06 février 2012

Les 8 campus de “rang mondial” sélectionnés

http://www.acteurspublics.com/files/ap-mag/couverture-AP81.jpgPar Sylvain Henry. François Fillon a dévoilé, le 3 février, le nom des 8 campus universitaires et de recherche sélectionnés dans le cadre des “initiatives d'excellence” du grand emprunt. Ces futurs “pôles pluridisciplinaires de rang mondial” bénéficieront d'un budget de 7,7 milliards d'euros.
Aix-Marseille, Toulouse, les pôles parisiens Sorbonne universités et Sorbonne Paris Cité et le campus de Saclay rejoignent Bordeaux, Strasbourg et “Paris sciences et lettres” parmi les campus universitaires lauréats des “initiatives d'excellence” (Idex), projet phare du grand emprunt. C'est ce qu'a annoncé le Premier ministre François Fillon lors d'un déplacement à la chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Bordeaux, le 3 février.
Le Premier ministre a souligné tout l'intérêt de ces “Idex”, qui visent à faire émerger des “pôles pluridisciplinaires d'excellence de rang mondial”. Elles permettront, a-t-il précisé, “d'attirer les meilleurs étudiants, les professeurs et les chercheurs les plus reconnus” en associant les établissements d'enseignement supérieur, les universités, les écoles et en multipliant les partenariats avec les entreprises et les organismes de recherche.
Phase probatoire
Les initiatives d'excellences bénéficieront de 7,7 milliards d'euros dans le cadre du grand emprunt. “Cette somme est considérable dans le contexte actuel mais elle obéit parfaitement à la stratégie que nous avons choisie”, a insisté François Fillon. Des montants qui correspondent essentiellement à des dotations en capital qui seront versées après “une phase probatoire de quatre ans”. Et si les objectifs fixés par le gouvernement sont atteints. Ainsi, lauréats depuis juillet 2011, Bordeaux, Strasbourg et Paris sciences et lettres (qui regroupe notamment Normale sup, le Collège de France et l'université Paris-Dauphine) n'ont reçu “que” 10 millions d'euros chacun pour engager leurs premières actions.
Recalés, les projets de Lyon-Saint-Étienne et du pôle parisien “Hesam” (constitué notamment du Cnam, de l'EHESS et de l'ESCP Europe) pourraient être repêchés. Des “projets de grande qualité”, selon François Fillon, dont les responsables seront reçus prochainement par Laurent Wauquiez, ministre de l'Enseignement supérieur, et René Ricol, commissaire général à l'investissement, en charge du grand emprunt, pour “voir comment les accompagner”.
L'objectif à terme, pour le gouvernement : faire gagner des places aux établissements français dans les classements internationaux. Au risque de créer “un système à deux vitesses”, s'alarme Jean-Paul Huchon, le président PS de la région Île-de-France. “Les Idex ne doivent pas être des îlots de prospérité dans un désert, mais doivent irriguer toute la communauté universitaire”, prévient de son côté Louis Vogel, président de la Conférence des présidents d'université.

http://www.acteurspublics.com/files/ap-mag/couverture-AP81.jpg~~V Ved Sylvain Henry. François Fillon afsløret, 3 Februar, navnene på otte universiteter og udvalgte forskningsprojekter i forbindelse med "Excellence-initiativer" af store lån. Disse fremtidige "tværfaglige centre i verdensklasse", drager fordel af et budget på 7,7 milliarder euro.
Aix-Marseille, Toulouse, Paris Sorbonne universitetet poler og Sorbonne Paris Cité de Saclay campus og deltag Bordeaux, Strasbourg og "Paris Videnskab og Letters" blandt vinderne af de Campus "initiativer of excellence" (IDEX), flagskibet projektet store lån.
Dette blev meddelt af premierminister Francois Fillon under et besøg på handels-og industri af Bordeaux, 3. februar.
Statsministeren understregede bidrag af disse "IDEX", der er designet til at bringe ud "tværfaglige ekspertisecentre i verdensklasse".
De vil, sagde han, "at tiltrække de bedste studerende, fakultetet og forskere den mest anerkendte" ved at inddrage videregående uddannelsesinstitutioner, universiteter, skoler og stigende partnerskaber med virksomheder og organisationer Forskning. Mere...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:58 - - Permalien [#]

