ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0130 27 June 2010
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The University of British Columbia is working with the city of Vancouver to further both organisations’ green goals. The first project is an agreement to have most of the city’s wood waste deposited into UBC’s biomass facility. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Denise Bradley
Vin Massaro reviews the Australian government's progress in implementing the 2008 higher education transformation blueprint designed by Denise Bradley (pictured).


University World News was the official media partner to the Unesco World Conference on higher education, held in Paris from 5-8 July 2009.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

UK: Deep cuts loom for higher education
Diane Spencer
Academics are up in arms over last Tuesday’s emergency budget announced by George Osborne, the coalition government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. Public sector cuts averaging 25% will hit all departmental budgets including universities and while the devil will be in the detail, to be revealed in the comprehensive spending review on 20 October, academics are in for a nervous summer speculating where the axe will fall.
Full report on the University World News site

KYRGYZSTAN: Exams go ahead at damaged universities
Yojana Sharma
Several badly damaged universities in Southern Kyrgyzstan re-opened this week for the first time since unrest erupted in mid-June, to allow students to take their final examinations. But the future of the universities destroyed in recent violence is still unclear, it emerged from a meeting between the Kyrgyz Education Ministry and western donors that took place on Thursday.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Rankings of little or no value
Alan Osborn
The ranking of universities in order of ‘excellence’ has become a popular and well-established feature of higher education and is clearly set to continue. But the League of European Research Universities, whose members comprise 22 leading universities in Europe, questions whether rankings have any real value.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: University league tables needed
Jan Petter Myklebust
Europe needs a university league table to encourage competition and boost standards across the continent’s higher education sector, an expert committee of the European Parliament has recommended.
See also this week’s Features section for a report on rankings and research.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Maoist sympathisers targeted
Alya Mishra
Sunil Mandiwal, an assistant professor of Hindi at Delhi’s Dayal Singh College, was arrested by the police for questioning and asked if he was a Maoist sympathiser. Mandiwal was released after an interrogation lasting more than three hours but his arrest has shaken the Indian academic community.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: World students call for free, accessible HE
Unions representing 150 million students worldwide last week called on leaders meeting at the G8 and G20 summits in Canada to forge plans to meet the UN principle of equal access to free higher education, to support education as a public good, and to chart courses towards a more equitable global economy and against poverty and global warming.
More on the University World News site

US: Credit hour under attack
John Richard Schrock*
Despite eight months of intense lobbying by for-profit colleges, the US Department of Education has proposed rules for student aid that try to curtail funding going to questionable courses and programmes.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Scepticism over new student finance deal
Michael Gardner
The German parliament has approved an increase in financial support for students as well as a new grants system for the specially gifted. The new measure has yet to gain the backing of the Upper House, representing the state governments. Their approval is highly uncertain.
Full report on the University World News site

POLAND: Focus on technical education
Jaroslaw Adamowski
The Polish government wants to boost the number of graduates from technical faculties. Late last month, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education allocated 210 million zloty (US$60 million) to create special scholarships for students at the nation’s polytechnics and universities.
Full report on the University World News site

FINLAND: Change the only constant in higher education
Ian R Dobson*
Finland’s Universities Act of 2009 produced major changes in governance and funding from the start of 2010. This seems to have whetted the government’s appetite for reform and by 2020 there will be fewer universities and polytechnics, changes will be made in the disciplinary mix and student intakes will be reduced.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Left-field research rewarded
Geoff Maslen
Australia’s major research funding body, the National Health and Medical Research Council, has announced it will support unusual or ‘transformative’ research ideas. In an announcement on its website the council says a common criticism of government funding agencies around the world is that their peer reviewers are conservative, “tending to support the next logical step in a research programme and sometimes miss new ideas and approaches that are potentially transformative or go against current thinking in the field”.
Full report on the University World News site


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EU: Europeans want research boost
Europeans are more interested in science than sport and want EU research boosted, a new survey has found. A ‘Eurobarometer’ report published last week notes that nearly 80% of Europeans say they are interested in scientific discoveries and technological developments, compared with 65% interested in sport.
Full report on the University World News site

THE NETHERLANDS: Foreign researchers stay
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Netherlands is the third most attractive destination after the US and Switzerland to foreign researchers, according to a survey of 11 Western countries.
Full report on the University World News site


CANADA: University and city forge green alliance
Cayley Dobie
Canada’s University of British Columbia is working with the city of Vancouver to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage more sustainable community living across this coastal city – with potential to set an example for partnerships between other universities and cities around the world.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Optimism grows for future MBA graduates
Cayley Dobie
The Graduate Management Admission Council, the non-profit graduate business school organisation based in Virginia, US, has released a survey finding that although job markets for new business school graduates remain tough there are signs employers have become more willing to hire, as their confidence in economic recovery grows.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Plan for your own international career
Cayley Dobie
Individuals looking for global experience must venture out on their own career path to satisfy personal international goals as organisations are less inclined to structure a career path for employees in today’s uncertain climate, according to research by Belgian Professor Maddy Janssens.
Full report on the University World News site


NAMIBIA: Training for the future: Hangula’s approach
Professor Lazarus Hangula, Vice-chancellor of the University of Namibia, has been described as an innovative administrator. Calm on the surface, he paddles energetically below. Moses Magadza interviewed Hangula for University World News, to try to find out what drives the man at the controls of Namibia’s academic blast furnace.
Full report on the University World News site


RANKINGS: A boost for EU research profile?
Martin Ince*
Think of the European Union and you may think of a body that hands massive subsidies to unprofitable farmers. But even at its inception in 1957 research was one of the European Community’s first objectives. Now it has grown into a central concern for the EU.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Save money switching to OpenSim
Jie Hu*
Educators in post-secondary institutions, colleges and schools looking for lower costs, better controls and no age restrictions might consider switching from Second Life to its open source alternative, the OpenSim virtual world server platform.
Full report on the University World News site

HE Research and Commentary

AUSTRALIA: How goes the higher education revolution?
Vin Massaro
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a revolution as a dramatic and wide-ranging change in the way something works. It is still not clear how Australia’s higher education landscape might be changed fundamentally by the conservative blueprint designed by the 2008 Bradley report, but I suspect it will not approach the revolutionary effects of the Dawkins reforms begun in 1987 by then Labor Education Minister John Dawkins.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Financing higher education worldwide
A new book from Johns Hopkins University Press Financing Higher Education Worldwide: Who pays? Who should pay? by D Bruce Johnstone and Pamela N Marcucci, concludes that while cost-sharing in higher education is still politically and ideologically debated, it is essential for the financial health of colleges and universities and achieves improved efficiency, equity and responsiveness.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

AUSTRALIA: Turning containers into community centres
Students from the Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne are converting old shipping containers into new community centres for the Aboriginal Gudorrka Community and Knuckey’s Lagoon Community in the Northern Territory.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Hymns help relieve pain of early suffering
He was the Bernie Taupin of his time, the lyricist for popular hymns such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Oh for a Thousand Tongues. Yet a significant part of Charles Wesley’s back catalogue dealt with pain and suffering and after years of popular appeal, dropped out of favour in the 19th century. Australian historian Dr Joanna Cruickshank tracked the reasons and how they helped early men and women make sense of the physical, emotional and spiritual pains they experienced.
Full report on the University World News site

BANGLADESH: University closes after World Cup riots
One of Bangladesh's leading universities closed indefinitely last Sunday after five people were injured in riots by students demanding time off to watch the football World Cup, police said, reports Cat Barton for AFP.
More on the University World News site


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IRAN: University at the heart of a power struggle
A dispute in Iran over control of a vast network of semi-private universities is starting to resemble a bitter custody battle, pitting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against one of his political rivals, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, for control of the schools and the 1.5 million faculty members and students, write Ramin Mostaghim and Meris Lutz for the Los Angeles Times blog Babylon & Beyond.
More on the University World News site

US: Hundreds of Iraqi students arrive soon
Iraqi and American educators are collaborating to send hundreds of Iraqi students to the US, where they will study at American universities and then return home to help rebuild Iraq’s higher-education infrastructure, writes Didi Tang for USA Today.
More on the University World News site

