03 September 2015 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
GLOBAL
The hidden bias of science’s universal language
Since the middle of the last century, things have shifted in the global scientific community. English is now so prevalent that in some non-English speaking countries – like Germany, France and Spain – English-language academic papers outnumber publications in the country’s own language several times over. In the Netherlands this ratio is an astonishing 40:1, writes Adam Huttner-Koros for The Atlantic.
PALESTINE
Financial crisis threatens collapse of universities
Trade unionists have warned of a possible collapse of Palestinian universities against the backdrop of a financial crisis that could cause a large deficit in the higher education budget and lead to its eventual suspension, reports Middle East Monitor.
UNITED STATES
Illinois campus leaders demand re-hiring of Salaita
Forty-one campus leaders at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have signed an open letter calling on the institution to hire Steven G Salaita, whose appointment to a professorship was nixed last year over the scholar’s anti-Israel tweets, writes Andy Thomason for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
JAPAN
26 universities to abolish humanities, social sciences
Nearly half of 60 Japanese national universities that have humanities and social science faculties plan to abolish those departments in the 2016 academic year or later, reports The Japan News-Asia News Network.
GLOBAL
THE rankings to exclude ‘kilo-authored’ papers
This year, for the first time, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings will exclude any papers that have more than 1,000 authors, as they are considered to be “so freakish that they have the potential to distort the global scientific landscape”, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.
GERMANY
Universities ‘do their part’ for refugees
While affordable tuition for undocumented immigrants is a remote prospect in some parts of the United States, about 60 German universities are pushing forward a radical strategy: according to Handelsblatt they are offering refugees the chance to attend courses as guest students, without charging any tuition fees. In fact, they even pay for transportation and offer scholarships to pay for books, writes Rick Noack for The Washington Post.
UNITED KINGDOM
'Millions' in taxpayers' money owed by foreign students
Millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money wrongly awarded to foreign students is yet to be recovered, reports BBC News. A total of £2.45 million (US$3.7 million) in loans and grants was given to individuals at alternative higher education providers, due to proper checks not being in place.
UNITED KINGDOM
Academics need to be managed. It's time to accept that
I work in a university that still has sabbaticals. It’s the largest investment we make in research. We ask staff for a short proposal about how their time is to be spent, and what they hope to gain from the experience. A number of staff have labelled this process a form of neo-liberalised surveillance. And this sums up the problem many of them have with management, writes an anonymous academic for the Guardian.
MALAYSIA
Universities warn students to stay away from rally
Malaysian universities have threatened to take disciplinary action against students who attend the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, 4.0 anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur, which they claim is illegal, reports the Asian Correspondent.
INDIA
Government keen on 'exporting' higher education
The government is keen on ‘exporting’ India’s higher education to generate money by offering online degree programmes to students abroad, reports the Deccan Herald.
UNITED KINGDOM
Scottish universities fear £450m blow under Holyrood plans
University leaders have warned that up to £450 million (US$694 million) could be lost from their finances under Scottish government plans to seize greater “control and influence” over the way they are run, writes Scot MacNab for the Scotsman.
UNITED STATES
Gladwell weighs in on university endowment debate
In a sharp-elbowed opinion piece in The New York Times recently, Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of San Diego, took several big-name schools to task for the ways that they handle their endowments. Fleischer's argument moved Malcolm Gladwell, the author and New Yorker writer, to fire off a barrage of tweets excoriating Yale and the other schools featured in Fleischer's article, writes Scott Simon for NPR.
UNITED STATES
Trump University was a scam, say former students
Do you remember Trump University? Probably not – it didn’t really catch on. And one big reason it didn’t catch on is because it was a total scam, say a slew of former students in complaints that were filed to the Federal Trade Commission and were recently unearthed by a Freedom of Information Act request from Gizmodo, writes Ethan Wolff-Mann for TIME.
UNITED STATES
Stop universities from hoarding money
Who do you think received more cash from Yale’s endowment last year: Yale students, or the private equity fund managers hired to invest the university’s money? It’s not even close, writes Victor Fleischer for The New York Times.
EGYPT
World famous Muslim university faces global backlash
Al-Azhar University, among the Islamic world's most renowned institutions, is losing respect globally as its leadership sides with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, writes Michael Kaplan for International Business Times.
PALESTINE
A grim anniversary for universities
More than a year after the 51-day war last summer between Israel and Palestine, Palestinian universities are still suffering from the damage, and professors and students are struggling to cope, writes Asma’ Jawabreh and Rasha Faek for Al-Fanar.
TURKEY
Rising graduate unemployment may ‘cause social revolt’
Educational experts believe the large number of unemployed university graduates in Turkey, growing every year because of an ill-planned education system, may create social disturbances and even revolt in the coming years, writes Osman Unalan for Today’s Zaman.
JORDAN
EU provides education grant for Syrian refugees
The EU has provided Jordan with a grant totalling €60 million (US$67 million) to help with education services provided to Syrian refugees and the kingdom's participation in EU youth programmes, reports ANSAmed.
UNITED STATES-VIETNAM
Harvard gets government funds to set up Vietnam university
The US State Department has granted Harvard University US$2.5 million to transition a university-run public policy programme in Vietnam into the country’s first independent, non-profit, US-affiliated university in Ho Chi Minh City, write Mariel A Klein and Luca F Schroeder for The Harvard Crimson.
IRAN
The new business of education
Enghelab Square lies at the heart of Tehran’s urban and revolutionary landscape, just metres away from the gates of Tehran University. The site of some of the most pitched battles of the 1979 revolution, the square today bustles as an open-air market of goods. There, among the booksellers and fruit vendors, visitors can buy bootleg DVDs, banned books, drugs and alcohol and, if need be, an entire masters thesis – written from scratch and prepared for oral defence, in less than a month, writes Shervin Malekzadeh for The Washington Post.
SYRIA
IS militants behead archaeologist – Official
Islamic State, or IS, militants beheaded an antiquities scholar in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and hung his body on a column in a main square of the historic site, reports Reuters.
AUSTRALIA
University takes Commonwealth to court over broken promise
The University of Canberra is preparing for legal action against the Commonwealth for what it argues is an unlawful cancellation of a A$26 million (US$19 million) federal grant to set up a Centre for Quality Teaching and Learning, writes Emma Macdonald for The Canberra Times.
UNITED KINGDOM
Zygmunt Bauman accused of serial ‘self-plagiarism’
An academic paper claims one of the world’s most eminent sociologists has included large amounts of self-plagiarised material in a dozen of his most recent books, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.
AUSTRALIA
Study claims humans killed mammoths, not climate change
Two recent studies into ancient animal extinction appear to diametrically contradict each other, after a new university study claimed it was humans, and not climate change, that caused the demise of mammoths, sabre-tooth tigers and other ancient species, reports RT.
UNITED STATES
Mass extinctions speed up evolution – Study
A computer science team at the University of Texas at Austin has found that robots evolve more quickly and efficiently after a virtual mass extinction modelled after real-life disasters such as the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Beyond its implications for artificial intelligence, the research supports the idea that mass extinctions actually speed up evolution by unleashing new creativity in adaptations, reports UT News.