ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0075 10 May 2009
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The University of Phoenix is one of the world's biggest providers of online education. But other US universities are increasingly refusing to hire staff with online degrees – even if they offer such degrees themselves, our correspondent reports.

Sanctuary or place of learning? National Technical University of Athens is both. Now the Greek government has suggested the institution should move so that it will not be disrupted by protesters hiding from police.

Progress and challenges for Europe's Bologna process have been highlighted in a new report from the EU education network, Eurydice. See this week's Special Report on Bologna.


A global view of the key issues confronting higher education

Reports from the Frontier is the first in a planned series of electronic books to be published by University World News. The initial volume comprises eight chapters that range from the impact of the global financial crisis on universities, declining funding, and the Bologna process, to women in higher education, international rankings and e-learning.

The 337-page e-book includes an index listing the chapters and article headings, and is available as a special offer to University World News readers. To see the contents page and to order your copy click here

SPECIAL REPORT: Problems remain for Bologna

Despite last month’s apparently successful meeting of the 46 education ministers involved in implementing the Bologna process, serious issues have still to be resolved. The ministers acknowledged this in a statement released after the meeting, noting that full implementation of the objectives at the European, national and institutional level would require increased momentum and commitment beyond 2010.

Among students, who are most profoundly affected by the reforms, considerable unease continues as demonstrations across Europe have shown. The following reports by our correspondents consider some of the issues of great concern.

EUROPE: Bologna a success but state support needed
Leah Germain
Progress in Europe’s Bologna process on improving coordination between higher education systems is facing fresh challenges as the reforms it sponsors throw up new differences in courses that need to be examined. A report from EU education network Eurydice says that a close focus on individual country implementation of Bologna policies is required.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Different credits for Bologna
Michael Gardner
The Bologna process was given a positive appraisal by government officials and the German Rectors’ Conference at last month’s meeting of higher education ministers in Belgium. Students appear to be less enthusiastic about the reforms, though, and at May Day demonstrations some even called for scrapping the new bachelor’s and masters degrees altogether.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Bologna ignores us: students
Alan Osborn
The Bologna process appears to be falling seriously behind in putting its ideas into practice, Europe’s students say. They claim the process is in grave danger of being revealed as a “superficial redesign of higher education structures in Europe rather than a transformation of the whole academic and learning paradigm”.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Student manifesto presented to parliament
The European Students’ Union has presented a manifesto for the European parliamentary elections to be held next month. The manifesto says the next parliamentary term from 2009 to 2014 provides the opportunity for the parliament to go further in exercising its legislative rights and non-legislative powers in relation to higher education. The aim is “to put us fully on track to achieve a high-quality, equitable European Higher Education Area by 2020”.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Higher education on the move
Higher education mobility around the world has grown by 57% since 1999, with more than 2.9 million students seeking education abroad, according to Higher Education on the Move: New Developments in Global Mobility, the second in the Series of Global Education Research Reports published last week by the Institute of International Education with support from the AIFS Foundation. It argues that the dramatic rise in numbers of mobile students can partly be attributed to worldwide growth in higher education.
See our report in HE RESEARCH AND COMMENTARY in this edition

US: No job if you only have an online degree
John Richard Schrock*
American universities are rejecting job applications from academics with online degrees – even when the institutions are offering those degrees themselves. Good enough for luring in student tuition, it seems, but not good enough for hiring as faculty
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: More reform needed: OECD
Jane Marshall
Recent reforms have laid the initial groundwork for university autonomy but more needs to be done such as letting institutions fix their own tuition fees and select their students, says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in its latest Economic Survey of France.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Close a university – open a museum
Makki Marseilles
Education Secretary Aris Spiliotopoulos has outraged the academic community following a chance remark he made before his appointment. Spiliotopoulos had suggested the National Technical University of Athens be removed from its present neo-classical building in the centre of Athens to an unspecified area outside the city boundaries to combat the increasing violent behaviour of sundry anarchist groups which use the university campus as a refuge during riots, demonstrations and marches.
Full report on the University World News site

UK-AUSTRALIA: Industrial action looms
Diane Spencer and Geoff Maslen
Higher education unions in Britain and Australia are demanding hefty pay rises for their members, warning their universities will face industrial action unless agreement is reached. In the UK, the University and College Union sent out ballot papers on 1 May after warning employers that higher education could be brought to a standstill if its members voted for industrial action over job cuts and a low pay offer. In Australia, the National Tertiary Education Union has called for a 20% pay increase over the next three years even before the government hands down its budget next week.
Full report on the University World News site


INDONESIA-AUSTRALIA: Higher education plays diplomatic role
David Jardine
Australia and Indonesia bind their sometimes strained relationship through Canberra’s progressive aid programme in higher education. Bill Farmer, Australian Ambassador to Jakarta, recently announced that Canberra was offering 300 postgraduate scholarships in Australia to Indonesian students.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Universities prepare for bleak budget
John Gerritsen
Universities are increasingly concerned New Zealand’s new government will sideline them in its first budget later this month.
Full report on the University World News site

ACADEMIC FREEDOM: Autonomy in West Africa
Jonathan Travis
A symposium and workshop on academic freedom and university autonomy in West African universities was held at the University of Ghana last month.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Alternatives to animal testing urged
Leah Germain
Four international organisations have rallied together and signed an agreement that aims to significantly reduce the number of animals used in basic and biomedical experiments in commercial and basic research.
Full report on the University World News site
See also US: Animal research helps animals too in this week’s Research and Commentary

AUSTRALIA: Researchers make waves with photon technology
Emma Jackson
Scientists at the University of Melbourne have hit commercial success. Less than 12 months after creating a prototype for their innovative communications technology, researchers have sold their single photon source apparatus to a Germany agency run by that country’s government.
Full report on the University World News site