The government's policy on university admissions is poor, both educationally and ethically

http://static.guim.co.uk/static/bab8a7926e6235ca61253adba6885b024dc3620c/common/images/logos/the-guardian/news.gifGovernment policy, which means universities will rely solely only on A-level grades to choose students, will simply privilege the already privileged, says Peter Scott.
A long time ago, I remember having lunch with a vice-chancellor, (who had better remain unnamed). Suddenly he made a dramatic gesture, sweeping off the table what he contemptuously called the "tail" of less well-qualified students. That was his plan for success. As a result, his university shrank in size – and ambition.
I found it a chilling gesture at the time. Just the week before, I had interviewed Karl Popper, the Austrian-born philosopher, then in the last years of his life. One thing stuck, and sticks, in my mind about Popper, author of the famous book The Open Society And Its Enemies (mischievously glossed by some of his critics, in recognition of his well-known "difficult" manner, as The Open Society By One of Its Enemies). Popper told me why he had deserted his youthful Marxism.
He had witnessed a street brawl between extreme right and left in Vienna in the 1920s, a routine occurrence then. He had suddenly thought: here are people ready to kill and die for an idea – but what if that idea proves to be wrong? Their crimes would have been committed or their lives lost for nothing.
The vice-chancellor I had invited to lunch was also prepared to sacrifice flesh-and-blood individuals for an idea: better-qualified students in the mass. No one was actually going to die as a result. But their hopes of a university education and a better life were going to die as they were swept away with the crumbs.
I still find his attitude chilling because up and down England his successors are now behaving, or being forced to behave, in the same totalitarian way – a harsh word but a fair one. They are sifting the wheat – students with AAB grades at A-level – from the chaff – those who missed their grades or never had the opportunities and resources to aspire so high in the first place.
That is the inevitable effect of the government's decision to allow universities to recruit as many AAB students as they like, while sharply constraining the overall number of students. Vice-chancellors and admission tutors now have to lure AAB students away from other universities with bursaries and scholarships, or bribe them to stay. They are operating on the principle, to paraphrase Mr Micawber, AAB "result happiness"; AAC "result misery".
There are two fundamental objections to this policy – one educational and the second ethical. The first is that universities have always chosen students according to their future potential, not past performance. Of course, A-level grades are important evidence of potential. But they should never be treated as decisive evidence, even in an age of mass higher education when computer-generated offers are almost inevitable.
To rely on A-level grades alone is, in effect, further to privilege the already privileged, to give disproportionate rewards to those whose way in life has been smooth. The correlation between school performance and social advantage is too plain to deny. For years universities have attempted, feebly perhaps, to level the playing field by making differential offers. Now, on the fiat of David Willetts, they are no longer so free to do so.
To rely on A-level grades also means those choosing students can no longer take into account character (surely beloved of Conservatives?) or experience of life or other less-academic attributes that enliven a university community. Goodbye to well-rounded people. We are all swots now. So why waste time interviewing candidates?
The ethical objection to the government's AAB apartheid takes me back to Popper on the Viennese streets 80 years ago. The arguments for widening participation, and for (genuinely) fair access, are usually seen as rooted in ideology of the kind that Popper disapproved of ("social engineering" is the standard put-down). That is only partly true, although unlike Popper I would not disavow collective action to secure social justice. The argument is also about individuals. First, is it fair to offer students an enticement, in the shape of a generous bursary or an attractive fee waiver, in the expectation that they will get AABs, only to withdraw it if they slip a grade (and since when have A-level examiners been infallible?).
But it goes deeper still. The vice-chancellor who swept the "tail" into oblivion from that restaurant table, and the vice-chancellors now struggling to "manage" their AAB entrants, are behaving in the same way as the zealots of right and left who battled in the streets. They are putting an idea, an abstraction, a policy construct, before the lives of real people who are born, live, love and are bound to die.
Peter Scott is professor of higher education studies at the Institute of Education.

