would need to fit in with that.”Currently, local residents stand to benefit from the extensive works. Plans for the increased capacity and improvements to the Iffley Road sports grounds will allow a greater number of non-university members to enjoy the facilities. Currently, the Iffley Road gym has almost 500 external members and non-university teams also use the hockey pitches.Amongst Oxford students, opinion is divided over the plans. Seamus Brightman, a student at Trinity College who makes regular use of the current facilities believes, “renovation is more than welcome, but the costs could easily spiral out of control.” Other students have stated that it is not the out-of-date facilities themselves that are causing inconvenience, but the distance one has to travel to benefit from them.The University intends to apply for the planning permission in January. A spokesperson said, “We are planning to put in for planning permission in January but when work begins will depend on the planning and fund-raising processes.”
Wholesale Polish bakery T&W Bakeries says it is considering moving after being targeted by local yobs.The company, which employs 20 staff in Sevenoaks, Kent has had windows smashed and staff have complained of racist abuse directed at them.CEO Monika Wodke told British Baker the company moved to the premises last May and has been targeted by gangs of 15- to 16-year-olds. Her 24-hour operation was an attractive target to them as the other buildings on the industrial estate were closed overnight, she suggested.She said: “Over the winter it was quiet, then they came back about a month ago and, since then, they’ve been coming back every single weekend.”The thugs smashed seven windows and four windscreens at the site in just one night last month. Police are investigating the attacks. (See T&W recipe, pg 26)
New regulations mean that drivers of commercial bakery vehicles will need to be even more careful if they are to avoid roadside fines of up to £200.The graduated fixed penalty scheme went ‘live’ in May, which means Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) enforcers can now issue fixed penalties to drivers for infringements detected during roadside checks. Last year, 15% of HGVs received prohibitions for drivers’ hours and tachograph infringements – a tachograph records the vehicle’s speed and whether it is moving or stationary – the average fine being £190, with a maximum of £5,000. For bakers looking to squeeze more value from their supply chains and keep the cost of bread down, tachograph performance is, therefore, a fundamental area not to be overlooked.Employers also face fines, licence suspensions and revocations if their Operator Compliance Risk Score is impacted – worryingly, the number of prohibitions issued rose by 50% from 2007 to 2008. Drivers can help reduce potential tachograph infringements, with one of the biggest reasons for non-compliance being failure to produce tachograph charts. However, tachograph information is useless unless it is interpreted intelligently, so it pays to select a provider based on more than just initial cost. Tachograph customers should ask their supplier if it can offer on-site analysis and staff training, as well as just a range of data solutions. For more information on tachograph compliance, visit www.fta.co.uk/services/tachofta.
An increasing number of Waitrose bakery products look set to hit the market as the supermarket announced plans to increase its presence in the UK convenience market.Through a development of new formats and channels, Waitrose aims to make its stores “accessible to more customers”. It plans to ramp up its convenience store openings, and has announced plans to trial smaller 2,000-4,000 sq ft convenience shops, with the potential for 300 outlets in total. So far it has opened two 5,000-7,000 sq ft branches, in Trinity Square, Nottingham and Clifton, Bristol, with two more planned to open this year.It also plans to open a further nine motorway service station sites as part of its franchise partnership with Welcome Break, following the successful trial of two outlets, on the M40 at Oxford and the A1-M25 at South Mimms. Its convenience stores currently offer a range of bakery products and a patisserie counter, which sells freshly made sandwiches and baguettes, for example. Its service station outlets do not have counter facilities but offer a range of sandwiches, said a spokesperson for the supermarket.Managing director Mark Price added that the supermarket had already broadened the appeal of its brand, with innovations such as Essential Waitrose, the ‘Seriously’ range of indulgent cakes and desserts and Duchy Originals from Waitrose.