JAPAN-EUROPE: New technology cuts greenhouse gas
Leah Germain
Japan has formed a coalition with the European Union promoting cooperation in developing energy technologies drastically reducing the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Both sides will focus on several specific areas of research, including photovoltaics, power shortage and carbon capture and storage.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Scientists coordinate micro-organism network
Jane Marshall
Two French research organisations, the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique and the Institut Pasteur, are coordinating a three-year initiative to harmonise European systems of conserving and identifying bacteria and microscopic fungi. The work is expected to be exploited by pharmaceutical, agri-food, and the health industries.
Full report on the University World News site


GREECE: Chancellors' proposals for access to university
Makki Marseilles
University chancellors, as a rule highly distinguished professors elected to the position and not appointed by the government, are responsible for the administration of their institutions while handling large sums of public money, managing employees of different education, skills and temperament. They are also responsible for the education of large numbers of students to the highest degree possible. Yet nobody has taken the trouble to ask them to contribute their views in the national dialogue currently in progress for reform of the access system to higher education.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Animal research helps animals too
John Richard Schrock*
Last month, the FBI released a wanted poster on America’s first domestic terrorist. Daniel Andreas San Diego, an animal rights extremist, is being sought for alleged arson attacks on biotechnology companies in California. The FBI is offering a bounty of up to $250,000 for information leading to his arrest. The warrant highlights the issue of whether animals should be used in experiments intended to help humans.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Higher education on the move
Global higher education mobility has grown by 57% since 1999, with more than 2.9 million students seeking education abroad, according to Higher Education on the Move: New Developments in Global Mobility, the second in the Series of Global Education Research Reports published last week by the Institute of International Education with support from the AIFS Foundation. It argues that the dramatic rise in numbers of mobile students can party be attributed to worldwide growth in higher education.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Poking fun at community colleges
Community colleges have been the butt of disparaging jokes for almost as long as they've been around, writes David Moltz for Inside Higher Ed. The line about them being nothing more than “high schools with ashtrays” has worn thin through the years, and some educators still do not find such wisecracks funny. Later this year, a community college will not just be the punch line to a series of quirky witticisms; it will be the setting of a prime time situation comedy.
More on the University World News site


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US: Gates backs 81 unconventional research projects
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last week announced 81 grants of US$100,000 each to explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries, reports News Blaze. The grants were awarded to researchers in 17 countries through the foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, which aims to develop a pipeline of creative ideas that could change the face of global heath.
More on the University World News site

US: New Kindle aimed at textbooks and newspapers
Last Wednesday, Amazon introduced a larger version of the Kindle, pitching it as a new way for people to read textbooks, newspapers and documents, write Brad Stone and Motoko Rich for The New York Times. It also offered limited information about new partnerships that are intended to put Kindles in the hands of more university students and newspaper readers.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Quality audit of all universities
Higher education institutions in Malaysia are to be audited in August by 10 teams from the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, or MQA, reports the New Straits Times. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said this move was in line with the Ministry’s vision and mission to make Malaysia a world class higher education hub.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Boosting ties with China
Vietnam plans to strengthen its educational cooperation with China, especially training at least 1,000 PhD students in China in the next 12 years, said Nguyen Thien Nhan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Training, at a meeting with China’s Education Minister Zhou Ji in Beijing, reports
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Institutes woo students in west Asia
Leading universities and technical institutions in Pune, India, have launched a major effort to tap students from the vast Indian diaspora in west Asian countries, for admission to engineering courses for the academic year 2009-10, writes Vishwas Kothari in the Times of India. Institutions are allowed a 15% quota for foreign nationals, non-resident Indians, people of Indian origin and children of workers in Gulf countries.
More on the University World News site

CAMBODIA: World Bank pumps US$15 million into HE
The World Bank is to inject US$15 million to support tertiary education in private and public universities and institutes in Cambodia, the Ministry of Education has said, writes Khuon Leakhena for The Phnom Penh Post. The money will be spent over five years and will be aimed at boosting standards, providing scholarships for needy students and improving academic research and financial management.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities must cut admin costs
Ministers have calmed fears that universities will be asked to axe thousands of academic jobs and make savings on teaching and research, reports Anthea Lipsett for The Guardian. Letters from the universities secretary, John Denham, to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) and the Learning and Skills Council confirm that savings should be made in administration costs, rather than the core university business of teaching and research.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Student protest turns violent
Riot police and students clashed violently at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology's Bellville campus last Wednesday as protests over service delivery, facilities and fees continued for a third day, writes Natasha Joseph for Independent Online.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Makerere University scraps free food
Makerere University’s council has resolved to scrap free meals for all students due to high food prices and the financial squeeze at Uganda’s biggest university, writes Francis Kagolo for New Vision. From the next academic year, which opens on 15 August, every student in the government scholarship scheme will instead get a daily meal allowance of sh2,000.
More on the University World News site

US: The sale of Waldorf
Reached on the phone, Richard A Hanson isn't quite sure he's ready to give an interview about last week’s sale of Waldorf College, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. The college’s president has talked quite a bit locally, trying to assure students, professors and the residents of Forest City, Iowa, that selling the liberal arts institution to a for-profit, online university is the best (in fact, only) option. What persuaded Hanson to talk about what's happening at Waldorf is the question of whether he thinks other colleges will soon be facing the same choice.
More on the University World News site

US: Classroom failure, post-season ban
For the first time in its history, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has banned teams from post-season play for their athletes’ poor academic performance, writes David Moltz for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site
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