Posté par pcassuto à 23:39 - - Permalien [#]

‘Name and shame’ warning over slow research reform

http://enews.ksu.edu.sa/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/UWN.jpgBy Brendan O'Malley and Jan Petter Myklebust. European Union Research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has warned that she will “name and shame” member states that fail to speed up reform of research. “With Europe crying out for growth, the European Research Area can't wait any longer,” she said.
"We can’t continue with a situation where research funding is not always allocated competitively, where positions are not always filled on merit, where researchers can’t take their grants across borders, where large parts of Europe are not even in the game, where there is a scandalous waste of female talent and where our brightest and best are leaving, never to return.”
Geoghegan-Quinn said she wanted an entirely new ERA partnership, with a stronger role for key stakeholders, and much tougher monitoring of member states’ progress.
“I will not hesitate to ‘name and shame’ those who perform badly against ERA objectives,” she said.
Her warning came at a conference in Brussels on 30 January. The European Commission will now decide which issues should be addressed as priorities when finalising the ERA Framework, to be tabled this June with the aim of completing the European Research Area by 2014.
Responses to a public consultation on the ERA demanded that Europe should be made more attractive for top scientists and globally mobile private investment in research.
More transnationally coordinated research, higher scientific excellence, more cooperation across borders and more research on tackling global challenges were also cited.
The consultation on areas of untapped potential for the development of the ERA opened on 13 September 2010 and ended on 30 November 2011.
Nearly 700 responses and position papers were received from a wide range of stakeholders, the greatest numbers from individual researchers and the higher education sector, followed by public administrations and the business sector. Many national and European research organisations submitted position papers.
Overall, there was overwhelming support for pursuing development of the ERA for completion by 2014, the commission said.
Problems and deficiencies in relation to research careers and mobility emerged as a priority even when the dominant proportion of responses from individual researchers to an online questionnaire was factored out.
Responses from national and European organisations that represent the interests and views of significant numbers of research stakeholders, as well as the official responses from member states, point to cross-border operations, open access and international cooperation as priorities on a similar footing as researcher-related issues.
The online survey indicated that after deficiencies in careers and mobility, the most urgent priorities for researchers are problems relating to research infrastructure, knowledge transfer and cross-border collaboration.
One of the main messages from the research community is the need to attract and retain more leading researchers in Europe and to provide researchers with better and especially business-relevant skills.
The global attractiveness of Europe as a location for researchers and private research and development investment should also be increased by reducing the fragmentation of the European market, and by improving employment and career prospects for researchers.
An absence of open and transparent recruitment procedures was regarded as one of the main barriers to the international mobility of researchers. A lack of political commitment is considered to be the major difficulty for transnationally coordinated research. Much more political will will be needed for national funding agencies to support joint research programmes.
Most respondents consider that universities and public research organisations should be given incentives to develop and implement strong knowledge transfer strategies and structures.
A broad majority of respondents consider that greater involvement of women in science will contribute to European socio-economic growth. Slow progress in achieving gender equality is mainly attributed to the persistence of gender stereotypes in the labour market, lack of support in research institutions and slow progress in their modernisation.
Increased incentives, improved working environments and the inclusion of gender issues in research programmes, content and outcomes were recommended.

Posté par pcassuto à 23:33 - - Permalien [#]