US: NYU Abu Dhabi scours globe for top students
Laith Aqel, co-valedictorian of his high school graduating class in Wayne, New Jersey, and juggler of too many activities to list, says he always envisioned himself on a classic New England campus with “Gothic architecture and big grass lawns”, writes Lisa W Foderaro for The New York Times. He weighed offers from Tufts University, Boston College’s honours programme and New York University. But when he leaves for college later this year, he will travel 11,100 kilometres to Abu Dhabi in the Persian Gulf.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities urge state to kill visa bill
Umut Ozguc is the kind of foreign research talent Australia needs in order to fend off the skills shortage, but she is worried she may have to pack and leave the country in 28 days under proposed visa changes, writes Guy Healy for The Australian. Universities Australia has called for natural justice for overseas students caught up in the government’s crackdown on dodgy colleges.
More on the University World News site

US: Harvard case deepens immigration debate
The memory is a blurry snapshot in his mind, writes Maria Sacchetti for The Boston Globe. Eric Balderas was four years old, curled up under covers on a raft. He could see the sun poking through the sky, hear whispers above him, and feel the swell of the Rio Grande below. It was the day his family crossed the border illegally from Mexico into the US – a day that shadowed him all his life and until recently threatened to derail his extraordinary rise from the son of a factory worker, to school valedictorian in Texas, to Harvard.
More on the University World News site

AFRICA: Nine problems that hinder partnerships
African higher education faces a crisis. The quality of university teaching and research has declined drastically as institutions across the continent contend with budget cuts, growing enrollments, repeated strikes, a crumbling infrastructure and a migration of the most talented professors to developed countries, comment John D Holm and Leapetsewe Malete in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

US: For-profit higher education scrutiny at Capitol Hill
Earlier this month, the hub of the US federal government’s scrutiny of for-profit higher education was the Department of Education, where a team of staffers were putting the finishing touches to a set of proposed regulations aimed at reining in abuses of the federal financial aid programme, writes Jennifer Epstein for Inside Higher Ed. Abruptly, though, since the draft rules were released on 15 June, the activity has moved to Capitol Hill – a change in location that has been accompanied by an equally sudden and stark shift in the focus and tone of the debate about for-profit colleges and universities.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: New plan seeks to enhance skills
Malaysia’s government is showing it means business by proposing comprehensive changes to higher education under the 10th Malaysia Plan, or 10MP, write Karen Chapman, Tan Shiow Chin and Richard Lim for The Star. Changes include holding vice-chancellors accountable for their institution’s performance and putting more emphasis on technical and vocational training.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: Wage freeze for low-performing academics
Professors at state-funded universities in South Korea will be subject to a strict performance evaluation from 2015, with the bottom 10% facing a wage freeze, reports Lee Hyo-sik for The Korea Times. But the top 20% of academics will receive up to two times the average performance-based salary as a bonus, with those who produce groundbreaking research results receiving as much as four times the average performance pay.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: Seven in 10 foreign students are Chinese
Seven out of every 10 foreign students in South Korea are Chinese nationals and more foreigners are visiting Korea for academic purposes, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said last Sunday, writes Bae Ji-sook for The Korea Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Half of university students willing to cheat
Half of Britain’s university students are prepared to cheat in their exams by handing in essays bought off the internet, new research reveals, writes Julie Henry for The Telegraph. The study suggests rampant plagiarism at universities, with thousands of cases going unreported because if essays are bespoke and written to undergraduates’ specifications, they are unlikely to be detected by anti-plagiarism software.
More on the University World News site

UK: Student fees hike ‘may cut applications by half’
A big rise in tuition fees would lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of UK teenagers aspiring to go to university, with those from poorer backgrounds the most likely to give up hope of getting a degree, research revealed last week, writes Rachel Williams for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: New body to promote basic research planned
India’s government is planning to establish a separate agency to coordinate with research organisations, provide funds and advise a proposed overarching higher education body on promotion of basic research, reports ZeeNews.
More on the University World News site

US: Judge rejects creationists’ effort to offer masters
A US federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a creationism think tank and graduate school that attempted to force the state of Texas to allow it to offer masters degrees in science education, writes Melissa Ludwig for San Antonio Express-News.
More on the University World News site
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