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Oxford to expand on outreach

first_imgThe Univeristy of Oxford’s outreach activities will expand significantly as part of a new government initiative. The £22m scheme includes three new National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO).Oxford will take the lead in directing the activities of the Oxford and Cambridge NNCO. The programme will target Oxbridge-aspiring students in 1,600 English schools in order to improve the application support currently onoffer.Admissions staff from both universities will also host online webinars, hoped to prove beneficial for students from geographically distant areas. Both universities aim to work with schools across England. Particularly targeted are schools which have had little past contact with Oxbridge outreach schemes, those with a history of sending very few students to Oxbridge and schools in socio-economically disadvantaged catchment areas.A network of other establishments, including Somerville College, was also successful in its bid for an NNCO. Oxford’s current outreach activities include open days, school visits, UCAS higher education fairs and student and teacher conferences across the UK. Oxford also runs a Sutton Trust supported ‘Pathways’ programme, along with the free UNIQ summer schools, aimed at Year 12 state school students. OUSU runs its own shadowing scheme for Year 12 students through its ‘Target Schools’ strategy.First year Theology student Eva Chapman welcomed the announcement of the NNCO, commenting, “It encourages bright pupils to aim high regardless of their background or the history of the school and it dispels many myths about the Oxbridge application process.”Dr. Samina Khan, Oxford’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, told Cherwell, “Oxford’s work with the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach will add to the already significant amount of targeted access work the collegiate University undertakesacross the UK. While this particular programme is funded by the government and HEFCE to target students in English schools, the resources Oxford will be making available include a substantial amount of online support that can be accessed by anyone across the UK.“Added to our programme of student and teacher conferences and partnership with the Welsh government to create support hubs for potential Welsh applicants to Oxford and Cambridge, these new partnerships will further our goal of supporting bright students in applying to Oxford, no matter what their background or where they come from.”Speaking about the NNCOs, Greg Clark, Minister for Universities and Science, said, “This programme will ensure that schools and colleges across England can help their students learn about higher education in the classroom, online and through local outreach activity. A record number of students entered higher education in 2014, with entry rates for students from disadvantaged backgrounds increasing by over ten per cent to its highest ever level. However there is still more work to do to ensure all students who want to study hard can benefit, irrespective of their background.”last_img read more

Gov. DeSantis Signs Bills on School Bus Safety, Bear Poaching

first_imgHowever, Democratic Rep. Joe Geller, of Aventura, said he was “reluctantly” supporting the bill, as he believes the proposed fines are too high.“We’re fining someone up to $400 because they look away for a second, maybe because their kids are fighting in the backseat, and they don’t see that they’re passing a school bus that’s stopped,” Geller said in February. “That’s just too high. It’s just too much money to be charging for what is likely to be an inadvertent mistake.”Another bill signed by Gov. DeSantis (HB 327) seeks to stop poaching of black bears. It is a practice that stems partially from killing the animals for their gallbladders. Bear bile, which is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, can bring hundreds or thousands of dollars on the black market, where it is promoted as a cure for numerous illnesses.The governor is also in the process of signing the upcoming year’s $93.2 billion budget. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday signed 21 bills, including measures intended at improving school bus safety and preventing bear poaching.The school bus safety bill (HB 37) will increase penalties for motorists who do not follow traffic rules when buses are stopped to load and unload children.It would increase the minimum penalty from $100 to $200 for drivers who fail to stop for school buses. In addition, the law would double the minimum penalty from $200 to $400 for motorists who pass stopped school buses on the side where children enter and exit.“This bill is a step in the right direction,” Republican House sponsor Ardian Zika, of Land O’ Lakes, said before the House approved the measure last February. “Today, we are sending a loud and clear message that the Florida House of Representatives stands by the safety of our children and our communities.”Florida governor stiffens penalties against bear poaching— Florida Issues (@FloridaIssues) June 21, 2020last_img read more