A new role for ‘old world’ universities

http://enews.ksu.edu.sa/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/UWN.jpgBy Helena Nazare. In the past 10 years, the European higher education landscape has undergone enormous changes. Many of these have been directly linked with, or driven by, the massification of higher education and the need to efficiently qualify the workforce and equip it with the skills required by a competitive global market.
Hence the Bologna higher education reforms, which brought about the restructuring of degrees, new methodologies focusing on the student learning process, increased mobility of students and staff, and a new emphasis on quality improvement and quality assurance.
At the same time building the knowledge society also required stronger links between the research and teaching missions of universities.
It soon became clear, however, that meeting the goals of Bologna and of the knowledge society demanded more than just restructuring degrees.
Consequently many national reform agendas (Portugal and Finland are just two examples) went further, including new governance structures with increased stakeholder influence, different ways of choosing university leadership and greater use of performance-based funding.
These reforms have had an impact at all levels, creating more competition, but also more cooperation, between universities and also with external stakeholders.
However, by the end of the last decade Europe was – as it still is – confronted by a deep financial crisis, together with major demographic challenges.
Europe’s population is expected to decrease 6% by 2050. In the same period, the 15 to 59 year age group will decline by 30%, while the age group of those above 60 will almost double. The group of school-leavers, from which universities traditionally recruit, is therefore shrinking across Europe, and there is also a danger of increased mobility flows from East and South to West and North.
New challenges
As a result, universities are facing a series of new challenges.
They need to dramatically broaden participation in order to build a competitive workforce, notably through increased participation at master level, as well as through lifelong learning and continuing education. They also have to develop more effective ways to integrate minorities and build better ‘inter-generational bridges’ for learning.
In parallel, the drive for excellence, and to build world-class research universities, means competition for the brightest talent is getting tougher. Many institutions are striving to be ‘world-class’ universities – but what does this mean, and how many can achieve this status?
Rankings and league tables are here to stay and increasingly impact upon institutional behaviour. However, their role in increasing or promoting transparency is far from clear, and if university leaders use them ‘blindly’ this can distort university performance.
An example of this is the lack of consideration by rankings of the situation of the social sciences and the humanities at a time when the need to address global societal challenges in cross-disciplinary ways is overwhelming.
In addition, there is a danger that the efforts of European universities to improve their position in the global rankings may lead them to overlook the need to focus properly on their contribution to the social cohesion and economic development of the regions in which they are situated.
Therefore, in summary, paying too much attention to improving ranking scores can be detrimental to the fulfillment of other important tasks that are core to our higher education institutions.
A new model
For centuries the mission of the university has been, almost exclusively, to educate future governing elites and to search for true knowledge in solitude and freedom (the Humboldt model). While this contributed to the success of the academic enterprise, it also created within academia resistance to interaction with the outside world, strong competition between disciplines and a lack of knowledge integration.
These factors are detrimental to the quality of cutting-edge research, to its relevance and to innovation, contributing also to less efficiency in the use of resources. The ‘grand societal challenges’ can only be addressed by a truly multidisciplinary approach in research and in education.
To enable universities to contribute fully to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe they need to have the appropriate framework conditions in terms of governance, autonomy, leadership capacity and funding.
Over the last 10 years there has been a strong movement in Europe to modernise university governance and management and at the same time make institutions more responsive, autonomous and accountable. Hence, one could say that models of governance similar to the ones used in the corporate sector are becoming more common.
Leadership capacity is crucial and a key factor of successful institutional development. Thus universities need to pay careful attention to the way in which their leaders are chosen, emphasising leadership and management skills. University leaders need to be able to respond rapidly to change, and in particular to show initiative and to spearhead the change process.
In terms of funding, the European University Association has been monitoring the impact of the economic crisis on universities.
Its analysis has shown that the majority of countries have experienced cuts (some very severe) in the public funding of universities, and in particular in their teaching budgets.
The economic climate has also had a negative effect on collaborative projects with industry, and on institutional autonomy, with governments resorting to direct steering mechanisms, regulations and often intrusive accountability procedures.
Clearly, this brings new challenges for university leaders.
Addressing them requires a modernised idea of the university as an organisation: one with a segmented mission and a clear vision, an institution that recognises the need for knowledge creation through interaction among the different disciplines, from the hard sciences and technologies to the humanities and social sciences.
Above all, it requires institutional autonomy and appropriate support and incentives enabling universities to organise themselves internally, and to define and implement their respective missions, thus providing the added value and the improved quality, performance and outputs that Europe needs.
At the same time, while universities must take this opportunity to modernise and become more responsive to societal needs, they must also remain a source of independent reflection and play the role of a critical conscience.
This means reflecting critically upon societal development while also contributing to the solution of key social challenges, informing public policies and playing their role in educating sustainability-aware citizens.
Universities are no longer ivory towers. Perhaps a better metaphor is that they should be seen as lighthouses, shedding light on and highlighting the paths forward to help society in the present constant process of change.
* Professor Helena Nazaré is president-elect of the European University Association. The EUA's annual conference is from 22-23 March at the University of Warwick in the UK.
See also Colloque annuel de la CPU: participez aux débats, L’avenir des universités en débat à Marseille - Colloque annuel de la CPU- 8, 9 et 10 février, The Global University Summit 2011 (6-7 May 2011).

