Monday, 25 June 2012

University World News Issue 0227

Is ‘foreign education outpost’ a better concept than branch campuses?

This week Carmen Paun interviews Elizabeth Thompson, executive coordinator of Rio+20, on the role of universities in the Earth Summit and the implications for higher education of its outcomes. In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha forecasts that by 2015 trends in international student mobility may reverse, with more Chinese students staying home while more Indian students travel abroad.
In Commentary, Kevin Kinser and Jason E Lane argue that research into universities operating in more than one country has tended to focus on international branch campuses, ignoring other, more prevalent types of cross-border collaboration.
Tara Cookson contends that tuition fee hikes and civil disobedience in Quebec and elsewhere raise questions about equitable human development in developed countries. And Phil Baty writes that global university rankings are important, but are a crude measure of excellence and need to be handled with care.
In Features, Jan Petter Myklebust investigates the flood of maths, physics and technology students into the finance industry, including top candidates for academia, and Wagdy Sawahel reports on a United Nations plan to improve access to higher education for refugees.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

More than half of teaching done by casuals 
Geoff Maslen

The National Tertiary Education Union will use a forthcoming higher education enterprise bargaining round to call for the creation of 2,000 new ongoing jobs for casual academics, or 20% of their total numbers. The union says more than half of all academic teaching in Australian universities is undertaken “by people paid by the hour”.

New higher education law passed, but sparks criticism
Hiep Pham

Vietnam’s national assembly has voted to adopt a wide-ranging Law on Higher Education, which was approved by almost 85% of the assembly this week – the first time the country has promulgated a law dedicated specifically to the higher education sector.

Vice-chancellors vow to undertake governance reforms
Ameen Amjad Khan

Some 200 heads of universities from 39 member countries of the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation agreed to bring about governance reforms in higher education and increase the number of women university leaders, during a meeting in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad this month.

Universities aim to clear up tuition fee confusion
Alison Moodie
Parents will be finding some relief from the confusing assemblage of notices, bills and receipts involved in paying for college. Nearly 100 private and public colleges and universities, including the New York and Texas tertiary state systems, will provide parents and students with a one-page ‘shopping sheet’ detailing what they can expect to pay for a year of studies.

Five more universities win elite status
Michael Gardner
Five additional German institutions can now call themselves 'elite universities', among them Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of Dresden, both in what used to be East Germany. But the University of Karlsruhe was among the institutions that failed to retain elite status in the second round of the Excellence Initiative.

Academics feel the pinch of parliament’s dissolution
Ashraf Khaled
A recent court ruling invalidating Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament has dashed hopes among academics that their status will be improved any time soon.

Research elite warns against ‘bean-counting’ culture
David Haworth
The growth of research assessment driven by obsessive measurement and monitoring fosters a global “bean-counting culture” in tertiary education that can detract from the real quality of university research, experts have warned.

London university students face worst crime risk
Brendan O’Malley

Universities in the Greater London area are exposed to the highest rates of crimes that are most relevant to students, with London Metropolitan University faring worst and Kingston best, according to the latest ranking of institutions in England and Wales.

Fears that government wants to ban student federation
Dinesh De Alwis

Student groups in Sri Lanka are in uproar over fears that the government wants to ban their main union, the Inter University Students’ Federation. Students said this would be a step towards destroying the education system and would pave the way for private universities.


Rio+20 was held last week. University World News reports on ways in which universities are involved in sustainable development and environment debates and research, and their role after the summit.

Higher education sustainability in Rio+20 declaration 
Carmen Paun

In an exclusive interview the executive coordinator of the Rio+20 conference on global sustainability, Elizabeth Thompson, told University World News why higher education is key to the international strategy she hopes will flow from agreements made at the event.

Earth’s future in hands of business, education, society
Stephen Eisenhammer

The Rio+20 conference on sustainability ended on Friday in widespread disappointment and the sense that an important opportunity had been missed. The outcome document was agreed before leaders even arrived, giving the event the feel of a photo moment rather than a real attempt to push forward the sustainability agenda.

Sustainable energy budgets must increase, says report
Smriti Mallapaty

Global investments in sustainable energy must increase by US$500 million a year to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to a report launched in Rio last week – the culmination of six years of research by 500 contributors.

Science academies call for action on sustainability

The world’s 105 science academies last week called on world leaders to take decisive action on global challenges of population and consumption. And the Global Young Academy said that Earth’s problem was not science. “It is leadership”.

University-led sustainable projects face obstacles
Ria Nurdiani

The final document of the UN conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro underscores the importance of universities in carrying out research and innovation for sustainable development. But many universities in developing countries say it is not easy to get the necessary support.


IAUP president J Michael Adams dies
Yojana Sharma

J Michael Adams, president of the International Association of University Presidents, has died in the United States after being diagnosed last year with a rare blood disease and cancer. He was 64.


Robot traders ‘are raiding our maths talent’
Jan Petter Myklebust

Norwegian universities are fighting an uphill battle to hold onto talented mathematics, physics and technology students due to demand from the finance industry, academics have warned.

Improving access to higher education for refugees
Wagdy Sawahel

In commemoration of World Refugee Day, universities and governments have been urged not to lose sight of the higher education needs of the world’s 43.7 million forcibly displaced migrants, by improving their access to higher education as a tool for the economic development of both home and host countries.


Looming shift in student mobility from China and India?
Rahul Choudaha

A variety of factors, including changing demographics and investment in quality higher education, could see more Chinese students staying at home by 2015, while more Indian students travel abroad. Universities need to prepare now.


Seeing the forest beyond the branch (campus)
Kevin Kinser and Jason E Lane

Cross-border higher education research has tended to focus too much on international branch campuses. But many collaborations don't fit this model. In fact, branch campuses represent a minority of cross-border higher education activity happening today, and ‘foreign education outposts’ might be a better concept.

Higher education's role in equitable development
Tara Cookson
Protesters against university fee hikes in Quebec, Canada, and against cutbacks in other countries raise questions about equitable development for developed countries. Privatising higher education shows that our priorities as countries are skewed against future development.

Rankings don't tell the whole story
Phil Baty

University rankings are being used to determine international partnerships, but we need to be honest about their weaknesses as well as their strengths. No university ranking can ever be exhaustive or objective.


Granite helped give rise to multi-celled organisms

It is one of the world’s toughest rocks, used to create buildings and monuments across the globe and famously linked with one of Scotland’s main cities. Now scientists have discovered that granite played an important role in a major episode more than 1.5 billion years ago – an episode that eventually led to human life on Earth.

GPS technology improves weather forecasting

The satellite-based Global Positioning System technology that guides modern in-car navigation systems is now being used to improve weather forecasts. Researchers at RMIT University’s SPACE Research Centre in Melbourne and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology are using GPS and low Earth-orbiting satellites to provide an additional type of temperature profile observation for use in weather forecasting computer models.

Domestic dogs respond to human distress

Researchers from Goldsmiths College at the University of London have found that domestic dogs express empathic behaviour when confronted with humans in distress. Dr Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer developed an innovative procedure to examine if domestic dogs could identify and respond to emotional states in humans.

No comments: