ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0035  06 July 2008
HE Events Diary

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Climate change could spell the end for this living fossil – New Zealand's tuatara. Find out why in this week's Uni-Lateral.

A multilateral alliance has been set up to govern, the rapidly growing global online gateway to international scientific research information. See the report by our correspondent in Science Scene in this issue.

Cambridge ESOL has signed an agreement with University of Paris-3, Sorbonne-Nouvelle, for ESOL examinations. See the story in this week's news section.


Amazing science
Yeti crabs (Kiwa hirsuta kiwa) and a marbled crab (Liocarcinus marmoreus) – just two of the 122,500 marine species covered so far by the Census of Marine Life. See the story in our new Science Scene section. Photos from the Census of Marine Life and World Register of Marine Species.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: ‘Blue card’ could intensify brain drain
Keith Nuthall
Serious concerns have been raised about a European Union plan to attract highly qualified immigrants because it is likely to fuel the African brain drain. At a European Parliament hearing late last month on ‘blue card’ visa proposals, fears were expressed that easing immigration procedures for academics, researchers and scientists from developing countries would cause economic damage to their home states.
Full report on the University World News site

US: SAT a poor predictor of academic success
Geoff Maslen
The SAT test commonly used by American universities and colleges to select students for entry is a poor predictor of how well the students will actually perform on campus, a new study has found. An analysis of a decade of research at the University of California has produced compelling evidence that the SAT does not identify the students most likely to succeed in college.
Full report on the University World News site

UK-FRANCE: University signs English certification contract
Jane Marshall
The University of Paris-3, Sorbonne-Nouvelle, and Cambridge ESOL, the world specialist in certification of English language examinations, have entered an agreement making the university an authorised examination centre of the UK-based assessment agency. Paris-3 introduced the preparatory courses in February and the first batch of students sat their examinations last month.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Harvard in Greece
Makki Marseilles
Harvard University’s centre for Hellenic studies is to open a branch in Greece, the first outside the US. The intercultural research institute will seek to connect its own humanistic pursuits with the homeland of Hellenism and to promote greater understanding of Hellenic civilisation by fostering research at all levels by bringing its academic resources to Greece.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: New continental internationalisation network
Karen MacGregor
An African Network for the Internationalisation of Education, or ANIE, is to be launched in Kenya in November along with a new book, African Higher Education – The international dimension. ANIE will comprise a network of scholars, policymakers and professionals involved in international higher education in Africa and will have a secretariat based at Moi University in Kenya. The network will operate special projects, including one already established – a capacity-building programme aimed at young ‘new generation’ researchers and called the Network of Emerging Scholars on Internationalisation (NESI).
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Draconian new higher education law
Clemence Manyukwe
A new law governing higher education institutions in Zimbabwe, soon to become operational, has been dismissed by critics as draconian. Minister for Higher and Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge announced that the government was in the process of appointing a nine-member board that will exert control over institutions under the legislation – the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Act.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Uncertain future for e-university
Ashraf KhaledYasser al-Dakrouri, manager of a project to set up Egypt’s first electronic university, doubts it will happen any time soon. He has secured approval from various agencies, including the governmental Higher Council for Universities which licenses institutions: “But the electronic university cannot operate without a presidential decree, for which we are still waiting,” al-Dakrouri told University World News. “I think the state is not yet convinced of the idea of learning via the internet.”
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Worldwide science information gateway
Subbiah Arunachalam
A multilateral alliance has been set up to govern, the rapidly growing global online gateway to international scientific research information. Officials from organisations representing 38 countries met recently in Seoul, South Korea, to formalise their commitment, by signing a WorldWideScience Alliance agreement to sustain and build upon joint efforts to provide a single, sophisticated point of access for diverse scientific resources and expertise from nations around the world.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Census of marine life at half-way mark
John Gerritsen*
Researchers from around the world are closing in on their goal of creating the first complete inventory of all scientifically described and named marine species by 2010.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA-US: Collaboration in traditional Chinese medicine
Subbiah Arunachalam
China and the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding to foster collaboration between scientists in both countries in research on integrative and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The memorandum, signed by US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and Chinese Vice Minister of Health Wang Guoqiang, will aid in furthering scientific research on traditional Chinese medicine, stimulate scientific cooperation on how Western medicine can be informed by TCM and help blend knowledge from the two systems.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Who is accountable for what?
Dr John Kenny*
The university today is far different from that of the early 1990s and the work of academics has changed considerably, driven by the efficiency and accountability agenda. Often the cry for efficiency and accountability has been used as a mechanism for control, cost reductions and to drive policy agendas. In broad terms, management practices in tertiary education have shifted from a collegial to a corporate or commercial paradigm. A by-product has been a shift in power from academia to the hierarchy, with a managerial emphasis on deploying staff to meet strategic goals and cost effectiveness. In Australian Universities Review, John Kenny discusses the state of tertiary education in Australia, linked to an account of experiences at the University of Tasmania, to consider the cumulative effects of changes and to question whether the prevailing management is the most appropriate way forward.
Article extract on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