Posté par pcassuto à 23:16 - - Permalien [#]

Eight years of ranking: What have we learned?

http://www.universityworldnews.com/images/photos/photo_2062.gifBy Richard Holmes. It is more than eight years since Shanghai Jiao Tong University produced its first Academic Ranking of World Universities. Since then international university rankings have multiplied. There are now two main competitors producing general rankings that include indicators other than research, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Times Higher Education.
There are also web-based rankings, Webometrics and IC4U, and research-based rankings from Taiwan, Turkey and Australia, the last of which seems to have disappeared. Then we have rankings from Russia and France. Nor should we forget the European U-Multirank project, which has just moved out of the pilot stage, or regional rankings for Asia and Latin America or the various disciplinary sub-rankings or the rankings of business schools. There are now quite a few things that we have learned about ranking universities.
Measuring research is the easy bit
There are several ways of measuring research. You can count total publications, publications per faculty, total citations per faculty, citations per paper, h-index, international collaboration, money spent, reputation. All of these can be normalised in several different ways.
The result is that ranking is beginning to look like heavyweight boxing with no undisputed champion in sight. Cambridge is top of the QS rankings mainly because it has a good reputation for research, Harvard is first in the Shanghai rankings because it produces more of just about everything and Caltech leads in the new Times Higher Education World University Rankings because of an emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
Nobody has figured out how to measure teaching
QS has an indicator that measures student faculty ratio but this is, as they admit, a very crude instrument. For one thing, it includes academics who only do research and may never see the inside of a lecture hall. Times Higher Education has a cluster of indicators concerning teaching, but they only claim that these have something to do with the learning environment.
If anyone does try to seriously measure teaching quality, the best bet might be to use some sort of survey of student satisfaction, as has apparently been done successfully by the U-Multirank pilot project, or perhaps http://ratemyprofessors.com could go global.
In any case, for better students and better schools, teaching is largely irrelevant. Recruiters do not head for Harvard, Oxford and the grandes ecoles because they have heard about the enthusiasm with which lecturers jump through outcomes-based education hoops. They go there because that is where the smart people are and smart people are smart before they go to university.
Getting there first is important
The Academic Ranking of World Universities published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University is not noticeably better than the Performance Ranking of World Scientific Papers produced by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan. But it still gets a great deal more publicity. A very good research-based ranking has been produced by the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, but hardly anybody knows about it: the niche has already been occupied.
Brand names matter
If anyone else but a magazine with the word ‘Times’ in it and an association with Thomson Reuters had produced a ranking with Alexandria University in the top 200 in the world, or for that matter even put it first in Egypt, they would have been laughed out of existence. The QS rankings have flourished partly because they are linked to a successful graduate recruitment enterprise.
Beware of methodology
The QS rankings are well known for a fistful of methodological changes that have sent universities zooming up and down the tables. Although the methodology has officially stabilised, there have still been unannounced changes. In 2010, something happened to the curve for citations per faculty (a mathematician could explain exactly what) that boosted the scores for high fliers except, of course, for the universities in joint first place, but lowered those for the less favoured ones. One result of this was a boost for Cambridge, no doubt to everyone’s astonishment. Between 2010 and 2011, Times Higher Education made so many changes that talking about improvements over the year was quite pointless.
Weighting is not everything
Weighting is very important, though. It is increasingly common for rankings to have an interactive feature that allows readers to change the weightings and, in effect, to construct their own rankings. It is instructive to fiddle around with the indicators and see just how much difference changing the weighting can make.
The missing indicator
In the final analysis, the quality of a university is largely dependent on the average intelligence of its students, which is why the most keenly scrutinised section of US News’ Best Colleges is the ACT-SAT scores. International rankings have barely begun to tackle this question. I doubt if anyone is very interested in the score on QS’s employer survey or even the Paris Mines rankings, which counts the number of top bosses. It would probably be quite technically feasible to work out the relative selectivity of universities, but there are likely to be insurmountable political problems.
What next?
There will surely be more international rankings of one sort or another. It is unlikely, though, that any will ever achieve the dominant role that US News has achieved. We can expect more sophistication with increasingly complex statistical analysis, more regional rankings and more disciplinary rankings, perhaps also more silly rankings like a global version of American Best Universities for Squirrels.
But it is unlikely that there will ever be agreement on what makes a good or a great university.
* Richard Holmes is a lecturer at Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia and author of the University Ranking Watch.

