ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0053  16 November 2008
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A model of a heart – French scientists are developing a prosthetic device, which is both anatomically and functionally similar to the human heart – see this week’s Business section. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Bangladesh and other South Asian nations have benefited from the work of a university's public health school. See the story in our Feature section.

Work has begun on Saudi Arabia's first university for women. See the story in our News section.


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

AUSTRALIA: System-wide change needed
Geoff Maslen
Australia needs a new education revolution, a new approach encompassing the whole of the education system because universities alone cannot solve the nation’s educational problems, according to federal Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Speaking at the University of Melbourne, Gillard said Australia had to start again with a system-wide approach that would invest in the early years when social inequality was already entrenching itself.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Election brings research funding increase
John Gerritsen*
Universities in New Zealand are looking forward to a $50 million (US$29 million) boost to their main research income as a result of the country’s change of government. But other education impacts of the country’s swing to the right were less clear as University World News went live.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Mental health and the international student
Philip Fine
An African student named Cylis had taken out a private loan in his home town to study in Canada. The loan interest may have been high but the payoff, he believed, was worth the financial risk. He would return with a degree and the family breadwinner would soon reach a higher rung of respectability and earning power back in his home country. That plan would not only fall flat, as was described at a recent conference looking at international students and mental health, but would offer a sobering case study of how universities need to be aware of the warning signs and vulnerabilities facing foreign students.
Full report on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: Giant expansion for all-women university
Tabitha Morgan
Work has begun on the construction of a new SR15 billion (US$4 billion) campus for Riyadh Women’s University, the first university in Saudi Arabia exclusively for female students. The foundation stone of Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh was laid last month by King Abdullah, whose involvement has created tension in the kingdom.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Funding not tackling the skills crisis
Karen MacGregor
Skills shortages have become a permanent political issue in South Africa and are constraining innovation and economic growth as well as undermining efficiency and service delivery, write University of Pretoria academics Roula Inglesi and Anastassios Pouris in an upcoming article in the South African Journal of Science. Based on a study of graduate trends, they propose the higher education funding formulas be revised and weightings introduced that give preferential support to priority disciplines.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Rara avis within higher education
David Jardine
Fasri Jalil, Director-General of Higher Education at Indonesia’s Ministry of National Education, is leading a campaign to widen the country’s university science base. Current science and technology undergraduate numbers are small and Fasri wants to increase them in an effort to catch-up with neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Internet services launched for research
Michael Gardner
Two new internet platforms have been opened in Germany for academics: was developed at the University of Würzburg and offers smart software for academic research, while is an international publications platform for the humanities.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Europe and US behind in global R&D investment
Alan Osborn
Just how quickly the world’s less developed economies are taking over the lion’s share of global investment in research and development is made clear in the recently published Science Technology and Industry Outlook for 2008 from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD report broadly represents the world’s leading industrial countries and shows the share of global R&D accounted for by the non-OECD countries rose from 11.7% in 1996 to a remarkable 18.4% in 2005.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Graduate student shakes college guides system
Monica Dobie
Jordan Goldman, a 23-year-old from Staten Island, New York, talked his way into the wallet of a Park Avenue businessman over eggs one morning and is now on his way to taking a chunk out of the published college guides. Goldman’s brainchild,, was recently launched to give prospective American university students and their families a chance to read real college reviews free online as an alternative to the traditional college guides that have been the only source of information on US universities until now.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Earning a US business masters outside the US
Keith Nuthall
An appreciation of the value of globalisation has led to an Australian university offering the chance for business students to complete American and Australian masters degrees simultaneously. A first group of 18 students have just completed Swinburne University of Technology’s Global Leadership Programme, which is operated with Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Company to help artificial heart start beating
Jane Marshall
An artificial heart developed by French cardiac spec ialist Alain Carpentier, emeritus professor of the University of Paris-6, Pierre et Marie Curie, is to be marketed by Carmat SAS, an innovative start-up company launched last month. The prosthetic device, which is both anatomically and functionally similar to the human heart, should be ready for commercial production by 2013.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Breaking shackles of anti-intellectualism
In a graduation address at the University of Melbourne earlier this month, federal Education Minister Julia Gillard spoke of the role education can play in changing people’s lives.

We are here this evening to affirm the importance of education to our nation and our lives and to celebrate the achievements of 16 talented Australians who have just come up to the stage to receive their doctoral certificates. It’s the highest honour this esteemed university can give. Surely there is nothing more dynamic than an environment dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge that combines a person desperate to learn with teachers and mentors driven to help. Education of this sort changes individual lives and has the capacity to change the life of a nation.
Full report on the University World News site

BANGLADESH: University has big impact on public health
Mahdin Mahboob
With a vision of a world where everyone enjoys the maximum potential of health, the James P Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University in Dhaka has made a significant mark in public health education in Bangladesh and in South Asia in general.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Postgraduate students prefer to stay home
Work in 1997 on Australian research postgraduate student mobility indicated that most students chose to remain at their current institution for a research degree rather than move elsewhere, and that they were unlikely to seek widely for information. In the latest edition of the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Margaret Kiley and Andy Austin write that a new study aimed at determining, seven years later, whether there had been changes showed that student mobility was “virtually the same”, with 61% of student respondents saying they were remaining at the same university to undertake a research masters or doctorate, 18% moving to a different university in the same state, and only 12% moving to a different university in a different state on completing their previous degree.
More on the University World News site

