30 April 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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US: Harvard Educational Review probes equity and access
While college education has long been considered the primary engine of social mobility in the US, there are racial, ethnic and class disparities in higher education – and in the new millennium hikes in tuition fees, decreased funding for students and growing disparities in US society appear to be further limiting access and success for the economically and socially disadvantaged, argue the editors of the Harvard Educational Review. Its Winter 2007 issue presents a Symposium on Equity and Access in Higher Education to “call attention to the need for ongoing and creative efforts to provide equal college opportunities to all members of society, and to ensure that higher education institutions fulfil their common mission of serving the needs of students, communities and society”.
UK: More action on sustainable development, says HEFCE
Institutions need to do more to maximise their role in improving the environment, preserving natural resources and making an economic and social impact, according to a review of sustainable development in the sector released by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Among its findings are that two-thirds of institutions are engaged in sustainable development-related research, but that the level of involvement is uneven and the place of sustainable development in the curriculum is varied, as is environmental performance across the higher education estate.
US: Report identifies six key emerging HE technologies
The just published 2008 edition of The Horizon Report has identified six key emerging technologies “likely to have considerable impact on teaching, learning and creative expression within higher education”. They are grassroots video, collaboration webs, mobile broadband, data mashups, collective intelligence and social operating systems. The 2008 edition is the fifth annual report produced by the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, and co-published (for free distribution) with the non-profit EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.
SOUTH AFRICA: A better way to cut up the pie
South Africa has 23 universities with different histories, different capacities, different resources, and different visions and missions. One would think this rich diversity would be used as a strength to promote excellence and global competitiveness. But the country continues to pretend that its universities are the same and therefore treats them the same, without differentiating, focusing and providing resources each to its comparative and competitive advantages. This failure to differentiate, and the continuation of functioning contrary to and denying factual evidence, characterises much of present-day South Africa and has led to a decline in academic productivity, new knowledge production and innovation relative to the rest of the world.
UK: Universities must close gender, ethnic attainment gaps
Students from most minority ethic groups in Britain are statistically less likely than others to obtain the highest degree classifications, and women perform better than men – except in achieving a first for their degrees – according to government research published last year. A new report, based on a year-long Ethnicity, Gender and Degree Attainment Project and led by the Higher Education Academy and the Equality Challenge Unit, urges institutions and agencies to take steps to close gender and ethic attainment gaps among students.
UK: ‘Tool kit’ to combat campus extremism
The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has published an updated guide on preventing ‘violent extremism’ on campuses. The 28-page booklet, titled Promoting good campus relations, fostering shared values and preventing violent extremism in universities and higher education colleges, has been slammed as “unhelpful and contradictory” by students but given a “qualified welcome” by the Equality Challenge Unit. Among other things it suggests that universities draw up watch lists of guest speakers and set up multi-faith chaplaincies in stead to separate prayer rooms for different faiths.
US: Globalisation and forces for change in HE
In some ways, globalisation works against the desire to create a worldwide academic community based on cooperation and a shared vision of academic development, writes Professor Philip G Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, in the latest issue of International Higher Education. “The globalisation of science and scholarship, ease of communication, and the circulation of the best academic talent worldwide have not led to equality in higher education. Indeed, both within national academic systems and globally, inequalities are greater than ever,” he concludes.
US: New NAFSA report on ‘Strengthening study abroad’
The growth of study abroad, an integral part of any campus internationalisation effort, brings with it new challenges for higher education leaders, administrators and professionals.
SOUTH AFRICA: Brave new path for intelligentsia
Universities across South Africa are facing significantly different challenges from those encountered in the immediate aftermath of apartheid, writes Achille Mbembe, a research professor in history and politics at the University of the Witwatersrand, in The Weekender. Some of these challenges are made worse by lingering racial tension, the erosion of public trust and, according to sections of radical academics, a lack of genuine commitment to structural transformation. Others are the direct result of a decreasing understanding in the wider public of what universities are meant to do, the kind of asset they are for the nation and their role alongside other key democratic institutions of public life, such as the judiciary or the media. Yet others are the consequence of the increased trans-nationalisation of research, the rising cost of education and the acute competition for faculty, students and financial resources worldwide. But the single most serious threat to the immediate future of South African universities is the unravelling of the African National Congress.
AFRICA: Research universities needed to fight poverty
Research universities, as a source of new knowledge, are one of the critical levers - along with government and industry - needed to shape a knowledge economy in any part of the world. The key question for Africa is how universities can be aligned to support economic development, the eradication of poverty and sustainable use of natural resources. Here research and knowledge, far from being ivory tower pursuits, become critical to making poverty history and preparing countries to cope with disasters. However, to achieve this, research should be understood not only as a source of new knowledge, but also as a process that trains people to create more knowledge.
This SciDev.net article is on the University World News site
US: Scholars reflect on HE and globalisation
Some 160 scholars gathered on the Berkeley campus of the University of California recently to share views on significant changes facing higher education, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Center for Studies in Higher Education. A report titled A reflection and prospectus on globalisation in higher education encapsulates the discussion and features an historical look at how the scholarly field on higher education has grown and changed over the past five decades.
UK: Europe must close higher education gap with US
Just as Britain hosts the world's top tennis tournament but never wins it, so Europeans are in a similar situation with education, writes Lykke Friis, pro vice-chancellor of the University of Copenhagen, in The Scotsman. While the world’s venerable old universities are scattered across Europe, US institutions are out-performing, out-spending and out-researching them.
US: Study explores California university leadership skills
A new paper from the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) explores the different leadership styles of two prominent former University of California presidents. Clark Kerr and David Gardner “helped to set the trajectory” that made the university system successful, states the paper’s author Dr Cristina González, a faculty member at Davis and a CSHE research associate.
CANADA: Plotting the future of Islamic Studies
In the latest issue of the Canadian journal Academic Matters, Tariz Ramadan – the noted Islamic scholar and Oxford University fellow who was refused entry to the US by the Bush administration – traces the changes and continuities in the West’s interest in Islam. Self-interest still reigns, he argues, and it is time for long term investment in a more serious, more academic, and less ideological framework for university Islamic Studies.
US: The state of university publishing
A special double issue of the ARL Bimonthly Report focuses on the state of university publishing and the evolving role for research libraries in the delivery of publishing services, reports OA Librarian. The Ithaka report University Publishing in a Digital Age is the focus of three articles: a summary of the report by its authors, an assessment of its recommendation that research institutions should have “publishing strategies”, and a description of a social commentary on the report.
US: The Immigrant University – new study
The startling number of students from different ethnic, racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds in the University of California system – where 54% of undergraduates have at least one parent who is an immigrant – points to the need for an expanded notion of diversity, says a new report by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at Berkeley.
UK: Enhancing the student experience
Britain's 1994 Group of research-intensive universities has recommended that institutions find ways of accrediting skills-imparting student extracurricular activities, to build recognition among employers of "well-rounded" graduates.
US: Report looks at HE overseas
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have published a report comparing higher education in the United States and aboard “in an effort to bring American universities into an international conversation on higher education”, reports the Daily Californian. The report is titled The crisis of publics.
INDIA: We do need that education
China is re-orienting and investing in its higher education sector to meet the challenges of the future. But India continues to ignore systemic collapse that is crying out for an urgent and drastic overhaul, comments Harsh V Pant, who teaches at King’s College London, on AssamNet.
UK: Universities – extremist hotbeds?
Universities are coming under the spotlight in the fight against terrorism, with critics calling them a hotbed of extremism while lecturers say any clampdown threatens their freedom of speech, reports Reuters. Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently highlighted universities as one a key area where the authorities needed to “act against extremist influences”.
US: Costs and benefits of world class universities
“Everyone wants a world-class university. No country feels it can do without one. The problem is that no one knows what a world class university is, and no one has figured out how to get one,” writes Philip G Altbach in the journal International Higher Education. Not that this has stopped many institutions from calling themselves ‘world class’.
US: Survey of sprouting research parks
A survey by the US Association of University Research Parks (AURP) has confirmed that parks help to invigorate business and the local economy, create jobs and foster collaboration between industry and academics.
CHILE: Social responsibility in universities
In 2001 the project ‘Universidad Construye País’ (University Builds Country) was launched in Chile, reports the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI). Its aim was to carry out coordinated, joint social responsibility activities in the country’s universities. One of the people involved, Catholic University of Temuco rector Mónica Jiménez de la Jara, wrote an article analysing development of the project and its conceptual roots.
EUROPE: New report on international student mobility
The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education has published a report titled “International student mobility: Patterns and trends”.
SWITZERLAND: NORRAG scrutinises ‘best practice’
“It is bad practice to present good practice as best practice,” writes an author of the current issue of Norrag News, the publication of the Network for Policy Research Review and Advice on Education and Training.