30 April 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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AUSTRALIA: Ethics and the university
An ethical framework brings an institution's values to the fore and helps it fulfil its social duty. This is why the Joint Committee on Higher Education, currently reviewing Australia's national protocols, has canvassed adding provisions to encourage accountability and ethical behaviour.
AUSTRALIA: No longer the second sex
More girls than boys finish secondary school in Australia, more go on to university, more complete their degrees and now more are enrolled in postgraduate studies. An extraordinary transformation has occurred between the genders. But does this threaten the future of the male sex?
UK: Gender equity in low-income countries
Research into gender equality in higher education in low-income countries has shown some astonishing patterns, reports id21, an organisation communicating development research. A study by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) uncovered problems such as sexual harassment and gender violence, barriers to access, and women staff being excluded from promotion and professional development.
SPAIN: Gender equity elusive
Although they have made significant progress, women in academe continue to face persistent barriers to professional equality, experts from around the world heard at the 6th International Conference on Higher Education and Research, held at the University of Málaga. In an article on a conference theme, ‘Advancing gender equity’, Education International points to a number of equity studies underway.
ZIMBABWE: Economic crisis devastates universities
Zimbabwe's economic crisis has taken its toll on state universities that have also been devastated by a mass exodus of academics, resulting in plummeting standards. The flight of lecturers had hit crisis levels, said Professor John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, the country's oldest institution. Major push factors were low pay for academics in a collapsing economy with 165,000% inflation - the world's highest - poor working conditions, lack of transport and computers, and problems finding accommodation.
OECD: Consumer concept becomes a policy instrument
Few people in higher education today are unaware of university rankings. Criticised and lampooned by many, their increasing popularity and notoriety is a reflection of the absence of publically available ‘consumer’ information for students, parents and other stakeholders about higher education institutions.
AUSTRALIA: Jiao Tong superior but not ideal
The Jiao Tong system has to be judged clearly superior to the THES system. In emphasising research it focuses on one of the essential functions of a university and, in contrast to the THES, which gives great weight to peer review, Jiao Tong is concerned with genuine criteria rather than mere symptoms of excellence; it also aims to confine itself to relatively objective criteria indicating demonstrable and measurable differences between universities.
AUSTRALIA: The power of rankings
University rankings are powerful. They compel public attention and shape the behaviour of universities and policy makers. Two decades of the annual US News and World Report rankings have closely influenced American practice. Institutions feel compelled to lift their US News position and this has encouraged, for example, the manipulation of student entry to maximise student scores and refusal rates, and the growth of merit-based student aid at the expense of needs-based aid.
CHINA: Rankings – Methodologies and Problems
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), produced by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, has garnered much attention and generated its share controversy. In a paper, “Academic Ranking of World Universities – Methodologies and Problems”, the authors, who are part of the ranking group, explain how ARWU actually ranks institutions for research and academic achievement, and address some of the methodological and technical problems that arise in ranking universities.
INTERNATIONAL: More on rankings
The August 2007 Academic Ranking of World Universities, produced by the Institute of Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, is available on the institution’s website.
UK: Academics call for rankings to be abandoned
In July this year a peer-reviewed scholarly article in the open access journal, BMC Medicine, took a critical look at the most popular world university rankings. The authors, academics based in Greece and the United States, assessed the validity of the two systems and their ranking criteria. They concluded that institutional rankings are misleading and should be abandoned.
AFRICA: Literature scholars pledge support for rights
Hundreds of academics, writers and critics of African literature pledged to intensify support for human rights and good governance in Africa, at the 34th annual conference of the African Literature Association held at Western Illinois University recently. Many of around 360 papers presented rejected the worn-out philosophy of 'Afro-pessimism' and expressed faith in the cultural creativity of African people.
US: Universities face transgender issues head-on
With issues of gender identity out in the open in America, more young people are publicly defining themselves as transgender and are pushing university administrators to recognise diversity more openly. Some American universities are addressing those needs head-on to help transgender students integrate into campus life without labels.
How Kenyatta’s leader shattered the glass ceiling
Olive Mugenda is vice-chancellor of Kenyatta University, Kenya’s second largest institution by student numbers. For years she knocked on the doors of management, quietly but very persistently. When they opened, she entered enthusiastically – and made a major impact. She spoke to University World News for the latest in our article series on African university leaders.
How Kenyatta’s leader shattered the glass ceiling
Olive Mugenda is vice-chancellor of Kenyatta University, Kenya’s second largest institution by student numbers. For years she knocked on the doors of management, quietly but very persistently. When they opened, she entered enthusiastically – and made a major impact. She spoke to University World News for the latest in our article series on African university leaders.
EGYPT: Academics struggle with no pay rise for 25 years
The monthly salary Tareq Al Desouki earns from his job as a medical professor at a university in Egypt's Nile Delta barely covers his family's needs for one week. He depends on his earnings from a private clinic to make both ends meet. "But what about the thousands of university professors who do not have a private clinic to earn enough to cope with the soaring costs of living?" complains Desouki, a leading member of the University Teaching Staff Club, a union pushing for substantial increases in the salaries of instructors in Egypt's government-run universities. Last month, lecturers staged a symbolic half-day nationwide strike, the first in Egypt's academic life, to demand better wages and working conditions.
CYPRUS: Politics puts brake on university co-operation
For an island of less than a million people Cyprus is well served with universities. It has nine of them, to be precise.
GLOBAL: The smart money is on Australia
The academic world is becoming a smaller place, with ever increasing numbers of students studying overseas and staff collaborating across continents. OECD official Andreas Schleicher talks to Brendan O'Malley about why some countries have turned higher education into a leading export industry and others struggle to compete.
RUSSIA: Putin’s new dissidents
Russia’s ageing but revered scientific geniuses are on collision course with the Kremlin after the 1,200-strong members of the country’s leading scientific body rejected government proposals to seize control of its vast property holdings.
US: Keeping stem cell research alive
In an era of reduced federal funding in America for medical research, scientists at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle were thrilled to receive a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the nation’s premier medical research agency.
US: Funding cuts threaten quality at state universities
Soaring student fees, huge fundraising drives and controversial corporate donations have not made up for a sharp decline in the state's commitment to higher education, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Greece: Education squares up to the new government
The return of the conservative government in Greece for a second four-year period, albeit with a marginal majority of just two seats in the 300-seat parliament, is likely to inflame its bitter dispute with the nation’s academic community over the reform of Article 16 of the Constitution.
RUSSIA: Religious revival troubles Vitaly Ginzburg
For a man who has just turned 91, Nobel-prize winning physicist Vitaly Ginzburg remains amazingly active in his intellectual life and continues to attract controversy.
CANADA: A scholarship puppy with big paws
The mice seem calmer in Sunday Bisong’s Canadian lab. The doctoral student’s rodent subjects require a “serene environment” for the neuro-behavioral work he is conducting.
GLOBAL: Universities sign up for UN Academic Impact
For the last six years the United Nations has been pursuing a novel idea: gathering academic research globally into a practical framework. Last November, the idea finally came to fruition when Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launched the UN Academic Impact in New York. So far, nearly 600 universities have signed up to participate, making the initiative one of the fastest-growing cooperative measures of its kind.