University World News Global Edition
26 November 2017 Issue 484 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Asian universities push for ethical standards as the race to develop AI hots up

   In Features, Yojana Sharma says universities in China and elsewhere in Asia are belatedly joining global alliances to promote ethical practices in artificial intelligence or AI, as these countries invest heavily in research and development in the race for AI.

   Also in Features, Jan Petter Myklebust reports on a heated debate ignited when a Swedish lecturer blogged that the policy requirement that 40% of recommended literature should be women authors made it difficult to run a university course on fascism and totalitarianism. And Wagdy Sawahel looks at the growing incidence of violent physical assaults by university students on academic staff in Algeria and its impact on universities.

   In Commentary, Simon Marginson argues the case for liberal arts and science university education to be scaled up and says the ideal structure is for liberal arts and science first degrees to operate as foundational to professional programmes. Deren Temel says Japanese universities are not adequately preparing international students for success in Japanese society despite high demand for international hires, focusing in particular on Vietnamese students. And Ross VeLure Roholt, Jennifer Catalano, Robert Hollister and Alexander Fink urge universities and funders to explore the concept of ‘transformative entrepreneurship’ as this disruptive approach has much to teach higher education.

   In our World Blog, Budd L Hall and Rajesh Tandon explain why more community-based participatory researchers are needed to help achieve the ambitious United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

   In Student View, Makomborero Haruzivishe says students in Zimbabwe should not celebrate prematurely because of the resignation of President Robert Mugabe as much change is needed in higher education. And Helge Schwitters of the European Students’ Union warns that students need to be included in the current EU discussions on deeper cooperation and mobility in higher education.

   We ask readers to consider the new University World News partnership programme for universities and higher education organisations wishing to raise their profile internationally and connect with a key audience of university leaders, academics, administrators and policy-makers.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


EU to prioritise deeper HE cooperation and mobility

Brendan O’Malley

Spending more on higher education and research at the European Union level to deepen cooperation and mobility between Europe’s universities is increasingly seen as a priority to tackle the challenge of digitalisation and the rise of xenophobia and extremism, European leaders and officials have signalled.


Contingent faculty teach majority of university courses

Mary Beth Marklein

Contingent faculty, who are typically part-time teachers on short-term contracts, today teach more than two-thirds of university courses nationwide, federal data show. And a substantial number of them are living on the edge of poverty, according to a new report.


Students hail new era of freedom in higher education

Kudzai Mashininga

Students have greeted the resignation of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe with jubilation, describing it as an early Christmas present, while urging the incoming government to guarantee academic freedoms and provide free higher education.


Universities can help overcome economic nationalism

Yojana Sharma

In an era when economic and trade nationalism is disrupting the multilateral world order, universities have a role to play in driving multinational cross-border collaborations and keeping pace with disruptive technologies, the Asia-Pacific University Leaders' Forum, held in Vietnam, was told.


Research spending falls ‘risking national prosperity’

Geoff Maslen

Australia’s total spending on research has fallen as a share of its national income, with the leading university body, Universities Australia, warning that this puts future income sources at risk.


Universities feel effects of EMA move to Amsterdam

Jan Petter Myklebust

The European Medicines Agency or EMA will relocate to Amsterdam when it leaves London in 2019, it was announced last week. It will bring with it benefits to academia and the potential to stimulate investment in its field of research in the host country.


Examinations board targeted in anti-corruption crusade

Tunde Fatunde

Nigeria’s Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board is the latest agency to come under the spotlight in what is a national crusade to get rid of corruption in higher education.


Key factors in quality of masters courses identified

Jan Petter Myklebust

Researchers examining programmes in four countries have identified critical factors that are important to achieving high quality in masters education in economics and molecular biology – and they say the results are relevant for other academic disciplines.


Branch campus is first step in building a US presence

Wagdy Sawahel

America's Webster University is to set up a branch in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan with the aim to start offering educational programmes by September 2018 and serve as a first step in promoting cooperation and establishing America’s presence in the Uzbekistan landscape of higher education.


New funding may see spinoffs for African universities

Munyaradzi Makoni

African universities stand to benefit – through partnerships – from the German Research Foundation’s new annual €533 million (US$626 million) seven-year Excellence Strategy that seeks to stimulate competition among universities in Germany, according to a foundation spokesperson.



The case for more liberal arts and science degrees

Simon Marginson

National systems of higher education need to find ways of drawing on the strengths of both the stand-alone liberal arts college and the large research university and extend liberal university education. The debate plays a central role in the East-West dialogue.


Internationalisation vs Japanisation

Deren Temel

There are many more jobs than applicants in Japan and the government is hoping international students will fill the gap. But, despite its Japan Revitalization Strategy, the country’s universities are not adequately preparing most of the Vietnamese students who study there for success in Japanese society.


Educating transformative entrepreneurs at university

Ross VeLure Roholt, Jennifer Catalano, Robert Hollister and Alexander Fink

For youth entrepreneurship to expand and thrive at universities, public engaged, participatory, community-based and experiential learning has to become mainstream. This kind of disruptive approach to work also has much to teach higher education in general.



Robert Mugabe has gone, but our struggle goes on

Makomborero Haruzivishe

We should celebrate the role of students in the democracy struggle in Zimbabwe, but also be aware that despite Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president there is still much work to be done. We want free education, grants, academic freedom and jobs when we graduate.