Posté par pcassuto à 23:08 - - Permalien [#]

The Case Against Internationalization

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/planet-academe.gifBy David Wheeler. Is internationalization becoming too popular? When ideas become too popular, then academics, despite their feisty image, are less willing to dissent. Associate deans or assistant professors have plenty of their own battles to fight, like getting their share of the budget or winning tenure. When they see the internationalization theme sweeping across campus, they resign themselves to yet another academic fad. They keep their head below the parapet, quietly focusing on their own or their departments’ interests. Being against internationalization may look like being against diversity: a highly risky personal proposition.
The nature of the discussion about internationalization often depends on which side of the Atlantic it occurs. (I’ll save the trans-Pacific differences for another day.) Europeans sometimes talk about the “end of internationalization.” In the debates I have witnessed, the theory is that internationalization has moved out of international offices to all of the other academic and administrative offices on campuses, and thus international offices can be closed down.
But the view in the United States is very different. Some international higher-education consultants avoid working for American universities altogether, in the belief that U.S. universities aren’t serious about internationalization, with miniscule budgets and no one on the senior-leadership teams who represents the global perspective. In this view, the “beginning of internationalization” would be a more appropriate topic at many U.S. institutions, where internationalization is often mentioned but frequently not practiced.
Amid all of this discussion, the opinion that internationalization may be unwise altogether is rarely voiced. So here is a devil’s-advocate view on internationalization, offered up tongue-in-cheek. In particular, here are four reasons for an institution not to internationalize:
Internationalization eats up resources, including time and money.
At some point in meaningful internationalization, video conferences and phone calls don’t work anymore, and face-to-face meetings become essential. On overseas trips, academics don’t just lose the time when they are away from their jobs on the home campus. They are distracted before they go by the extra logistical details and jet-lagged when they get back. No matter how much mental or physical stamina someone has, travel takes a personal toll, which means it ultimately takes an institutional toll.
Internationalization requires long-term thinking, and that is hard to come by in academe, because of dependence on governments.
While many an academic administrator has crafted a long-term strategic plan, federal and state legislatures, economic cycles, natural disasters, and any number of other unexpected events tend to turn those plans upside down. They are not always redrawn. When disasters hit and money is tight, internationalization is often the first victim.
But there are exceptions. While some international academics have a quarrel with Singapore’s policies on such matters as freedom of speech, the Singaporean government kept spending on its universities right through the global financial crisis. U.S. state legislatures tend not to have the same kind of budgets or guts.
Internationalization requires institutional commitment, not just the commitment of leaders.
Many times adventurous, well-meaning, globally minded presidents sally forth and visit other presidents. Consortia are formed. Then leadership changes. Suddenly interest drops, and the institution does not return its partners’ e-mails. Broad institutional support for international adventures is often not there. Better not to sally forth at all.
Universities should focus on supporting their own countries.
In short, national competitiveness should win out over efforts at universities cooperating. For instance, because the Chinese government wants to be a “superpower” in higher education, supporting its efforts is against U.S. or European interests.
To be clear, these are all views I do not necessarily hold. What I do believe is that ideas are best sharpened by opposition. While the start-up of branch campuses has sparked robust debate at some U.S. universities, most notably Duke and New York universities, at many institutions, it often seems to be missing.

Posté par pcassuto à 23:05 - - Permalien [#]

Dutch and foreign students: working together, socialising separately

http://cdn.radionetherlands.nl/sites/all/themes/wereldomroep/images/logos/logo-93.pngBy Philip Smet. "We work well together, but they are different." So say Dutch students about their foreign peers. And they're talking about a sizable group: there are over 30,000 foreign students enrolled at universities and colleges in the Netherlands.
It is lunchtime at Wageningen University. Students from all over the world gather in the restaurant. Apart from Dutch, a visitor might hear Chinese, Spanish, German, Indonesian, lots of English, and even African languages.
International reputation

Wageningen University has an international reputation in the field of Life Sciences: studies in the field of food and agriculture, plant diseases, clean energy, biology and nature and landscape. So it's no surprise that the school attracts students from all over the world - especially at the Master's and PhD level - and that the higher-level courses are taught primarily in English.
The students often work together in groups, often including people from many different backgrounds and cultures. Sometimes that take a little getting used to - not only because of the language barrier, but also because of cultural differences.
"There are several foreign students on the student council, and there's always at least one chinese student,"says student Willemijn Sneller. "All our meetings are in English, because we want transparency."