Electronic experimentalist Flying Lotus has just released three previously unheard tracks, which look to be products of his most recent original 2014 compilation You’re Dead!. He released a deluxe edition of the LP last year, and included 39 tracks of bonus cuts and instrumental outtakes. As if that wasn’t enough, we are now presented with three more tracks from the legendary studio session. Music really is the gift that keeps on giving.One of the new tracks, “TDC – Alt Experiment,” offers a fresh re-arrangement of the You’re Dead! track, “Turkey Dog Coma.” Additionally, LA-based producer shared two tracks with frequent collaborator and rising bass-god Thundercat, titled “Haleys Line//thundercat” and “NO Feeer Thunnderrrcatt2010.”Listen To Thundercat’s Funky New Untitled SongIn true FlyLo fashion, the three tracks came as complete surprises, with no lead-up or announcement whatsoever. Each recording, exponentially different from the rest, offers a deeper understanding of the artist and the particular brainwaves he chooses to share. Take a listen and fly away to the sweet combinations of these sounds:“NO Feeer Thunnderrrcatt2010”“Haleys Line//thundercat”“TDC – Alt Experiment”[H/T CoS]
In just a few short weeks, premiere funk group Lettuce will return to one of most storied venues of all time, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, for a true musical celebration that could only be dubbed “Rage Rocks.” With The Wailers, Manic Focus, Pete Rock and Rahzel, the funk phenoms will let loose in Colorado on June 10th, and we couldn’t be more excited. Tickets are still available here.It seems like just yesterday that Lettuce joined forces with The Motet at Red Rocks for a glorious night of funk tunes. On June 6th 2015, Lettuce hit the stage, dropping funk bombs left and right on a thoroughly excited crowd. The band brought out tons of their classics, and even called on Nigel Hall to lend his vocals to their instrumental grooves. Check out our full review here.In celebration of the upcoming Red Rocks show, we wanted to throw it back with some footage from last year’s performance. Here are five choice cuts from Red Rocks 2015, sure to get you pumped up for Red Rocks 2016!By Any Shmeeans Necessary > Colorado Love > By Any Shmeeans NecessaryGet GreasyChiefPhyllisMakin’ My Way Back Home w/ Nigel HallAll videos were filmed by Jordan Inglee and mastered by Phil Salvaggio, for the purposes of Lettuce’s Live BitTorrent bundle. Lettuce’s Red Rocks throwdown, “Rage Rocks,” kicks off on June 10th, with support from The Wailers, Manic Focus, Pete Rock and Rahzel. Tickets are on sale now and can be found here!Check out last year’s setlist below.Setlist: Lettuce at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, CO – 6/6/15Big Anthem, By Any Shmeeans Necessary > Colorado Love > By Any Shmeeans Necessary, Get Greasy, Chief, Phyllis, Breakout > Relax > Jesus Dre > Trap > Madison Square, Squadlive > Lettsanity, Lett Zeppelin, Do It Like You Do > Makin’ My Way Back Home
We’re in the dark on dietary supplements. She’s working to change that. Related Harvard epidemiologist aims to sort fact from fiction on health claims in multibillion-dollar industry GAZETTE: And what about vitamin D?MANSON: There weren’t significant reductions in the primary endpoints of major cardiovascular events — combined heart attacks and stroke — or the total incidence of cancer. But we saw a signal for reduction in cancer death over time.The trial was 5.3 years, which is usually sufficient for CVD outcomes but is relatively short for cancer, due to its long latency period. It may take longer to see the effect on cancer incidence. Those cancers diagnosed in the early years of the trial were undoubtedly already present, subclinical, at the time the participants were enrolled. Previous studies suggest that vitamin D may work at later stages of cancer. What we saw, after accounting for latency period by excluding early follow-up, was a 25 percent reduction in cancer deaths.Laboratory and clinical studies suggest that vitamin D may affect tumor biology, making tumors less invasive, less aggressive, and less likely to metastasize. And if that’s the effect, once there’s already a tumor — diagnosed or not, clinically detected or not — you might see a reduction in cancer death over the course of a five-year trial.There were some findings by body mass index. If you were average weight or below, there did seem to be more of a benefit of the vitamin D on cancer incidence. If you have a higher body mass index, there may be a need for higher doses of vitamin D or maybe there’s a vitamin D resistance similar to insulin resistance. We really don’t know. But this warrants further study.I think these findings do need to be interpreted cautiously — they’re subgroup findings — but these are intriguing signals.GAZETTE: Is there a lesson here about the importance of considering different populations when you’re analyzing scientific research?MANSON: Although it’s biologically plausible that some groups will benefit more than others, the problem is that you always have to interpret subgroup analyses cautiously.With dietary supplements, it’s important to understand the nutrient status of the study participants and to see if those with lower dietary intake or lower nutrient status are more likely to benefit from the supplements. With omega-3s, of course you want to understand dietary intake, particularly fish consumption. The finding that those with lower fish consumption in VITAL were more likely to benefit from marine omega-3s adds to the biological plausibility.But here’s what’s really surprising. Previous randomized trials of omega-3 have rarely done diet assessments. And they’ve rarely looked at the modifying effect of fish consumption on the omega-3 benefit, in terms of who benefits and who doesn’t. So