ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0036  13 July 2008
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University World News has entered the world of Internet social marketing, launching its own Facebook group. Join us in the ‘University World News’ group on Facebook .

Professor Svetlana Ter-Minasova is one of three women deans out of the 40 at Russia’s top university. Read her story in the Special Report.

Top European scientific research officials have agreed on measures to make the EU a global leader in technology and innovation by 2010. Read more in the Business section.


NEWS FLASH: More than a quarter of Europe’s working graduates say the skills they learned in higher education are under-used by their employers, according to a new study. See our coverage by Jane Marshall in this edition.

Starting with equal numbers of male and female students – and in many countries also equal numbers of academics – universities end up with academic and managerial leaders who are mostly men. This week’s Special Report looks at the ‘leaking pipeline’ that is women’s progression up the career ladder.

SPECIAL REPORT: Women in higher education

Western Europe is generally regarded as having more equal relations between the
s exes than many other regions in the world. Yet even here, marked differences exist between the career advancements available to women and those of men. Male academics continue to dominate the upper ranks in universities and hold the reins of power in many faculties. If this is the situation in Europe, it can be assumed that inequality between female and male academics and graduates is a global problem.

In this special report, University World News writers look at the experiences of women in higher education around the world and at some initiatives designed to level the gender playing field. Clearly a lot of work needs to be done before men and women academics, graduates and students, get to compete on equal terms. See also our People section for a profile of British-born educationist Janice Shiner.

GLOBAL: A tougher time for women
Keith Nuthall
It is almost a truism that women have a tougher time in most professions than men, and academia is no different. But consider the absurdity of this statement: in the 21st century, it is still quite normal to assume that the success of an academic or student is likely to be affected by their gender.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Women lag in scientific research
Alan Osborn
A new European gender survey has confirmed the findings of other recent reports that women lag significantly behind men in scientific research and that the higher the position, the fewer women are found. The new survey finds that while roughly equal numbers of men and women start off in science, relatively few women make it to the top: thus 83.6% of men are employed on a permanent basis while only 56% of women are. Also women tend to concentrate on subjects like biology and medicine while male scientists are much more diversified.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Cultural and historical baggage
David Jardine
It’s not just misogyny. Women academics often have to overcome cultural difficulties and prejudice engrained by centuries of experience and tradition that favour their male colleagues. Indonesia is a case in point: any historical assessment of its educational development for women must take into account two broad things – the record of Dutch colonialism and the often turbulent record of the post-independence period.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: A success story in Moscow
Nick Holdsworth
Professor Svetlana Ter-Minasova, founder and head of Moscow State University’s faculty of foreign languages and area studies, is one of three women deans out of the 40 at Russia’s top university. Although she describes progress in her long academic career – she started teaching as soon as she graduated from the university in 1961 – as “natural”, the fact that so few women scale the heights of academia in Russia makes her exceptional.
Full report on the University World News site

SPAIN: Motherhood and finishing a thesis not easy
Rebecca Warden
Anna Garriga, a 28-year-old PhD student at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabre University, did not experience any problems as a woman in higher education until she gave birth to her son last August. “I feel I am being discriminated against not as a woman but as a mother,” she says. “When you are young and living on a grant, you realise that the system does not allow you to have a child.”
Full report on the University World News site

SPAIN: Technical university tackles gender imbalance
Rebecca Warden
The Technical University of Catalunya or UPC in north-eastern Spain has special reasons to try to attract more female students and academics. Women make up more than half of students in Spanish higher education but at the UPC, with its focus on applied science and engineering, they account for just 27%.
Full report on the University World News site

