University World News Global Edition
26 May 2013 Issue 0273 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Rise of the mobile PhD, social engagement, and ranking the rankings

This week we publish the second in what has turned out to be a three-part series of articles on international PhD students, their growing global mobility and the related issues of brain drain and the global competition for talent.
Edited by Geoff Maslen, there are articles by Reinhilde Veugelers, Yojana Sharma, Manuel Heitor, Hugo Horta and Joana Mendonça, Lena Adamson and Anders Flodström, Amelie Constant, Jan Petter Myklebust and Eric Beerkens, among others.
The Global University Network for Innovation, GUNI, held an international conference in Barcelona this month focusing on social engagement. Budd Hall writes that universities need to be much more embedded in their communities in order to face the challenges of the 21st century, and Rebecca Warden looks at why universities should be more engaging and at projects in South Africa and The Netherlands.
In World Blog, Sue Norton argues from Ireland that industrial-style productivity undermines academic values.
In Commentary, Elizabeth Colucci finds that partnerships and competition between universities in different regions can be mutually beneficial. Irene Ogrizek contends that MOOCs will undermine traditional public higher education and aid privatisation of the system.
In Student View, Karina Ufert reveals that European students are worried about mobility loans resulting in graduates being tracked down for money they owe. And in Features, Bianka Siwinska reports on the awarding by IREG, the Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, of the first quality certificates for university ranking systems – to QS World University Rankings and Poland’s Perspektywy University Ranking.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Yojana Sharma

A record 6.99 million students – an increase of 190,000 on last year’s figures – will graduate from China’s higher education institutions this year. But graduate unemployment, a scourge in recent years, shows no sign of easing for the class of 2013.
Alison Moodie

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered heightened scrutiny of international students entering the United States following the Boston bombings in April. “Effective immediately”, border agents must verify that each student holds a valid visa.
Dinesh De Alwis

Sri Lanka’s Higher Education Ministry has increased the quota of international students admitted to universities and is offering additional scholarships to foreign students in its aim of becoming a higher education hub in Asia. But the moves have met with resistance amid fears that the number of places for local students will be reduced.
Adele Yung

A joint degree run by New York University and the National University of Singapore that awarded a master of laws degree from both universities is being scrapped after just five years, due to poor uptake by students.
David Jobbins

A key international advisory group for UK higher education has warned that U-Multirank – the European Union’s multi-million euro alternative to commercial international rankings – may harm rather than benefit the sector.
The rise of the mobile PhD
This is the second in a three-part series of articles by academics and University World News journalists revealing how PhD students around the world face the challenges of completing their studies in another country – many of them never permanently returning home – in a growing ‘mobile PhD’ phenomenon fuelled by the global competition for high-level talent.

Reinhilde Veugelers

The rise of new scientific powerhouses in Asia provokes the question of what the impact will be on science. In particular, does a shift of scientific power to Asia mean the flow of scientific talent from East to West will dry up? And are Asian scientific centres new cooperation partners in science for the West?
Yojana Sharma

China’s high profile ‘Thousand Talents’ scheme to lure back academic high-fliers may look on paper like a major success. But there is concern that it is not bringing researchers back to stay full-time, commit to the long-term development of China’s science and technology sector and nurture future local PhD talent.
Manuel Heitor, Hugo Horta and Joana Mendonça

The growing significance of intangible resources to the development of modern societies has underlined the importance of enlarging the pool of talent. Knowledge-based institutions strive to build critical mass by attracting and retaining highly qualified people, increasing the global competition for talent. As a result, many developing countries suffer from brain drain – but this does not have to be so.
Lena Adamson and Anders Flodström

In June 2010, the Swedish parliament decided that non-European students should pay tuition fees from the autumn of the following year. The consequences were dramatic, with foreign student numbers plummeting. Thankfully, the 2010 decision did not include non-European PhD students.
Amelie Constant

Highly educated Italians take their talent abroad in search of better funds, career opportunities and pay. Despite Europe’s attempts to retain its best brains, 30,000 Italian researchers leave each year, while only 3,000 go to Italy. It is no wonder that the media, policy-makers and scholars have used the term ‘brain drain’ in recent years to describe this phenomenon.
Wagdy Sawahel

An extraordinary 80% of Arab postgraduate students currently carry out their study abroad. About half of them – especially from the North Africa region – do not return home after graduating, which results in annual losses estimated at more than US$2 billion.
Eugene Vorotnikov

The government is considering creating conditions to persuade foreign students, including postgraduates, to continue their education in Russia. Implementation of the plans is expected to occur through a number of legislative acts including a federal law, “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation”, recently approved by parliament.
Michael Gardner

Foreign academics are among the highly skilled workers that Germany wants to recruit to maintain its economic dynamics. At the same time, enabling foreigners who have earned a doctorate at a German university to return home is a key aspect of Germany’s overseas aid approach and is supported by higher education and development institutions and organisations.
Jan Petter Myklebust and Eric Beerkens

The number of doctoral candidates in the 13 Dutch universities jumped by almost 60% in the decade to 2010 and is now close to 4,000 students each year. An OECD country report on tertiary education in The Netherlands in 2008 said the proportion of foreign students at doctorate level was then 20%, with some 640 PhDs conferred.
GUNI conference on community engagement
The 6th International Conference on Higher Education organised by the Global University Network for Innovation – GUNI – was held in Barcelona in mid-May. The theme was “Knowledge, Transformation and Higher Education”, and the conference explored ways in which community engagement enhances teaching, learning and research in higher education as well as challenges, new approaches and trends. University World News was there.

