Sunday, 22 November 2009

University World News 0102 - 22nd November 2009

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: More countries demand biometrics
Philip Fine
Canada has joined a growing number of nations now requiring foreigners wanting to study in their countries to provide their electronically obtained fingerprints along with their applications.
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GLOBAL: Huge expansion in overseas campuses
Geoff Maslen
A rapidly growing number of universities across the world are establishing branch campuses in other countries. In fact, the number has almost doubled to 162 in the past three years alone and has jumped eight-fold since 2002. Although the US continues to dominate with its offshore campuses scattered around the globe, more countries have become involved both as hosts and providers.
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US: More students go abroad, more arrive
Karen MacGregor
As President Barack Obama was announcing a new initiative to send 100,000 American students to China in the coming four years so as to equal the number of Chinese students in the US, the report of an Open Doors 2009 survey last week revealed a record number of US students abroad. More than 262,000 Americans were studying overseas in the 2007-08 academic year — up 8.5% on the previous year — while the number of international students in America grew by 8% to reach nearly 672,000 in 2008-09.
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GERMANY: Nationwide Bologna protests
Michael Gardner
Thousands of students took to the streets last Tuesday to voice their anger over the way the Bologna reforms are being implemented and opposition to tuition fees was clearly reflected in the motto "Education is not for sale". The student protest met with at least a partial response by government officials who are now considering restructuring of new courses and better financial support. All sides involved stress, however, they are not opposed in principle to the Bologna process.
Full report on the University World News site:

FINLAND: Universities the key to innovation
Ian R Dobson*
Universities are the key players in constructing Finland's knowledge-based economy, according to the report of an international evaluation of Finland's innovation system. The report says that while there is relatively high investment in higher education R&D and that Finland is well-endowed with researchers, research output relative to inputs as measured by publications is low.
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VIETNAM: Students will assess their assessors
Dale Down
Vietnamese university students will be encouraged to evaluate the performance of their lecturers from the start of next year. Education and Training Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan made the announcement at a conference held in Hanoi to set directions for the academic year.
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VIETNAM-FRANCE: Partnership to create new university
Jane Marshall
Vietnam and France have formed a partnership to establish a new university spec ialising in science and technology near the Vietnamese capital Hanoi. Known as USTH, it will focus on six strategic multidisciplinary research areas: biotechnology-pharmacology, aeronautics-space, energy, ICTs, materials-nanotechnologies and environment-water-oceanography.
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NEW ZEALAND: Academics asked to fight war on terror
John Gerritsen*
A government request for university staff to watch out for spies and terrorists has riled New Zealand's Tertiary Education Union, but vice-chancellors say the request was routine. The union revealed last week that the Security Intelligence Service had written to vice-chancellors and then distributed copies of a pamphlet.
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US: Recruiting participants in research
More than 50 research institutions around the United States now make information about their clinical research trials available on ResearchMatch, the country's first registry for recruiting research participants. The not-for-profit website provides academics interested in participating in research the opportunity to be matched with studies that may be the right fit for them.
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MALAYSIA: Promoting technology-based innovation
Wagdy Sawahel
Malaysia has launched a plan for promoting universities-industry alliances as well as accelerating national innovation and commerc ialisation activities. These include inauguration of a nanotechnology association and the establishment of a National Innovation Centre as well as a network of centres of innovation excellence.
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UK-US: Boost for academic links
Diane Spencer
The British Council is investing $500,000 in strengthening ties between universities in the US and Britain. The UK-US University and College New Partnerships Fund will stimulate increased interaction between UK and US higher education institutions. The funding comes from the Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education with the announcement marking the US International Education Week.
Full report on the University World News site:

NEW ZEALAND: Universities must do more with less
John Gerritsen
Universities have warned New Zealand's government that its plans for tertiary education may come unstuck because of a lack of funding.
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VIETNAM: Professor wins top award
World renowned astrophysicist Vietnamese-American Professor Trinh Xuan Thuan has been awarded the Unesco Kalinga Prize for his contributions to science. The award was presented at the World Scientific Forum held this year in Hungary.
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GHANA: Did strikes close public universities?
Kajsa Hallberg Adu
News broke last Monday that Ghana's public universities were closed because of strikes called by the Teachers and Educational Workers' Union. Reports suggested that mid-semester examinations had been affected.
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GLOBAL: Harmonised test goes international
Anca Gurzu
Asia is witnessing a dramatic increase in demand for graduate business education as more candidates in the region are writing an American standardised admission test and choosing to study closer to home. A new analysis released by the Graduate Management Admission Council, known as GMAC, the US-based association representing leading graduate business schools worldwide, shows that the number of students in Asia taking its graduate management admission test has increased 75% between 2005 and 2009.

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AUSTRALIA: Art of negotiating is not always nice
Leah Germain
New research from the Melbourne Business School in Australia suggests that when it comes to negotiation, niceness is not always the best policy — it could mean one party is actually being deceiving. The study links the art of negotiation with different human emotions, including anger, anxiety and pleasantries.
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EUROPE: Research should play bigger role in policy
Alan Osborn
A better understanding and use of research could eliminate many of the errors made by governments and others in developing policy and lead to much greater effectiveness of governance, according to a report by the League of European Research Universities. The findings may sound banal, but the conclusion is cogently argued by researchers who stand at the top of their field in Europe, and indeed the world, namely Sir Michael Marmot (University College London) an expert on the social determinants of health, and Professor Andreas Kruse (Ruprecht-Karls-Universit├Ąt Heidelberg), an expert on ageing.
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US: 'Bridge' prepares executives for classroom
Leah Germain
Making the transition from classroom theory to real world work experience is often a difficult feat for any recent business-school graduate looking for a career in today's recovering economy. But for those wanting to make the transition from a work environment to the classroom, the prospect may seem even more intimidating. The US AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) has launched a unique programme to convert experienced business professionals into qualified instructors.
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AUSTRALIA: Do 'C-grade' students make the best CEOs?
Robert Wood*
Effective CEOs must cope with, and recover from, setbacks and remain adaptive in the face of often overwhelming pressures and competing demands. Those who don't are increasingly being shown the door. C students have to learn how to cope with setbacks and failure to meet expectations and, if they are to get through, recovery strategies for their next assignment or examination. This is all good training to become a CEO.
Full report on the University World News site:


AFRICA: Need for coherent HE policy, informed action
The power of knowledge in the globalised economy has been unequivocally recognised, and with this realisation efforts to revitalise higher education and other knowledge systems around the world have been stepped up. This trend is clearly evident in Africa, writes Dr Damtew Teferra in an editorial for the International Network for Higher Education in Africa based at the Boston College Center for International Higher Education.
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SOUTH AFRICA: Developing nuclear energy skills
From Professor James Larkin
With regard to Alison Moodie's piece "Universities Prepare for a Nuclear Future", I should like to correct the impression that the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) is a research body. Rather, it is an industry organisation established to champion the cause of nuclear power here in South Africa.
Full letter on the University World News site:

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: Twittering the student experience
An experiment into the use of social media has shown that Twitter, an online blogging service, can act as an exceptional communication tool within academia. The study, published by the Association for Learning Technology, discovered that 'tweeting' helped develop peer support among students — with activity rising just prior to assessment deadlines or during revision for examinations.
Full report on the University World News site:

AUSTRALIA: Professor and bishop spread climate message
Copenhagen will not be the only hot spot where climate change will be discussed next month: A highway in Victoria will feature as well when a professor of environmental science and an Anglican bishop take an eight-day, 180-kilometre stroll across the state's western plains, with an open invitation for anyone to have a chat to them about the challenges facing the region's communities and environments.
Full report on the University World News site:

US: 'Unfriend' is New Oxford's word of the year
'Birther' was in the running and so was 'death panels', but in the end the New Oxford American Dictionary can only pick one word of the year. For 2009, it is 'unfriend', says Oxford University Press.
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UK: Scientist admits to being ex-call girl and author
Research scientist Dr Brooke Magnanti, 34, lifted the lid on one of the literary world's best-kept secrets when she confessed she was the former p rostitute behind a best-selling diary — something her parents only found out about when it appeared in a newspaper — writes Gordon Rayner for The Daily Telegraph.
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FRANCE: Huge loan to fund universities, research labs
French universities and research labs should get the largest chunk of the 35 billion euros ($52 billion) the government plans to raise through a special loan, members of a panel preparing for the loan said on Monday, writes Emmanuel Jarry for Reuters. President Nicolas Sarkozy announced in June plans to raise a large amount of money to fund forward-looking strategic investments and help France emerge from the economic crisis in a stronger position.
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GERMANY: Student tracked down alleged Nazi criminal
Former SS sergeant Adolf Storms lived in Germany unnoticed for more than six decades after World War II until an Austrian university student last year came across his name while researching a 1945 massacre of Jewish forced labourers, writes David Rising for The Associated Press. The student gave the information to state prosecutors near Storms' hometown of Duisburg, and they have now filed charges against the 90-year-old on 58 counts of murder for killings near the Austrian village of Deutsch Schuetzen, a German court said.
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US: Computing rivalling human brain possible by 2019
Computers capable of mimicking the human brain's power and efficiency could be just 10 years off, according to a leading researcher at IBM, writes Daniel Terdiman for CNET News. According to researcher Dharmendra Modha, manager of IBM's cognitive computing initiative, scientists from IBM and some of the world's top universities have already managed to simulate the computing complexity of the feline cortex — a feat that could augur a day not too far off when it will be possible to ramp up to what the human brain can accomplish.
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US: Researchers' conflicts of interest go unreported
Few US universities make required reports to the government about the financial conflicts of their researchers — and even when such conflicts are reported, university administrators rarely require researchers to eliminate or reduce these conflicts — government investigators found, writes Gardiner Harris for The New York Times.
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US: University presidents call for more federal funding
Recalibrating the puzzle pieces of support for public universities to include more financing from the federal government as state contributions wane might offer the best solution for public universities' economic woes, a panel of university presidents concluded at the Association of Public and Land-grant University annual conference held in Washington last week, writes Jennifer Epstein for Inside Higher Ed.
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US: Graduate job market worst in decades — survey
Hiring levels for college graduates across America are at their lowest level in decades and are not expected to improve in 2010, a new survey from Michigan State University has found, writes Sven Gustafson for MLive. The survey also found that graduates must be flexible and entrepreneurial to compete for fewer jobs with lower salaries and benefits.
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UK: Universities bailing out students
Three-quarters of universities in England have had to bail out students with emergency funding because of delays to loans and grants, a BBC survey has found. Tens of thousands of students are still waiting for their first maintenance payments as the Student Loans Company struggles to cope with demand.
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TAIWAN: Universities to admit Chinese students in 2010
Taiwanese universities aim to admit Chinese students for the first time next year, an official said last week, reports AFP. Chinese students from 41 of mainland universities recognised by Taiwanese authorities are expected to start enrolling as early as the autumn term of 2010, an aide quoted Education Minister Wu Ching-ji as saying.
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SOUTH AFRICA: Class of 2008 challenges universities
The University of Johannesburg's goal of raising its throughput rate from 76% to 78% next year would be an "uphill challenge" because of the change in students that has come from the new school curriculum, Vice-chancellor Ihron Rensburg said last week, writes Sue Blaine for Business Day.
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SAUDI ARABIA: Big new medical science project
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Higher Education, Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Anqari, last week signed a SR1.9 billion (US$0.5 billion) contract for the Medical City Project at the Abha-based King Khalid University, reports Zawya.
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CHINA: University pushes bold exam reform
One of China's top higher education institutions, Peking University, last week released a list of 39 high school principals nationwide recognised to recommend students to be enrolled without taking college entrance examinations, reports the Shanghai Daily. Recommended students could be given offers of places after interviews rather than taking the exams.
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