22 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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World Round-up
US: Harvard faculty halts searches for professors
Harvard University officials said they would postpone nearly all searches for tenure-track professors in the school's largest academic body, in a sobering indication of how the economic crisis has hit the world's wealthiest university, writes Tracy Jan in The Boston Globe. The move by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which also plans to freeze salaries for its 720-member faculty, followed a stop on hiring non-faculty staff announced last month.
US: More eligible students, fewer college slots
California high schools are graduating more students qualified to enter a public university than in past years - especially Latinos - but the state's grim financial picture means not everyone may get to enrol, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
US: Court allows review of scholar's visa denial
A United States judge last week ruled that federal courts may review the case of a Muslim South African scholar denied a visa to enter America on the grounds he had engaged in terrorist activities, reports Independent Online.
UK: Universities may face deficit
Serious concerns have been raised about the future financial sustainability of the UK's universities, writes Hannah Richardson of the BBC. The higher education sector overall is predicting a 4% real terms deficit, partly due to a £2 billion (US$3 billion) shortfall in research funding and high staff costs.
UK: Devolution creates university funding gap
Universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be threatened as fee-charging institutions in England grow ever larger, a report warned last week. The study by the vice-chancellors' group, Universities UK, warned of the possible impact of devolution on diverging higher education policies within the UK, writes Anthea Lipsett in The Guardian.
UK: Academics petition over 'spying'
Academics and students have presented a 4,500-signature petition to Downing Street, urging the government to withdraw new immigration rules for overseas students in the UK, reports the BBC. From next March, universities will need a licence to offer places to students from outside the European Union, and will have to act as their sponsors. Lecturers will be expected to monitor whether foreign students are attending tutorials and report if they fail to attend.
PHILLIPINES: Boost planned for universities and research
Commission on Higher Education Chairman, Emmanuel Angeles, has vowed to strengthen research and development capability in state universities and colleges, reports the Phillipine News Agency. The country's 111 state institutions have been divided into six clusters to maximise the utilisation of resources.
PERU: Yale sued for disputed Inca artefacts
Peru is suing Yale University in a US federal court to recover thousands of Inca artefacts removed from the Machu Picchu jungle ruins nearly a century ago, reports Associated Press. In a suit filed earlier this month in Washington, the South American nation is demanding that Yale returns what it says are more than 40,000 artefacts taken by famed scholar Hiram Bingham III between 1911 and 1915.
US: Princeton settles $900 million endowment lawsuit
Princeton University has settled a lawsuit over an endowment valued in June at more than $900 million, ending a six-year dispute about how the money is spent. The suit hinged on whether Princeton was meeting the donor's requirement of using the gift to educate students for government careers, reports Bloomberg.
IRAN: Protesters cause damage at Tehran University
An "illegal splinter group" of an Iranian student body caused damage and clashed with security personnel during a gathering at Tehran University last weekend, the official IRNA news agency reported. Pictures obtained by Reuters showed hundreds of people gathered at the university in the centre of the Iranian capital, some carrying pro-democracy banners.
KENYA: Government to improve quality in universities
Kenya's government has admitted that quality in universities is low and needs immediate improvement. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Professor Crispus Kiamba, said efforts to address the issue were underway and that a regional approach had been taken.
DUBAI: Tuition fees checked by universities' expansion
The rapid opening of universities in Dubai has kept tuition fees down, the head of the emirate's education authority says, reports The National. Dr Abdulla al Karam, chairman of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, said the growing number of university spaces was "working for the students". He was responding to concerns that too many universities have been opening, risking closures of those that fail to attract enough students.
CANADA: Lecturers censure First Nations University
Saskatchewan's First Nations University of Canada is facing yet another crisis after the Canadian Association of University Teachers voted unanimously to censure the institution for failing to insulate itself from political interference and safeguard academic freedom, write Joe Friesen and Elizabeth Church in the Globe and Mail.
US: Women abroad and men at home
Across America, fuelled by growth in short-term programmes and increasing diversity in participating students' majors and destinations, a two-to-one female-to-male ratio of students studying abroad has stayed remarkably stagnant, writes Elizabeth Redden in Inside Higher Ed. In 2006-07, the most recent year for which data are available, 65.1% of Americans studying abroad were women, and 34.9% were men. A decade earlier, when the total number of study abroad students was less than half its current total, the breakdown was 64.9% female, 35.1% male, according to Institute of International Education Open Doors statistics.
US: Harvard's endowment plunges $8 billion
Harvard University's endowment lost more than $8 billion in four months, a 22% plunge that is the steepest decline at the school in modern history, reports The Boston Globe. The loss brings the endowment from $36.9 billion on 30 June to roughly $28.7 billion by the end of October.
US: Graduate students pay and benefits vary widely
When it comes to the financial packages that graduate students receive to pursue their degrees, the devil is in the details. A survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, conducted in recent months, of the pay and benefits of teaching and research assistants at more than 100 research institutions reveals a dizzying array of variables that students must compare.
US: Studies link part-time lecturers to poor quality
It is no secret that colleges and universities are relying increasingly on part-time instructors or other faculty who are neither tenured nor on track for tenure. But a flurry of recent studies draw troubling conclusions about what kind of impact that is having on the quality of a student's education, reports USA Today.
KOREA: Top universities get state research funds
The government has announced a list of universities whose research projects will be funded to support their international competitiveness, reports Korea Times. Eighteen universities will benefit from the World Class University project that will finance 52 research initiatives proposed by the institutions, said the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
EAST AFRICA: Minister wants university fees harmonised
Following the recent signing of the inter-university bill by partner states of the East African Community, or EAC, all universities in the five member countries should charge uniform fees, chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers Monique Mukaruliza has urged. But the decision should only be implemented after legislation and ratification of the bill and protocol has been done by member states, reports The New Times.
UK: Students fashion their own education
In David Melville's last year as vice-chancellor of the University of Kent, where he worked until September 2007, he found the style of students' emails to him had changed, writes Harriet Swain in The Guardian. "Hi Dave, how are you today? Just thought I'd let you know what I'm doing," they would read. Or: "Sorry you're going. I've had a good time here and that would probably have had something to do with you, so thanks."
UK: Are universities hotbeds of Islamic radicalism?
Cambridge researcher June Edmunds has argued that most young British Muslims are not disaffected radicals. But politics Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University, pointed out in a blog in The Guardian that her study is based on just 26 interviews. His article provoked a lively set of reader responses.
AUSTRALIA: Less cash for more PhDs, say scientists
The flagship grant programme of the Australian Research Council should radically be redesigned, with emphasis on a large number of low-cost grants to train PhD students, a group of scientists has urged, reports The Australian. Their call was inspired by a Canadian programme that funds a high proportion of applicants.
US: Toledo official fired over column sues
The firing of a college administrator over her criticism of gay rights has sparked a debate about free speech and whether universities have the right to regulate what employees say outside of their jobs, reports Associated Press. Crystal Dixon filed a lawsuit in federal court last week seeking to be reinstated to her University of Toledo job, which she lost after writing in a newspaper column that gay rights cannot be compared to civil rights because homosexuality is a choice.
IRAN: Foreign universities to be allowed
The Iranian government is planning to allow foreign universities to establish branches in the country, an official has revealed, reports Press TV.
US: University presidents to give back some pay
In the week after The Chronicle of Higher Education published its annual survey of university presidents' pay - a week in which the nation's economic troubles worsened - several of the highest-paid presidents said that they would give back part of their pay or forgo their raises, writes Tamar Lewin in the New York Times.