Budd Hall

The basis of Western ideas of knowledge is being questioned, and top-down approaches are increasingly being seen as not fit for the challenges of the modern world. Community-university partnerships are springing up, seeking new ways of creating and disseminating knowledge.
Rebecca Warden

Has community engagement become a mainstream part of what universities do? If not, how can it get there? These were some of the questions on the agenda at the 6th International Conference on Higher Education organised by the Global University Network for Innovation in Barcelona, Spain, from 13-15 May.
Rebecca Warden

The University of Cape Town’s Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research is trying to reduce the numbers of poor children being accidentally poisoned by pesticides, which are sold freely on the streets of Cape Town in South Africa.
Rebecca Warden

In 2006, local people approached the University of Groningen in The Netherlands to see if they could help with the issue of noise pollution from wind turbines. The Dutch government is intending to double its production of wind energy by 2020, and this will mean building 400 large wind turbines on land and a further 2,000 at sea.
Bianka Siwinska

IREG, the Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, this month granted the first quality certificates to university ranking systems – QS World University Rankings and Poland’s Perspektywy University Ranking – marking the beginning of a new era for this interesting field.
Jeffrey Selingo, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Last autumn, Shaun Fowler started his sophomore year at Georgia State University in the United States still owing $500 on his tuition bill. The finance major from Atlanta had only a few days of classes before the university would be forced to kick him out for nonpayment.
Sue Norton

Guinness’s motto, that good things come to those who wait, could also be true for academia. But an overemphasis on industrial-style productivity is undermining the reflective nature of higher education.
Elizabeth Colucci

It is vital for universities to balance their drive for recognition and excellence with social contributions, both locally and globally. A forthcoming conference aimed at bringing together European and Arab universities will show that competition and partnership can be mutually reinforcing.
Irene Ogrizek

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, will undermine traditional students and ways of teaching and allow private corporations an ever-greater role in the higher education system.
Karina Ufert

Students have voted against the European Masters Degree Loan Guarantee Scheme, on the basis that loans are not the way forward and that they could result in students being hunted down for money owed.
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France's lower house last Thursday approved a plan to allow more courses to be taught in English at French universities, despite concerns that such a move might undermine efforts to promote the French language, reports RFI.

In an apparent sign of declining confidence in one-party rule by the Communist Party, Chinese authorities recently banned the discussion of political reform and human rights topics in classes at universities in major cities, writes Nozomu Hayashi for The Asahi Shimbun.

While a new report puts the average debt load of new college graduates at a stomach-churning $35,200, the Georgia Institute of Technology is rolling out an alternative programme that experts say offers a beacon of hope for students and employers alike: a three-year masters degree in computer science that can be earned entirely online – and that will cost less than $7,000 – writes Martha C White for TIME.

The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities and 54 others last week got the green light from the High Court to quash a circular relating to the new registration system for international students in local private institutions, writes Irdiani Mohd Salleh for New Straits Times.

As part of the corruption case affecting the National Accreditation Commission, three universities in Chile have been accused of unlawfully earning more than CL$16 billion (US$32 million). They appeared in court last weekend, writes Charlotte Méritan for I Love Chile.

US authorities brought criminal charges against three New York University researchers last Monday, alleging that they conspired to take bribes from Chinese medical and research outfits in return for details about university research into magnetic resonance imaging technology, reports Reuters.

One of China's top universities is in talks to open a campus at the former site of the BBC in London, in the latest push to extend Chinese influence across the globe, writes Malcolm Moore for The Telegraph.

A new website has been launched to help universities in the UK tackle violent extremism and radicalisation on campus, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.

A university lecturer in the southern Zimbabwean town of Masvingo has been sentenced to three months in jail after allegedly calling Robert Mugabe a "rotten old donkey", reports Alex Bell for SW Radio Africa.

Czech President Milos Zeman last Wednesday gave up his opposition to conferring the title of professor on a local historian who is gay, ending nearly a week of protests by local students, other professors and politicians amid concerns over their academic and civic freedoms, writes Sean Carney for The Wall Street Journal.

India is set to lobby international ranking agencies and seek their expertise on improving the poor showing of the country’s higher education institutes in the global league tables, writes Prashant K Nanda for Livemint.

Chinese students and parents are demanding an apology from US Vice-president Joe Biden for "insensitive" comments, weeks after he referred to China as the nation that cannot “think different” or “breathe free” during a commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania, writes Amy Li for South China Morning Post.

Community colleges in America have received a declining share of government spending on higher education over the past decade, even as their student bodies have become poorer and more heavily African-American and Latino, according to a report to be released soon, writes David Leonhardt for The New York Times.
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