NI GERIA: Hard work earned progress for registrar
Tunde Fatunde
Omotayo Ikotun, 54, the current registrar of University of Ibadan in Ni geria, is a good example of how women can succeed in higher education. But they have to overcome obstacles that men do not face.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Improved recruitment processes work
Monica Dobie
A study at the University of Pennsylvania school of medicine suggests that improving recruitment processes can increase the number of women in academic departments where they are under-represented. Women are still markedly under represented in American medical academia and the research, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, notes that less than one third of physicians holding an academic appointment are women. This is despite female student numbers equalling or exceeding those of men in most medical schools.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Gender equity measures mooted
Karen MacGregor
The South African government, vice-chancellors and the country’s Council on Higher Education are due to report at the end of this month on concrete sets of proposals to advance gender equity at senior levels in universities. It is hoped higher education leadership organisations, and especially the government, will be able to shake loose obstacles to women taking up top academic posts that remain despite a decade of affirmative action laws and policies.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EUROPE: Needed: flexible professionals
Jane Marshall
More than a quarter of Europe’s working graduates say the skills they learned in higher education are under-used by their employers, according to a wide-ranging study into the role of universities within the knowledge society. But researchers also found that higher education graduates generally do well in the labour market in most European countries.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Fears over privatisation
Diane Spencer
Britain’s main lecturers’ union is campaigning against the growing trend of universities forming partnerships with private education companies. The University and College Union is opposed to what it sees as the creeping privatisation of higher education. Several universities have links with companies such as INTO, Navitas and Kaplan for recruiting and teaching overseas students on preparatory programmes for English language and study skills, usually with a guarantee of progression to a degree course.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Special visas for foreign students
Alan Osborn
A committee of the European Parliament is seeking improvements in the EU's Erasmus Mundus university cooperation and student mobility programme, including a specific visa for students. The committee says that if tuition fees are claimed by universities taking part, these should always comply with national legislation – making it possible to include countries such as Denmark where the fees are not allowed.
Full report on the University World News site


With the launch this week of our own Facebook group, University World News has entered the sphere of internet social marketing. Readers who would like to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers who receive the first global higher education newspaper should join. Click on the link below or search on Facebook for the group University World News to meet fellow UWN readers.
Visit the University World News group on Facebook


RUSSIA: Billionaire plans science foundation
Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia’s richest men, is planning to set up a foundation to support scientific research and innovation. The 43 year old self-made billionaire, who is Russia’s fifth-richest man with a fortune estimated at more than $20 billion, told the annual conference of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists that stronger links between business, science and the state were key to the country’s future.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Protest at scholarship cuts
Germaine Greer joined protests at the British government’s decision to cut funds for student scholarships from eight older Commonwealth countries. At a meeting at London’s Commonwealth Club, the Australian-born academic and journalist said: “This so-called financial saving amounts to little more than the price of a property in Bayswater, yet its withdrawal will waste untold talent. More and more Australian students will simply study in the US – this has got to be to the detriment of Britain.”
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: New editor for OECD journal
Australian higher education consultant and commentator Professor Vin Massaro has been appointed editor of the OECD journal, Higher Education Management and Policy, the first Australian to hold the position. Massaro is a professorial fellow in the LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management at the University of Melbourne and a professorial fellow in Melbourne’s centre for the study of higher education.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Academic faces censure for revision class
Jonathan Travis
A senior academic at Birbeck College, University of London, is facing disciplinary action for holding an end-of-module revision session. The Guardian reports that Dr Bernard Casey has run his extra economics session for the last 18 years and has never been paid for his time – all he has asked of the university was the use of a room for an hour or two which, up until now, has been supplied. But this year, things were different and Casey faces disciplinary action for the potential ‘detrimental impact’ caused by his holding the revision session.
More academic freedom reports on the University World News site


UK: Research centre for world’s top financial district
Diane Spencer
The City of London, home to the world’s leading financial institutions, will soon be housing an International Centre for Financial Regulation (IFCR). Kitty Ussher, Economic Secretary and City Minister within the UK government, announced last month that the independent, industry-led centre would open later in the year. Barbara Ridpath, Executive Managing Director of global financial ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, will be its chief executive officer.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: ‘COST’ group to speed reforms
Alan Osborn
Top European scientific research officials have agreed on measures to improve the effectiveness of the EU’s Lisbon strategy – a slew of policies designed to make the EU a global leader in technology and innovation by 2010. Meeting in Belgrade last month, senior officials of the COST organisation, or European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, agreed on the need to “improve flexibility and speed up rapid response capacity to enhance the impact of the Lisbon strategy.”
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Extracting natural gas from dried up wells
Monica Dobie
A team of scientists from British and Canadian universities who discovered that a mixture of bacteria, nutrients and water can convert solidified heavy oil deposits into natural gas flows have begun trials of this potentially lucrative energy technology in western Canada.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Preparing graduates for the workplace
Jane Marshall
Are higher education institutions equipping their graduates with the skills they need? Representatives of the European Commission and national governments will discuss this and other such questions in Brussels on Tuesday when members of the multi-country Research into Employment and Professional Flexibility (Reflex) project present the conclusions of their investigations into the role of universities within the knowledge society.
Full report on the University World News site


The following presentation by Sir John Daniel was delivered at the annual Australian Universities Quality Forum, Quality and Standards in Higher Education: Making a difference, which was held in Canberra last week.