this is a strong advantage of the VITAL trial, that we had the diet assessment and we could stratify participants by diet and low-fish consumption.GAZETTE: Analysis of this data is continuing. Will you be looking at effects on other conditions?MANSON: Yes. We’re looking at many other health outcomes. We have 23 ancillary studies. We’re looking at diabetes, cognitive function, mood, depression, autoimmune disorders, lung diseases, infections, heart failure, and many other clinical conditions.GAZETTE: Any idea what the timing is on those?MANSON: We’re saying six to 12 months to have these ancillary studies published. And that will help to inform the benefit-risk profile of these supplements.Some people, if they’re not in a group that may particularly benefit — such as those with low fish consumption — they may want to stay tuned for the results of the ancillary studies, because these studies will help with their decision-making.GAZETTE: You mentioned follow-up studies as well.MANSON: We’re continuing to follow the study participants for at least two more years, and we’re going to apply for continued funding to follow for several more years after that. The cancer results in particular, due to the latency period, may take a while to become fully apparent.GAZETTE: What would be your recommendations to the public?MANSON: If you’re already taking these supplements, we don’t find clear reasons for stopping, but we caution against mega-dosing. The safety that we demonstrated for these doses — 2,000 IUs vitamin D, one gram a day of omega-3s — may not apply to much higher doses.And, if you fall into a group that appears to gain greater benefit, such as — with the omega-3s — those with low-fish consumption and African-Americans, you may want to talk to your health care provider about whether to take a supplement.But for most people, stay tuned, because we’re going to have results for ancillary studies — diabetes, cognition, depression, all these other outcomes.Also, it’s possible that over the next couple of years, medical and public health authorities will look at these findings and at the results of other randomized trials that have been done recently and see if clinical guidelines regarding these supplements should be updated.Interview was edited for clarity and length. Cocoa for pleasure — and health? Too sweet for our own good The VITAL study, supported by the National Institutes of Health and headed by JoAnn Manson, the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School and a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School, sought to clear up confusion around two popular dietary supplements through an analysis whose design has long been considered the gold standard for clinical trials.Randomized and placebo-controlled, VITAL followed more than 25,000 people age 50 and older who took daily supplements containing vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, or placebo. The Gazette spoke with Manson about the results, which were published this month in The New England Journal of Medicine.Q&AJoAnn MansonGAZETTE: What gaps in knowledge was the study intended to fill?MANSON: It helped to fill several knowledge gaps. For omega-3 fatty acids, the previous randomized trials had largely been in high-risk populations with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or with selected risk factors for CVD.VITAL is the first large-scale randomized trial of marine omega-3s in a general population at “usual risk” of CVD. It’s also one of the first randomized trials of these supplements in a racially and ethnically diverse study population. Assessing the role of these supplements in a general population free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline fills an important gap in knowledge.There have been few large-scale randomized trials of moderate- to high-dose vitamin D in the prevention of cancer and CVD. Most of the vitamin D trials have been for bone health, preventing fractures. These tend to be smaller trials, and some of them have tested much lower doses, only 400 to 800 international units a day. We tested 2,000 IUs a day.GAZETTE: Why don’t we discuss omega-3 and vitamin D separately, since it seems there were several findings for each. Were the omega-3 findings clearer?MANSON: For the omega-3s, there were several findings pointing to a coronary benefit, though for the prespecified, primary endpoint of “major cardiovascular events” — heart disease plus stroke plus total CVD mortality — there was only a small, statistically nonsignificant 8 percent reduction. It’s likely that the lack of benefit for stroke diluted the results for the primary endpoint.But those who had low fish intake — fish is the primary source of marine omega-3s in the diet — had a statistically significant reduction in the primary endpoint, compared to placebo. The lower half of the distribution had a 19 percent reduction with treatment and, for heart attack alone, a 40 percent reduction.For the overall study population, we had several prespecified secondary endpoints, including looking at heart attack, stroke, and CVD mortality separately. We did see a 28 percent reduction in heart attack, but no significant reductions in stroke or CVD mortality. We also saw that African-Americans appeared to benefit the most in terms of heart attack reduction — a 77 percent reduction compared to the placebo group. Again, you have to interpret this cautiously. “Previous randomized trials of omega-3 have rarely done diet assessments. And they’ve rarely looked at the modifying effect of fish consumption on the omega-3 benefit.” Panel lauds new labeling guidelines, takes aim at added sugar and salt in food, as well as some supplements Massive study will try to determine benefits of much-loved, savory powder The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.
