University World News Global Edition
22 June 2012 Issue 0227 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Is ‘foreign education outpost’ a better concept than branch campuses?

This week Carmen Paun interviews Elizabeth Thompson, executive coordinator of Rio+20, on the role of universities in the Earth Summit and the implications for higher education of its outcomes. In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha forecasts that by 2015 trends in international student mobility may reverse, with more Chinese students staying home while more Indian students travel abroad.
In Commentary, Kevin Kinser and Jason E Lane argue that research into universities operating in more than one country has tended to focus on international branch campuses, ignoring other, more prevalent types of cross-border collaboration.
Tara Cookson contends that tuition fee hikes and civil disobedience in Quebec and elsewhere raise questions about equitable human development in developed countries. And Phil Baty writes that global university rankings are important, but are a crude measure of excellence and need to be handled with care.
In Features, Jan Petter Myklebust investigates the flood of maths, physics and technology students into the finance industry, including top candidates for academia, and Wagdy Sawahel reports on a United Nations plan to improve access to higher education for refugees.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Geoff Maslen

The National Tertiary Education Union will use a forthcoming higher education enterprise bargaining round to call for the creation of 2,000 new ongoing jobs for casual academics, or 20% of their total numbers. The union says more than half of all academic teaching in Australian universities is undertaken “by people paid by the hour”.
Hiep Pham

Vietnam’s national assembly has voted to adopt a wide-ranging Law on Higher Education, which was approved by almost 85% of the assembly this week – the first time the country has promulgated a law dedicated specifically to the higher education sector.
Ameen Amjad Khan

Some 200 heads of universities from 39 member countries of the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation agreed to bring about governance reforms in higher education and increase the number of women university leaders, during a meeting in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad this month.
Alison Moodie

Parents will be finding some relief from the confusing assemblage of notices, bills and receipts involved in paying for college. Nearly 100 private and public colleges and universities, including the New York and Texas tertiary state systems, will provide parents and students with a one-page ‘shopping sheet’ detailing what they can expect to pay for a year of studies.
Michael Gardner

Five additional German institutions can now call themselves 'elite universities', among them Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of Dresden, both in what used to be East Germany. But the University of Karlsruhe was among the institutions that failed to retain elite status in the second round of the Excellence Initiative.
Ashraf Khaled

A recent court ruling invalidating Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament has dashed hopes among academics that their status will be improved any time soon.
David Haworth

The growth of research assessment driven by obsessive measurement and monitoring fosters a global “bean-counting culture” in tertiary education that can detract from the real quality of university research, experts have warned.
Brendan O’Malley

Universities in the Greater London area are exposed to the highest rates of crimes that are most relevant to students, with London Metropolitan University faring worst and Kingston best, according to the latest ranking of institutions in England and Wales.
Dinesh De Alwis

Student groups in Sri Lanka are in uproar over fears that the government wants to ban their main union, the Inter University Students’ Federation. Students said this would be a step towards destroying the education system and would pave the way for private universities.
Rio+20 was held last week. University World News reports on ways in which universities are involved in sustainable development and environment debates and research, and their role after the summit.

Carmen Paun

In an exclusive interview the executive coordinator of the Rio+20 conference on global sustainability, Elizabeth Thompson, told University World News why higher education is key to the international strategy she hopes will flow from agreements made at the event.
Stephen Eisenhammer

The Rio+20 conference on sustainability ended on Friday in widespread disappointment and the sense that an important opportunity had been missed. The outcome document was agreed before leaders even arrived, giving the event the feel of a photo moment rather than a real attempt to push forward the sustainability agenda.
Smriti Mallapaty

Global investments in sustainable energy must increase by US$500 million a year to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to a report launched in Rio last week – the culmination of six years of research by 500 contributors.

The world’s 105 science academies last week called on world leaders to take decisive action on global challenges of population and consumption. And the Global Young Academy said that Earth’s problem was not science. “It is leadership”.
Ria Nurdiani

The final document of the UN conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro underscores the importance of universities in carrying out research and innovation for sustainable development. But many universities in developing countries say it is not easy to get the necessary support.
Yojana Sharma

J Michael Adams, president of the International Association of University Presidents, has died in the United States after being diagnosed last year with a rare blood disease and cancer. He was 64.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Norwegian universities are fighting an uphill battle to hold onto talented mathematics, physics and technology students due to demand from the finance industry, academics have warned.
Wagdy Sawahel

In commemoration of World Refugee Day, universities and governments have been urged not to lose sight of the higher education needs of the world’s 43.7 million forcibly displaced migrants, by improving their access to higher education as a tool for the economic development of both home and host countries.
Rahul Choudaha

A variety of factors, including changing demographics and investment in quality higher education, could see more Chinese students staying at home by 2015, while more Indian students travel abroad. Universities need to prepare now.
Kevin Kinser and Jason E Lane

Cross-border higher education research has tended to focus too much on international branch campuses. But many collaborations don't fit this model. In fact, branch campuses represent a minority of cross-border higher education activity happening today, and ‘foreign education outposts’ might be a better concept.
Tara Cookson

Protesters against university fee hikes in Quebec, Canada, and against cutbacks in other countries raise questions about equitable development for developed countries. Privatising higher education shows that our priorities as countries are skewed against future development.
Phil Baty

University rankings are being used to determine international partnerships, but we need to be honest about their weaknesses as well as their strengths. No university ranking can ever be exhaustive or objective.