NZ-AUSTRALIA: Death of the female of the species
An endangered reptile called the tuatara faces extinction after biologists found it will eventually produce only male offspring. The scientists predict that temperature increases due to climate change will lead to the tuatara becoming extinct by 2085. The ‘living fossil’ is a cold-climate animal found on some of New Zealand’s smaller islands – its two related species are the only surviving members of a family that flourished 200 million years ago.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Magic mushrooms are magic
People who took magic mushrooms were still feeling the love more than a year later, and one might say they were on cloud nine about it, scientists have reported in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, according to Scientific American. “Most of the volunteers looked back on their experience up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives,” comparing it with the birth of a child or the death of a parent, says neuroscientist Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who led the research.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: Foreign varsities itching for a base in India
International players are increasingly setting up campuses in India, reports Business Standard. Some have already begun offering courses, mostly in management, but others are waiting for the passage of the Foreign Education Bill, which has been pending in Parliament for two years. Sources say that 40 international universities have sought land from the Maharashtra government in the Mumbai-Pune-Nashik belt to set up campuses in India. The investments lined up by these institutions are substantial.
More on the University World News site

US: Leaving combat for the classroom
The war spending bill President Bush signed into law recently includes one of the most dramatic bumps in troop benefits to come along in decades: a new military funding measure that roughly doubles the money troops would be eligible to get for college once they have completed at least three years in the military, reports Newsweek.
More on the University World News site

US: Diversity exaggerated in brochures
In September 2000, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Idaho were embarrassed when they were forced to admit they had doctored promotional photographs to make their campuses look diverse, writes Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed. In both cases, non-white faces were added to real student photographs of all-white groups. Now a study of the viewbooks of hundreds of colleges and universities has found that more than 75% appear to over-represent black students.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Risk of losing ‘best and brightest’
Ireland is at risk of losing its most talented students unless the state creates permanent research positions, according to one of the country’s most eminent educationalists, reports the Irish Examiner. Newly-retired Higher Education and Training Awards Council chief executive, Séamus Puirséil, warns: “The brightest and the best of our students are going into science, but it will destroy the nation’s morale if there are no jobs for these people at the end of their studies.”
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities told to favour poor schools
Universities are to be told to give preferential treatment to pupils from poorly performing state schools in a move that is likely to anger independent schools, reports The Sunday Times. The government is to endorse proposals that admissions staff should tailor offers to candidates according to the quality of school they attended. The report, commissioned by Gordon Brown, is intended to devise ways of increasing the number of pupils from the poorest families reaching top universities.
More on the University World News site

UK: Email leak of ‘degree inflation’
A leaked email shows how staff at a UK university are being urged to increase the number of top degree grades to keep pace with competing universities, reports BBC News. The internal email from Manchester Metropolitan University tells staff to “bear this in mind” when they do student assessments. The university told the BBC this was in no way related to university policy.
More on the University World News site

UK: One in five regret degree course choice
More than one in five of today's university graduates regret their choice of degree course, the Guardian’s Grad Facts 2008 survey has revealed. Some 20% of graduates from the elite Russell group of universities, which includes Oxbridge, Imperial College London and Manchester, said they now felt they should have chosen a different degree course. The figure compared with 22% of those graduating from newer, post-92 universities.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Public universities’ two-year wait conundrum
Students who sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination in November 2006 and qualified well enough to join regular courses in public universities are still at home, writes Ibrashim Mwathane in The Nation. They look forward to joining universities of choice later this year. By then they will have been out of school for close to two years.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Scientists in rare project with rainmakers
At first they were described as backward and their shrines dismissed as laboratories of black magic. But like the proverbial cornerstone rejected by builders, traditional African rain-makers are slowly gaining recognition, reports the Daily Nation. A plan has been mooted for researchers from local universities, the Kenya Meteorological Department, Kenya Industrial Property Institute and National Museums of Kenya to join forces with the legendary rain making Nganyi community in Emuhaya constituency of Western Province.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Cabinet approves district student quotas
Cabinet has recommended that districts approve only 11 slots for students to benefit from the district quota system in Uganda’s five public universities, reports the Daily Monitor. A total of 896 students are to be absorbed under the system in all public universities.
More on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: Deputy Vice-Chancellors
University of Cape Town, Cape Town
Full specifications on the University World News site
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