Dutch students are quite fast and direct, Sneller notes. "The Dutch prefer to take a direct approach. But international students are often much more polite. They come up with very formal plans of action, even though you can also arrange something casually. Sometimes this shocks them; hopefully they can learn from it."

Different cultures seem struck by different things about the Dutch students. For example, Depi Susilawati from Indonesia says the Dutch are helpful but too direct, too confrontational. "And some are so arrogant," she says.
On the other hand, Surinamese-Dutch student Noushka Poerschka noticed that Dutch people are quicker to speak up if things aren't going the way they want. "In other countries it is the culture to think longer before you speak."
Meanwhile, Wu Ronghao from China says the Dutch often switch to their own language when the topic gets too complicated. "Then I have to say: 'Can we do this in English, please?'"

Teachers and professors have to take special care to ensure that the nationalities in groups are mixed. Statistics professor Gerrit Gort sees no problems between Dutch and foreign students. But he notes that foreign students are often better motivated and ask more questions.
"They come to the Netherlands specifically to get their education. They really want to succeed. Dutch students are sometimes less motivated... I like to work with foreign students."

Foreign students from Wageningen University can participate in a special 'buddy project' where Dutch students take groups of 15 foreign students and go on outings together or cook for each other.
"In my group there were people from France, Poland, Brazil, and China," says Mirthe Groothuis who has only just started as a buddy. "They become a kind of 'buddy family' - brothers and sisters that they hang out with."
The buddy approach comes from the Erasmus Exchange Network, a club which organises social activities for international students in 36 European countries. Board member Jan Huskens: "It is absolutely enriching to have experience with and an understanding of people from different cultures. The Netherlands is very small, so at some point you often end up working with foreigners. It is also useful to have contacts abroad."

That enthusiasm is shared by the graduate students at Wageningen University. Yet, it's clear to everyone that Dutch stick together, especially during leisure time. Much like the other main group at Wageningen, the Chinese students. And Lina Lasithiotaki, from Greece, knows every other Greek student at the school, just like all the other Mediterranean students. She knows some Dutch students too, but they don't often hang out or socialise together. It seems that working together might be fine, but when it comes to making real friends, students from around the world prefer people from their own culture.

Posté par pcassuto à 22:58 - - Permalien [#]

Bologna fails to deliver on uniform education

http://resources2.news.com.au/cs/australian/paid/images/sprite/logos.pngBy Stephen Matchett. THE European ideal of uniting the continent through education appears a waste of timeaccording to new research into student mobility and common curricula.
After WWII study abroad programs were pushed as a means of encouraging international understanding and to “counteract the idiosyncrasies and the relative isolation of national systems of higher education," Ulrich Teichler writes in the new issue of the Journal of International Education.
This ideal culminated in the 1999 Bologna Declaration, which called on countries across the continent to create a common stage structure for study programs and degrees. However added complexity compounded the challenge, as the role of education and training as a catalyst for employment was added to the Bologna process.
The result is a decade on, “nobody seriously dares to assess the extent to which changes in those directions have actually taken place.”
And while academics see Bologna as a bounty for bureaucrats, “an undesirable imposition from ‘above’," students have acted independently of the ambitions of EU officialdom.
While numbers crossing cultures to study for at least part of their program vary (the Germans do the British don’t) Teichler suggests intra-European student mobility worked “quite well” pre Bologna. And the strongest growth since then has come from students from outside Europe taking advantage of EU mobility.
Does any of this matter? Perhaps not.
Professor Teichler suggests the original European ideal of learning from contrast collapses if courses become much the same across countries.
“Moreover international learning is bound to loose its exceptionality further as a consequence of a general internationalisation of daily life and as a consequence of ‘internationalisation at home’ of the (sic) study provisions.”
Which does not seem likely to happen. “Higher education in the various European countries… has remained quite heterogeneous,” he concludes.

Posté par pcassuto à 22:54 - - Permalien [#]

L'Initiative d'excellence Sorbonne Paris Cité : un poids-lourd omni-disciplinaire

Les EchosPar Isabelle Ficek. Le futur grand campus de rang mondial Sorbonne Paris Cité comptera 120.000 étudiants et 6.000 chercheurs et enseignants-chercheurs, répartis sur trois campus à Paris et en Seine-Saint-Denis.

