ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0032  15 June 2008
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The massed endowments of Australia's 40 universities are still dwarfed by Harvard's wealth. See the story in our Special Report.

Grenoble is one of six cities the French government has chosen for special funding aimed at making their universities world leaders. See the story in our News section.

The University of Glasgow has taken a step in the crime-fighting arena. See this week's Business section. Photo: Gus Campbell.


Harvard University – America's oldest and the world's wealthiest


Harvard University in 1720 – nearly 300 years later, it has an annual income of US$3 billion and endowments worth $35 billion making Harvard a beacon to poorer universities around the globe that strive to attain a fraction of its wealth. See our special report on investments and endowments in this issue.

SPECIAL REPORT: Investments and endowments

The financial assets of US universities are often looked at with envy by European institutions. The generally perceived wisdom is that many US universities are private institutions and therefore more flexibly able to raise and invest funds than their European counterparts.

But such prejudices were quite convincingly brushed aside in a paper by MIT and Harvard staff who studied endowment investments in the US between 1995 and 2005. They concluded that although it seems to be true the rich just get richer, endowment growth is the result of different factors and investment performance at private and public universities differs little.

In this issue of University World News we focus on some recent developments in endowments and investments which show that all around the world, the price tag of mass access is pressing the sector and its authorities towards alternative ways of financing higher education.

US: The rich get richer but are still a minority
Ard Jongsma
Contrary to popular belief, public universities in the US perform just as well as their private counterparts when it comes to fund management. And, amazingly, the best universities are outperforming large hedge funds and others that can lure the best investors with much higher salaries and compensation packages. But endowment investment remains a risky business even for the wealthiest of academic institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Gulf states biggest donors
Geoff Maslen
American neo-conservatives claim that Arab donations to US universities are improperly influencing professors and students of Middle Eastern studies. In the latest critique, the online conservative FrontPage Magazine raised the issue last Monday (9 June) in a lengthy interview with a fellow of the free-market Manhattan Institute, Professor Jay P Greene. The magazine is published by David Horowitz, an advocate of right-wing causes and founder of the activist group Students for Academic Freedom.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Learning from the States
Diane Spencer
At last British universities are taking a leaf from their American cousins' book on the art of fund-raising. But UK universities have a long way to go before they catch up. Figures show that Harvard alone raised more than £310 million (US$609 million) in 2004-05, while Oxbridge raised £185 million – out of the estimated overall amount of £450 million of private giving to UK universities.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Third stream income a new priority
Karen MacGregor
Under increasing pressure from the South African government to contain soaring tuition fees, universities are urgently seeking new ways of generating more third stream income through donations, investments and entrepreneurial activities. As higher education now receives less than half its funding directly from the state, universities also see raising alternative income as a way of bolstering their autonomy in the face of growing state intervention.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Government scheme encouraged donations
John Gerritsen*
New Zealand universities are relatively new to the endowments business, but they were helped along in recent years by a government scheme that has encouraged roughly $110 million (US$82 million) in private donations since 2002.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Endowments a fraction of Harvard's
Geoff Maslen
More than 150 years after Australia's first university was founded, the nation's 40 higher education institutions have collectively amassed less than US$5 billion in investments and endowments – or about one seventh of that held by a single university in America. In fact, Harvard University has an endowment whose value grew to almost $35 billion by the end of the 2007 financial year. While the money earned from the investments and endowments of Australian universities contributes 17% to their total incomes, Harvard's return is double that and almost matches the Australian government's entire contribution to the higher education system.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Report tackles social and human development
Rebecca Warden
The Global University Network for Innovation, known as GUNI, is nothing if not ambitious. Its latest report, Higher Education in the World: New challenges and emerging roles for human and social development, aims to fuel the debate on how universities can contribute to human and social development – what kind of knowledge should they be producing for what kind of society? All this at a time when increasing internationalisation and competition between institutions mean universities are facing a multitude of new demands as never before.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Doctoral education body launched
Alan Osborn
The inaugural meeting of the European University Association Council for Doctoral Education was held at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland earlier this month. The new council will help formalise doctoral training within Europe and provide a focus for global dissemination of European work in this field.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: First super-campuses chosen
Jane Marshall
The first six campuses to qualify for substantially increased funding under government plans to make French universities internationally competitive will be in the towns of Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Strasbourg and Toulouse. The projects, each consisting of several higher education and research establishments, are at the heart of President Nicolas Sarkozy's determination to see France feature prominently among the top universities in the world.
Full report on the University World News site

UK-INDIA: Research and education partners
Subbiah Arunachalam
The United Kingdom wants to strengthen its collaboration with India in research and higher education, says British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg. Britain is willing to assist India in building world class universities and the two countries will collaborate in establishing a new Indian Institute of Technology, a new Institute of Science Education and Research and a new central university, Stagg says.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWSBRIEF: Dictionary of Christian-Muslim relations
A US university has received a $30,000 grant from the New York-based Henry Luce Foundation to create what is expected to be the world's first dictionary of Christian-Muslim relations.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Education Minister debates academic freedom
Jonathan Travis*
British Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell hosted a debate with members of the University College Union this month – the first in a series of events designed to create lively discussion on academic freedom. In recent weeks, academics have attacked the government for creating a 'climate of fear' on campus that led to the arrest and release without charge of a Nottingham University student and administrator for printing a copy of the al-Qaida training manual.
More academic freedom reports on the University World News site