The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) provides President Barack Obama with guidance on both foreign and domestic economic policy and helps inform White House policy decisions, and this year, the CEA includes a Notre Dame professor. Professor Abigail Wozniak, an associate professor of economics, began a one-year term as a senior economist at the CEA in July and said the position allows her to apply her academic interests and knowledge to tangible problems and solutions.“It’s a chance to answer questions that people need answered,” Wozniak said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to being able to use the training that I have in a way that helps the public interest.”Wozniak is not able to take press requests during her term for the CEA, but William Evans, chair of the economics department, said Wozniak has completed a broad range of research projects during her time at Notre Dame, with a specific focus on labor economics.In the past few years, Wozniak has taught courses on labor economics and the development of the American labor force. Dating back to 2005, when she began teaching at Notre Dame, Wozniak’s courses included “Principles of Microeconomics and Migration, Education and Assimilation: Three Forces that Built America.” She also teaches graduate-level economics classes.Evans said Wozniak’s position speaks to the high level of respect she commands as an economist.“I think the fact that she’s gotten a job with this sort of visibility indicates what the profession thinks of her,” he said. “There are a lot of really great economists who have had these staff positions at the same point in her career, so I think it’s a great opportunity for her. It’s indicative of what the profession thinks of her work, to have such a high-level and visible position.”Evans also said Wozniak’s position highlights the excellent work of the Notre Dame’s economics department, which he said is “relatively young,” growing from 11 faculty members when he arrived in 2007 to nearly 25 currently.“We want the profession at large to understand the good things that are going on here, and this is one way we get to publicize that,” he said.Kevin Rinz, a graduate economics student who also worked as a staff economist at the CEA from July 2013 until July 2014, said the work at the CEA differs vastly from an academic setting.“You spend a lot of time in meetings, on conference calls, writing memos, creating presentations, analyzing data and reading papers, but which of those things you do in a given day and the topics you cover vary substantially and are subject to change on very short notice,” he said. “The Council itself is composed of three people — the chairman and two members. The members help the chairman lead the organization. When CEA gets a request from another part of the White House or starts a new project of its own, one of the members usually works with the senior economists with relevant expertise to decide what direction CEA’s work will take. The senior economists and junior staff [including staff economists, research economists and research assistants] then carry out the analysis and report back to the member.”Rinz said the members then take requests to the chairman, who gives further direction until the project is complete. He also said CEA staff are free to pursue research topics that interest them and take them to the members and chairman.Evans said he hopes Wozniak’s experience at the CEA will help create a unique and innovative classroom experience when she returns in July 2015.“It would be nice to parlay this into some policy-based courses that students can benefit from,” he said. “But we’ll see, that’s going to be up to [Wozniak]. It’s a very different experience from teaching.”Rinz said working with the CEA can enhance academic research in a variety of ways.“Since CEA’s focus is very broad and academics tend to focus on fairly narrow fields, you have to learn about a lot of topics in which you didn’t necessarily have pre-existing expertise when you work at CEA,” Rinz said. “This can help you discover new areas in which you would like to do research when you return to academia.“Also, perhaps more importantly for researchers interested in public policy, working at CEA shows you what issues policymakers consider important, how they think about them and what kind of evidence they find persuasive. This can be useful if you want policymakers to pay attention to your future research.”Tags: Council of Economic Advisers, economics, White House
Image via Joana Leamon / Facebook.JAMESTOWN – A SUNY JCC student is among 213 students being honored with the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award of Student Excellence for academic achievement, leadership, and community service this year.Joana Leamon, of Silver Creek, graduated with an associate’s degree in communication from JCC in December. Leamon is also earning an associate’s degree in media arts and a certificate in multimedia production in May. She attained dean’s list status every semester and also completed JCC’s honors program.Leamon served as vice president of the JCC’s Alpha Kappa Beta Honor Society and as a peer mentor. She was named to the 2019 Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team and was a JCC Scholars Day 2019 winner.During her time at JCC, Leamon completed internships with JCC’s marketing department, Patterson Library’s Octagon Gallery in Westfield, and the Oliver Archives Center at Chautauqua Institution. She was a presenter during the “Five More Giants of Chautauqua” heritage lecture series in 2019. Leamon has volunteered at JCC’s Jamestown Campus and North County Center, JCC’s Weeks Gallery, and Christ Chapel Wesleyan Church.Leamon is transferring to Buffalo State College this fall to major in media production and plans to pursue a career in the media industry, focusing on documentary filmmaking or broadcasting.Although recipients are typically recognized in person in Albany, the ceremony was curtailed due to COVID-19 restrictions.The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees are forwarded to the Chancellor’s office for a second round of review. Finalists are recommended to the chancellor to become recipients of the award. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)