It is one of the world’s toughest rocks, used to create buildings and monuments across the globe and famously linked with one of Scotland’s main cities. Now scientists have discovered that granite played an important role in a major episode more than 1.5 billion years ago – an episode that eventually led to human life on Earth.

The satellite-based Global Positioning System technology that guides modern in-car navigation systems is now being used to improve weather forecasts. Researchers at RMIT University’s SPACE Research Centre in Melbourne and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology are using GPS and low Earth-orbiting satellites to provide an additional type of temperature profile observation for use in weather forecasting computer models.

Researchers from Goldsmiths College at the University of London have found that domestic dogs express empathic behaviour when confronted with humans in distress. Dr Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer developed an innovative procedure to examine if domestic dogs could identify and respond to emotional states in humans.
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Universities across the United Kingdom are being terrorised by what detectives believe is a linked series of bomb threats designed to cause chaos on campuses, writes Daniel Boffey for the Guardian.

Romania’s new government, still reeling from a misconduct scandal that forced its research minister to resign last month, has been hit by fresh allegations of plagiarism that strike at the very top, writes Quirin Schiermeier for Nature.

There is one group of university teachers in Italy who have reason to regard their counterparts teaching on US study-abroad programmes with envy. These are the lettori – literally ‘readers’ – widely used in Italy to designate language teachers hired in part for their proficiency in a mother tongue other than Italian, writes DD Guttenplan for The New York Times.

Major universities in Korea collected 20% more in tuition fees than was due last year, according to a study released last week. The finding was based on a study of 20 Seoul-based private universities by the Korea Higher Education Research Institute, writes Kim Bo-eun for The Korea Times.

A transition to full open access publishing will cost UK higher education an extra £50 million (US$78 million) or £60 million a year, according to a long-awaited report on how the country should make the change, writes Paul Jump for Times Higher Education.

Student activists have wasted no time in taking advantage of amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act of 1971 that allow them to engage in political activity, writes Tashny Sukumaran for The Star.

Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping has urged the country's higher education institutions to give Communist Party branches a bigger role in the education and management of faculties and students, reports Xinhua.

More than one in three foreign students in a new survey say they have no close US friends, and many say they wish they had more, and more meaningful, relationships with Americans, writes Karin Fischer for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Institutes in India and the US will join hands to create a pool of trained mid-career academics who will be groomed to be potential leaders as part of a long-term objective to strengthen Indian higher education, reports Vanita Srivastava for Hindustan Times.

Once upon a time, there were ghostwriters to rustle up books, articles and speeches. Today, they'll also draft your PhD thesis, MBA assignment, project report and research proposal. All for a price, of course. The phantom writing industry is growing on campuses across India, write Saira Kurup and Shobha John for Times News Network.

On the fifth day of demonstrations against the deteriorating economic situation in Sudan, the police arrested several students, reports Radio Dabanga. At least seven sustained injuries after armed sympathisers of the ruling party entered the compounds of universities in the capital Khartoum.

Zimbabwe’s Presidential Scholarship Programme, administered by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, has been hit by a financial crisis that threatens the livelihood of nearly 4,000 Zimbabwean students at universities in South Africa, writes Ray Ndlovu for The Financial Gazette.

Universities need to update guidelines on industry collaboration to reinstate academic rights that have been “seriously eroded” over the past generation, a report by the American Association of University Professors has said, writes Elizabeth Gibney for Times Higher Education.

On the walls of the stunning new multimillion dollar Stanford Centre in China are hand-painted Chinese landscapes and scenes from the Palo Alto, California, campus – signs of a new cross-Pacific partnership that offers great promise as well as some perils for the university, writes John Boudreau for San Jose Mercury News.

Six private colleges in Australia will be included for the first time in the Universities Admissions Centre application process, which will give the private sector greater weight, writes Jen Rosenberg for The Sydney Morning Herald.

A recent inspection in Vietnam revealed misconduct in joint programmes between Hanoi National University and its foreign counterparts between 2006 and 2010, reports Vietnam Net. Up to 16 out of 20 programmes lacked project details required or did not have the documents to confirm their legal status, and graduates may lose their degrees.

Seven Chilean universities have been found to have financial irregularities related to illegal profiteering, according to a report by an investigative committee in the Chamber of Deputies, writes Andrew Chow for The Santiago Times.

The University of Virginia’s governing board will at a meeting next week consider reinstating President Teresa Sullivan, even as the leader of the embattled board defended the unpopular ouster that threw the flagship university into turmoil, reports Associated Press.

“The past is alive,” Aung San Suu Kyi told a distinguished audience in Oxford last week, collecting an honorary doctorate of civil law 19 years after it was first offered to her. “It never goes away.” She rolled back the years, recalling the time in the mid-1960s when she was the only Burmese student in Oxford, writes Peter Popham for The Independent.

Students more accustomed to computer screens than manual typewriters are getting a chance to sit at author Joseph Heller's stained wooden desk and type on the battered Smith-Corona he used to compose his acclaimed novel Catch-22, writes Susanne M Schafer for Huffington Post.
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