Une claque salutaire. Comme Saclay, le projet de Sorbonne Paris Cité -qui réunit les universités Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris V Descartes, Paris VII Diderot, Paris XII, Sciences Po Paris, Langues'O, l'Institut de physique du globe de Paris et l'Ecole des hautes études en santé publique -, avait été recalé dès l'étape de pré-sélection de la première vague de l'appel à projet initiative d'excellence (Idex), ces futurs grands campus de rang mondial. De quoi re-travailler considérablement le projet. Désormais labellisé Idex.
Poids lourd parmi les Idex. Il prévoit la création en 2016 d'une nouvelle université: Université Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC). Avec 120.000 étudiants et 6.000 chercheurs et enseignants-chercheurs, répartis sur trois campus à Paris et en Seine-Saint-Denis avec Paris XIII.
Quatre divisions

« Que ne nous avait-on pas dit avec 120.000 étudiants quand parmi les 20 premières universités mondiales aujourd'hui, pas une n'a plus de 20.000 étudiants ? », s'est amusé vendredi Richard Descoings, directeur de Sciences Po et responsable de la coordination du projet. « Peut-être, mais dans les années qui viennent il est possible que dans les premières figurent de grandes universités des pays émergents. C'est un atout ! », a-t-il martelé. Avec le « parti pris » de « non seulement promouvoir la recherche au meilleur niveau mondial mais aussi avoir la capacité de mener au plus haut niveau le plus grand nombre d'étudiants », y compris, et notamment à Villetaneuse, site de Paris XIII en Seine-Saint-Denis. « C'est une manière parmi d'autres de relancer la croissance et de lutter contre le chômage », a-t-il ajouté.
Ceci, en rapprochant universités, grandes écoles et organismes de recherche du projet, sans dissocier la recherche et la formation au sein de cette future USPC, « omni-disciplinaire » et organisée autour de quatre divisions : sciences exactes et de l'ingénieur, sciences de la vie et de la santé, humanités (arts, lettres, langues), sciences sociales et politiques publiques. L'ambition est de figurer à l'horizon 2020 parmi les 10 premières universités européennes et les 30 meilleures mondiales.
Une allocation de 1,3 milliards d'euros
Pour la formation, l'Idex a voulu porter une « attention spécifique » aux premiers cycles, avec d'une part, pour lutter contre le taux d'échec, une année de propédeutique, et d'autre part, la construction de double ou triple cursus. Des propositions d'expérimentations pour réformer les études de médecine sont également prévues.
En matière de recherche, l'UPSC -qui compte déjà 10 laboratoires d'excellence, 3 équipements d'excellence, l'Institut hospitalo-universitaire (IHU) Imagine, un IHU prometteur et 3 cohortes -affectera une partie des financements de l'Idex à des appels à projets internes. Et vise en 2016 plus de 50% de ses équipes évaluées A+ (contre 28% aujourd'hui).
Ce mastodonte a demandé une allocation d'1,3 milliard d'euros, ce qui lui rapporterait environ 45 millions d'euros par an. Une somme que l'UPSC prévoit de compléter via ses fondateurs, les entreprises et les collectivités afin d'atteindre, à quatre ans, un budget annuel de 140 millions d'euros. Les trois premiers Idex ont vu leur dotation inférieure à leur demande initiale. A Sorbonne Paris Cité, on considère notamment la taille du projet et l'enjeu de la réforme des premiers cycles, comme des arguments de poids.
Les EchosVed Isabelle Ficek. Næste Great verdensklasse campus Sorbonne Paris City vil have 120.000 studerende og 6.000 videnskabelige medarbejdere og forskere, på tre campusser i Paris og Seine-Saint-Denis.
En lussing gavnlig.
Som Saclay, udkast-Sorbonne Paris City, der samler de universiteterne i Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris V Descartes, Diderot Paris VII, Paris XII, Sciences Po Paris, Langues'O, Institut for Jordens fysik i Paris og School of Advanced Studies i Folkesundhed - havde dumpet ved den foreløbige udvælgelse af den første bølge af indkaldelsen af projektet ekspertise initiativ (IDEX), den fremtidige store campus i verden. Hvad rework projektet betydeligt. IDEX nu mærket. Mere...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:36 - - Permalien [#]