EUROPE: Research collaboration with business on the up
Alan Osborn
Europe's universities, research bodies and businesses are increasingly collaborating with each other in the major research areas, according to a new report Responsible Partnering between Research and Business. The development will encourage hopes that the key drivers of research in Europe are beginning to operate on a much more pan-European basis than in the past and that the divisions between research and business that have held back exploitation of the research effort in recent years are being overcome.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Fighting organised crime
Monica Dobie
The University of Glasgow is to undertake collaboration with law enforcement authorities in Britain by creating the UK's first Institute for the Study of Serious Organised Crime. Researchers from the university will work closely with law enforcement to tackle organised crime issues that threaten businesses on a daily basis.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Computer firm teams up with universities
Diane Spencer
An American IT-services company is increasing its collaboration with universities in Europe, to create ground-breaking computer systems that allow public organisations and companies to better interact online. Torry Harris Business Solutions, a US-based firm founded in 1998, spec ialises in 'service-oriented architecture' which helps move data between different services within an organisation.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: Students drawn to study overseas
Subbiah Arunachalam
More than six decades after India won its Independence on Gandhi's principle of 'Swadeshi' or self-reliance, an ever-increasing number of Indian students are going abroad for their education. Indeed, more go overseas for higher education than from any other country.
Full report on the University World News site


US: New study on research-related ITs
A new EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research study, by Dr Marc C Sheehan, explores higher education’s involvement in five areas of research-related information technologies – high-performance computing resources, cyber-infrastructure applications and tools, data storage and management resources, advanced network infrastructure resources, and resources for collaboration within virtual communities. The report, titled Higher Education IT and Cyber-infrastructure: Integrating technologies for scholarship, is publicly available.
More on the University World News site

US: Asian American higher education success a ‘myth’
When ‘too good to be true’ fails to be either good or true, long term repercussions can be devastating and pervasive, writes the College Board about a new report that challenges long-held beliefs about Asian American and Pacific Islander students’ academic success. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders – Facts, not Fiction: Setting the record straight, published in collaboration with the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, details “why false assumptions can lead to misinformed policy and practice that can be harmful to Asian American and Pacific Islander students”.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

AUSTRALIA: Piss off: dingo pee deters marsupials
Geoff Maslen
With a $1.6 million grant from the Australian Research Council, Western Australian academics are developing artificial dingo urine to use as a deterrent for marsupial pests and potentially as a means of preventing kangaroo deaths on the road. The researchers announced last week they hoped to have a gel manufactured within two years that could be safely distributed in the bush and along roads to reduce mortality among kangaroos.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Elite universities eye alumni wallets
A decade ago, then-President Jiang Zemin said he wanted to transform China's top universities into world class institutions fit for the 21st century, reports Forbes. But attracting the world's best faculty, funding top-notch research and expanding campuses does not come cheap. So the elite ones are now focused on developing the kind of powerful private fund-raising machines that have made top US universities so rich.
More on the University World News site

IRAQ: Ambitious higher education plan
Iraqi officials have proposed a five-year, US$1 billion higher education plan to increase the science and technology workforce and promote science-based sustainable development, reports SciDev.Net. Under the plan, which will be financed by revenue generated by Iraq’s oil reserves, university infrastructure will be rebuilt, including new laboratories and establishing internet connections, and 10,000 students will be sent abroad each year to study in Australia, Canada, the UK and US.
More on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Push to expand technical education
The development of education in Sri Lanka has led to the rapid expansion of secondary schools and more and more young people seeking tertiary education, according to Higher Education Minister, Professor Wiswa Warnapapa, reports the Daily News. Growth of higher education has not kept up with demand, and this year universities could only provide places for 20,204 students out of nearly 100,000 qualified to enter higher education. Lack of access is a fundamental problem for higher education, along with quality issues – the reasons why Sri Lanka is now pushing for a major expansion of its neglected technical education sector.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Scientists split on belief in God
Indian scientists are split down the middle over their belief in the existence of God, the first nationwide investigation into their deepest personal thoughts has revealed, reports The Telegraph. A fourth of scientists took an atheist or agnostic position and another fourth were firm believers, according to the findings of a survey by the US-based Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. The rest said they were unsure, or didn’t respond to the question on God, which was included in a web-based survey that covered 1,100 scientists from 130 research or educational institutions and universities scattered across India.
More on the University World News site

US: Women’s colleges boom in developing world
As their numbers decline in the United States, women’s colleges are booming in much of the developing world – places such as Africa, Asia and the Middle East, reports Associated Press. They have become a trendy tool for jump-starting economic growth and political development, and for helping break down barriers in the same way their US counterparts have been doing since the 19th century.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Universities get funding boost for expansion
Kenya’s government has set aside a billion Shilling (US$16 million) for the expansion of public universities, Assistant Minister of Higher Education Dr Kilemi Mwiria has said, reports The Nation. He added that the money, which has already been factored into this year's budget, will be used to expand the institutions of higher learning countrywide.
More on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Government reverses university fee hikes
The government has reversed tertiary education fee increases effected by state universities and colleges in Zimbabwe at the beginning of this academic year to cushion parents from the current economic hardships, reports The Herald. Addressing journalists in Harare, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge said tertiary institutions had increased fees without government approval.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Police close universities council fraud case
Toronto police have closed the file on a fraud that cost the Council of Ontario Universities at least $600,000, said Paul Genest, the Council’s executive director. The Globe and Mail reports that police were called and a forensic auditor retained in March, when the organisation found evidence that its former chief information officer Janet Donio – who has since committed suicide – was siphoning off COU funds.
More on the University World News site


CANADA: Dean, Faculty of International Education
Malaspina University-College, British Columbia
Full specifications on the University World News site
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