Students should be consulted on the future of education

Helge Schwitters

The latest meeting of European leaders proposed reforms to higher education to build a stronger Europe, but students need to be included in discussions that shape their education if we are to have an inclusive and democratic system, addressing the needs of vulnerable groups.



The missing link for SDGs – Community-based researchers

Budd L Hall and Rajesh Tandon

For research to be locally contextualised and globally significant – and to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs – we need more community-based participatory researchers. Their role is crucial if universities are to give back to society at a time when their relevance is being questioned.



Robots bring Asia into the AI research ethics debate

Yojana Sharma

South Korea, Japan, China and Singapore are making huge investments in artificial intelligence or AI research and development, and are in some areas rapidly narrowing the gap with the United States. With no international guidelines in place, universities are joining alliances to promote ethical practices.


Row over 40% gender quota for reading lists at Lund

Jan Petter Myklebust

If a policy requirement that 40% of recommended literature should be by women authors makes it too difficult to run a university course on fascism and totalitarianism, has gender integration gone too far and is it a threat to academic freedom?


When academics become targets of student violence

Wagdy Sawahel

Algerian universities are witnessing growing incidents of violent attacks and physical assaults by university students on academic staff. While some of the attacks are politically motivated, others are not. All of them, however, threaten the dignity and safety of staff and negatively impact on the teaching profession and the student learning process, say experts.



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Beijing vies for greater control of foreign universities

The Chinese Communist Party has ordered foreign-funded universities to install party units and grant decision-making powers to a party official, reversing an earlier promise to guarantee academic freedom, as President Xi Jinping strengthens political control over all levels of education, writes Emily Feng for the Financial Times.


Macron urges faster action to build university networks

The French government, in a memo to other European Union member states, is urging faster, coordinated action to build networks of universities across Europe, writes Richard L Hudson for Science/Business.


Universities feel sting of economic, political crisis

Venezuela’s economic and political crisis has sparked food and medical shortages, the world’s highest inflation rate and allegations of a power grab by the ruling socialists. But it is also threatening the country’s future by ravaging higher education, write Rachelle Krygier and Anthony Faiola for The Washington Post.


Public universities grapple with teacher shortage

Public universities across Bangladesh are grappling with severe teacher shortages, partly as a result of the fact that many qualified teachers are emigrating to other countries where they find better working conditions, writes Rashid Al Ruhani for the Dhaka Tribune.


Justice Department threatens to sue Harvard University

The United States Justice Department has threatened to sue Harvard University to force it to turn over documents as it investigates whether the Ivy League university’s admission policies violate civil rights laws, reports Reuters.


MP calls for cameras at university examination venues

Magda Nasr, a member of the committee on education and scientific research of the House of Representatives, called for the installation of cameras in all examination halls at Egyptian universities to prevent cheating and lack of discipline, reports Egypt Today.


Shift in priorities for Czech universities

Observers say the anti-establishment political party that swept to victory in the Czech Republic’s recent elections is likely to want the country’s universities to redirect teaching and research towards the needs of the economy, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.


Taiwan seeking balance in cross-strait exchanges

In response to Beijing’s attempt to assimilate Taiwanese students while restricting the number of Chinese students studying in Taiwan, officials say the government of Taiwan has rejected academic exchange programmes that would result in an outflow of Taiwanese academics to China, writes Chung Li-hua for the Taipei Times.


Highest-paid vice-chancellor edges no confidence vote

The beleaguered vice-chancellor of Bath University has made a public apology and narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence by the university’s senate, shortly after a packed meeting of staff called on her to resign over the lack of transparency in the way pay awards have been made, writes Richard Adams for The Guardian.


Women in universities share experiences of harassment

Academia is the latest industry to be shaken by widescale allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, with students and researchers raising their voices in a Facebook group aimed to draw attention to the problem, reports The Local.


Students’ union to investigate campus sexual harassment

Sexual harassment in universities is to be investigated by the National Union of Students, which is conducting the United Kingdom’s first survey of staff sexual misconduct in higher education, reports the Press Association.


Four African centres of excellence launched

Last week, Education Minister Janet Museveni launched four Africa Centres of Excellence or ACEs in Uganda – part of the Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence II project that will see 24 centres in eight countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, writes Mosel Talemwa for The Observer.


Students protest over outsourcing of English tests

Students of National Chengchi University and other universities have been protesting against universities in Taiwan setting English proficiency requirements as a threshold for graduation based on outside tests, prompting the country’s legislature to ask the Ministry of Education to come up with a comprehensive strategy to address the issue, writes George Liao for Taiwan News.


Universities to introduce course to counter extremism

Alarmed by the rising trend of extremism in students, Pakistan’s top universities gathered in Islamabad to discuss their role in countering the threat of radicalisation and instilling peaceful ideology, writes Sana Jamal for Gulf News.


Black academics soon to outnumber whites – Study

Although more than 80% of the country’s population is black, its academic sector has remained disproportionately white – a legacy of the apartheid era. But over the past decade, the proportion of black South African researchers has risen steadily: from 26% in 2005 to 35% in 2015, according to a study published in Higher Education last month, writes Sarah Wild for Nature.

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