US: Sloan survey shows online learning up 12%
The just-published 2008 Sloan Survey of Online Learning has revealed that enrolment rose by more than 12% over a year and that nearly four million students were studying at least one online course by late 2007. Staying the Course: Online education in the United States, 2008 surveyed more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide, is the sixth annual report on the state of online learning in American higher education, and was a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group, the College Board and the Sloan Consortium.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Internet changes rules for researchers
With social scientists increasingly using the internet for research and observation, new methodological guidelines need to be developed, argues Emma Beddows in the latest edition of the International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society. Beddows, of Swinburne University of Technology, examines issues and concerns associated with internet-based research and calls for renewed university guidelines to tackle them.
More on the University World News site

US: Academic Integrity in the 21st Century
In a new report Academic Integrity in the 21st Century: A teaching and learning imperative, Tricia Bertam Gallant, academic integrity coordinator at the University of California in San Diego “considers the issue of academic misconduct in the context of the complex forces currently straining the teaching and learning environment”. It is the latest monograph of the Jossey-Bass series ASHE Higher Education Report, which provides analysis of tough higher education problems based on research of literature and institutional experiences.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: Fact imitates fiction
Diane Spencer
Edinburgh University staged an event last week that was in the excellent tradition of life imitating art. A distinguished American scholar gave a public lecture on the poet WH Auden which brought to life a scene from a novel by a distinguished author, also a former professor of the university.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Michigan shrinks Obama
Barack Obama is larger than life these days – except, that is, at the University of Michigan, where the president-elect has become remarkably small, reports The Canadian Press. A team of researchers has created carbon nanotube images of Obama that can be seen only through electron microscopes.
More on the University World News site


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UK: Newcastle excludes 50 foreign students for forgery
Newcastle University has excluded 50 foreign students it believes used forged certificates to enhance their applications, reports The Telegraph. Most are suspected of submitting bogus English qualifications to increase their chances of being accepted. The university said it believed other institutions could be affected and urged increased vigilance.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Universities open to mainland China students
Taiwanese authorities said last week that they were planning to allow students from mainland China to attend local universities, as ties between the once bitter rivals markedly improve, reports the Straits Times. The proposal came after Taipei and Beijing held historic talks on the island, during which they signed deals to forge closer economic ties and agreed to promote educational exchanges.
More on the University World News site

US: Two populous states to slash university funding
In what appears a harbinger of things to come for higher education, governors of two of America’s most populous states, California and New York, have rolled out plans that would dramatically reduce funding for colleges and universities – again – reports Inside Higher Ed. In the past two weeks, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Governor David Paterson of New York have both proposed midyear budget cuts that college officials say will cripple already strained higher education systems.
More on the University World News site

US: Harvard looks to tighten its belt
Even the world's richest university is feeling the pinch from the economic downturn, reports the Boston Globe. Harvard's president, Drew Faust, said last week that the university was looking for ways to reduce spending across the campus, raising the spectre of cuts to programmes and compensation, as Harvard’s endowment plummets. It was also assessing all aspects of its sweeping plan to expand across the Charles River in Allston, she said.
More on the University World News site

US: Chinese-Americans ‘model minority’ myth debunked
Chinese Americans, one of the most highly educated groups in the nation, are confronted by a ‘glass ceiling’, unable to realise full occupational stature and success to match their efforts, concludes a new study from the University of Maryland, reports ScienceDaily. The returns on Chinese Americans’ investment in education and ‘sweat equity’ are “generally lower than those in the general and non-Hispanic white population”, says the report. On average Chinese American professionals in law and medicine earn 44% less than white counterparts.
More on the University World News site

UK: Students poorly prepared for university
Students should be given more help at university amid fears they are “poorly prepared” for academic life, reports The Telegraph. A wide-ranging review published last week as part of a review of higher education policy by John Denham, the Skills Secretary, said some students needed more time with tutors and lecturers.
More on the University World News site

UK: Exclusion zone sought for Oxford’s animal lab
The University of Oxford is seeking a permanent exclusion zone around its animal research laboratory, which opened last week, reports The Independent. A temporary injunction already in place restricts people from demonstrating within a certain radius of its Biomedical Sciences Building but the university wants to make this permanent at a court hearing scheduled for next year.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Poor funding hits higher education enrolment
Poor funding and lack of quality and quantity of teachers have affected the enrolment of students in higher education in India, a recent report has said. The Ernst & Young-EDGE 2008 report on Globalising Higher Education in India found low levels of funding of higher education in India compared with other developing nations such as China, Brazil and Russia, reports Zee News.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: American-born graduate student freed
Iranian authorities have released an American-born graduate student on bail after holding her in prison for nearly a month, an Amnesty International spokeswoman told CNN. Esha Momeni, 28, had been working on a project on the women’s movement in Iran when she was arrested 15 October for an alleged traffic violation, according to California State University-Northridge and Change For Equality, an Iranian women’s movement. She had been held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.
More on the University World News site

US: New president for Johns Hopkins a ‘visionary’
As dean of the University of Toronto law school, Ronald J Daniels was at first criticised for having goals that were too elitist and ambitious, in essence for acting too much like an American law dean, reports the Baltimore Sun. So perhaps it is not surprising that he eventually migrated south, first to the University of Pennsylvania and now to Baltimore as the next president of the Johns Hopkins University.
More on the University World News site


Charting New Terrain: Creating and maintaining a diversified tertiary education sector in Australia

The Martin Institute will present this conference at The Langham Hotel in Melbourne on 27 & 28 November 2008. The conference will focus on the formation of a diverse tertiary education system in Australia with national and international speakers who will explore the challenges. There will be opportunity for discussion and exchange of ideas.

Speakers include:
* The Hon. John Dawkins AO, Chair, Australian Qualifications Framework Council
* Professor Frans van Vught - Policy Advisor on Higher Education to the President of the European Commission
* Mr Robin Shreeve, Principal of City Of Westminster College, UK

For registrations and further information, please check the conference website here
Registrations close on 19 November so register now!

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