AUSTRALIA: New QA approaches to new learning forms?
Sir John Daniel
So my title is: New Approaches to Quality and Standards for New Forms and Modes of Learning? There is a question mark at the end of the title. Whether new forms and modes of learning actually require new approaches to quality and standards is a basic question. Some would argue that quality is quality and standards are standards; so that if you assure quality and measure standards properly, new modes and forms of learning should not require new approaches.
Article on the University World News site


NEW ZEALAND: British reformer completes her mission
John Gerritsen*
When British-born Janice Shiner leaves New Zealand’s tertiary education funding agency at the end of July, she brings to an end a period in which all three of the government’s main education bodies were headed by women. Shiner took over the Tertiary Education Commission in mid-2005 when it was still a relatively young organisation. She restructured the agency to help it implement government reforms of the tertiary education sector and justify its place in the world.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

AUSTRALIA: Caffeine helps athletes recover faster
Drinking caffeine while eating carbohydrates helps athletes recover more quickly from strenuous exercise, researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne have discovered. The world-first results, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, showed glycogen – the main fuel source for muscles – is replenished faster when athletes consume both caffeine and carbohydrates after exercising.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Universities strive for work-life balance
It’s called the ‘unfinished revolution’. The women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s changed the landscape of the working world, but feminist leaders feel the changes did not go far enough. Now universities are on the forefront of a growing trend, searching for solutions to balancing work and life with children, reports ABC News. This is the topic of a new book by Mary Ann Mason, who became the first woman dean of Berkeley’s graduate schools in 2000, titled Mothers on the Fasttrack: How a new generation can balance family and careers. It covers not only academics, but women with advanced degrees in professions like law and medicine.
More on the University World News site

US: Animal rights protesters torment scientists
In the hills above the University of California’s Berkeley campus, nine protesters gathered in front of the home of a toxicology professor, their faces covered with scarves and hoods despite the warm spring weather, writes Associated Press. One scrawled “killer” in chalk on the scientist's doorstep, while another hurled insults through a bullhorn and announced, “Your neighbour kills animals!” Someone shattered a window. Borrowing the kind of tactics used by anti-abortion demonstrators, animal rights activists are increasingly taking their rage straight to scientists’ front doors.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: League tables ‘inevitable’
Research policy experts believe the federal government’s proposal to measure academic research performance will result in unofficial university rankings, despite the exercise being designed to prevent this occurring, reports The Australian Higher Education. But research commentators are also closing ranks in support of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) programme in the face of intense criticism from disgruntled academics.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Poor will pay for free higher education
The university vice-chancellors’ association, Higher Education South Africa (HESA), has challenged the concept of free higher education, arguing that all South Africans – including the poor – will have to foot the bill, reports the Mail & Guardian. The ruling African National Congress-linked South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) and the South African Union of Students (SAUS) have called for free university education.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: PhDs rare in African universities
Lack of enough lecturers with PhD degrees in public and private universities is diminishing the value of higher education, reports The Standard. Outside South Africa, many universities in Sub-Saharan Africa are lucky to have 10 PhDs in their ranks. In Kenya, with the exception of the University of Nairobi where about 50% of faculty have PhDs or equivalent qualifications, doctorate cadres are thinly spread in 24 accredited and licensed universities.
More on the University World News site

UK: Art and computing students face jobless risk
Students taking creative arts degrees and computing courses are 50 times more likely to be left unemployed than those studying medicine, according to official figures, reports The Telegraph. One-in-12 graduates from courses including fine art, drama, dance and music were not in work or further study six months after leaving university.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: Revamp for higher education
Forty-five health colleges and five health institutes for girls that were hitherto under the Health Ministry will be brought under universities in various cities, reports Arab News. Higher Education Minister Dr Khaled Al-Anqari said King Abdullah had also approved the establishment of 17 new colleges in different parts of the country.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Government to fund extra 3,000 students
Thousands of Emiratis who faced missing out on places at government universities will now be admitted after the Cabinet approved funding for an additional 3,000 applicants, reports The National. Students who meet entrance requirements will be able to take up places in September.
More on the University World News site

KOREA: Lawyers, universities urge end to protests
The Korea Council of University Education and the Korea Bar Association have called for a return to law and order and an end to street protests against the import of American beef, reports Chosun. The council, an association of presidents of 198 universities nationwide, issued a resolution and an open letter from university presidents. “We are gravely concerned that society is in a touch-and-go situation. The government and politicians must bear the responsibility for it,” they said.
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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