It’s Hell being on top

first_imgAt this stage in the “game” of life a few folks are probably in the midst of one of these three stages. Stage one: having or had a very merry, cherry Christmas. Stage two: not having celebrated or even had any feelings one way or another. And most important (at least to me) is stage three: the ole fake and L-tryptophan inspired New Year’s resolution. I currently have no plans on making any vows for 2012 because except in one or two instances during my lifetime, I have not even come close to keeping the promises I made to myself. I am the first to admit that I been a bit hard on Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin since he arrived in Pittsburgh. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, but I was truly attempting to assist him in becoming thick skinned in regards to what he was about to face.One of the questions posed to Tomlin at the post game press conference after the Steelers dismantled the St. Louis Rams by the score of 27-0, was, “What did you learn about your team going into the playoffs?” There were snickers throughout the press room. Duh, I wish someone would have asked Bill Cowher or Chuck Noll that same question. Can you imagine the cold stare they would have gotten from “The Emperor” or the look of disgust that they would have received from Cowher? How much of a test was it for the Steelers and what possible lessons could Tomlin have taken from his team playing the Rams, an NFL bottom feeder for nearly a decade, that on Christmas Eve sported a 2-12 record entering Heinz Field to compete against a team who is almost always at the top of the NFL food chain.Another question Tomlin seemed to “take in stride” was this one. “Coach, could you comment on the tackle that Antonio [Brown] made on the Rams fake punt?” Tomlin responded, “I didn’t see it, actually I was talking to Ike Taylor and William Gay on a defensive adjustment.” By the way, Mike Tomlin is truly a football genius because at this juncture of his career he thoroughly understands that when anyone is evaluating anything, anywhere, anytime, “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” The majority of the credentialed scribes in Pittsburgh came to the flawed conclusion many years ago that certain players represented the “whole,” while the remaining participants were just bit players. This would seem to certainly include (at least in their minds) the head coach. Hey not so fast; well maybe not head coaches in general but a leader who in the slanted and biased view of the majority of us charged with covering professional football just a tad insignificant in regards to the outcome of the game because his skin contained excessive amounts of melanin.I have heard and witnessed my colleagues gushing over the intellect of certain guru’s that have the responsibility of guiding their franchises on the field. However, when the subject of Tomlin surfaces, it seems as if he is a mere footnote when it comes to the outcome of the games. The most recent resident “intellect” in the NFL is the headmaster of the reigning Champion Green Bay Packers, Mike McCarthy. Just prior to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas there were several features produced on McCarthy, a Pittsburgh native.I understand that Mr. McCarthy is part of the “yinzers” network but give the head coach of your “hometown team” equal billing. When Pittsburgh has a great defensive game Dick LeBeau gets the credit, ditto for the offense and Bruce Arians.Just prior to the Steelers/Cardinals Super Bowl XLIII matchup in Tampa, the majority of the bright lights were focused on Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt, the man who was surely cheated out of the Steelers head coaching job by the “Rooney Rule.” The “majority of the Pittsburgh media “establishment” were openly rooting and cheering for Whisenhunt to prevail over Tomlin just so they could be proven right. What issue did they feel needed to be proven?The matter that had to be confirmed was that the man who paid his dues would almost always prevail over someone who was “handed” the reins of the leadership position.I have resigned myself to the fact that the sitting majority will always equate superior numbers to equivalent intellect. That sort of flawed, biased reasoning and analysis, my friends, will almost always result in damaging the psyches and lowering the esteem of those who are threatened with the progression of those that they consider inferior.I will roll out of the gate as soon as the ball drops in Times Square and usher’s in the year 2012. I will cover and write about sports with clarity, dignity and respect. If it appears at times that I am giving Mike Tomlin or any other African-American the benefit of the doubt, close your eyes and count to ten because I probably will be, Happy New Year.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected] or 412-583-6741. Bruce is also the NFL/AFC North analyst on the “Odd Couple Sports Show’ streaming live on Fox Sports radio; WCWA 1230am, Toledo, Ohio, Wednesdays from 11-11:30 a.m.)last_img read more

NFL seeks right answer for marijuana use

first_imgIn this Oct. 24, 1993, file photo, New York Jets defensive lineman Marvin Washington (97) tackles Buffalo Bills’ Thurman Thomas (34) in the third quarter of a football game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)Marijuana is casting an ever-thickening haze across NFL locker rooms, and it’s not simply because more players are using it.As attitudes toward the drug soften, and science slowly teases out marijuana’s possible benefits for concussions and other injuries, the NFL is reaching a critical point in navigating its tenuous relationship with what is recognized as the analgesic of choice for many of its players.“It’s not, let’s go smoke a joint,” retired NFL defensive lineman Marvin Washington said. “It’s, what if you could take something that helps you heal faster from a concussion, that prevents your equilibrium from being off for two weeks and your eyesight for being off for four weeks?”One challenge the NFL faces is how to bring marijuana into the game as a pain reliever without condoning its use as a recreational drug. And facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of former players complaining about the effects of prescription painkillers they say were pushed on them by team trainers and doctors, the NFL is looking for other ways to help players deal with the pain from a violent game.A Gallup poll last year found 58 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized. That’s already happened in Colorado and Washington — the states that are home of last season’s Super Bowl teams.The World Anti-Doping Agency has said it does not need to catch out-of-competition marijuana users. And at least one high-profile coach, Pete Carroll of the champion Seahawks, publicly said he’d like to see the NFL study whether marijuana can help players.There are no hard numbers on how many NFL players are using marijuana, but anecdotal evidence, including the arrest or league discipline of no fewer than a dozen players for pot over the past 18 months, suggests use is becoming more common.Washington Redskins defensive back Ryan Clark didn’t want to pinpoint the number of current NFL players who smoke pot but said, “I know a lot of guys who don’t regularly smoke marijuana who would use it during the season.”Washington wouldn’t put a specific number on it but said he, too, knew his share of players who weren’t shy about lighting up when he was in the league, including one guy “who just hated the pain pills they were giving out at the time.” Another longtime defensive lineman, Marcellus Wiley, estimates half the players in the average NFL locker room were using it by the time he shut down his career in 2006.“They are leaning on it to cope with the pain,” said Wiley, who played defensive line in the league for 10 seasons. “They are leaning on it to cope with the anxiety of the game.”The NFL is fighting lawsuits on two fronts — concussions and painkillers — both of which, some argue, could be positively influenced if marijuana were better tolerated by the league.The science, however, is slow-moving and expensive and might not ever be conclusive, says behavioral psychologist Ryan Vandrey, who studies marijuana use at John Hopkins. Marijuana may work better for some people, while narcotics and other painkillers might be better for others.“Different medicines work differently from person to person,” Vandrey said. “There’s pretty good science that shows marijuana does have pain relieving properties. Whether it’s a better pain reliever than the other things available has never been evaluated.”Washington, who is part of the concussion lawsuit, is working with a bio-pharmaceutical and phyto-medical company called KannaLife Sciences that recently received licensing from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a drug to treat concussions using derivatives from medical marijuana.last_img read more