17 novembre 2012

Education is a great British export industry

http://bathknightblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/telegraph-logo.jpgBy David Willetts. Britain's universities are world class and the launch of the new Council for the Defence of British Universities will help them remain so, says David Willetts. Our universities are world-class. Four UK universities are in the global top six. And it is not just our old, established institutions. Of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years old, 20 are British institutions – more than any other country. We have much to celebrate. Despite this record, I welcome the launch of the new Council for the Defence of British Universities. The group, assembled by Sir Keith Thomas, encompasses different political views, different institutional affiliations and different academic disciplines. Already it has drawn attention to the importance of academic autonomy and reminded us that universities are about more than economics. The simple act of bringing together so many luminaries emphasises the wonderful breadth and depth of our world-leading research community.
The new group will challenge the Coalition’s policies and I am sure we will have some robust debates. But to see the new Council as simply an attack on the government of the day misses the point. After all, the group includes people with a diverse range of views, from those who believe universities should be independent of government to those who believe they should be more reliant on the state. Moreover, the group is speaking eternal truths on issues like academic freedom and learning for its own sake that are as relevant to today as they were under the previous government and will be under future governments. I still remember the excitement of reading Hume and Kant for the first time as a student, as well as Hayek and Friedman. Future generations need those opportunities too. That’s why we’re maintaining the balance between funding for curiosity-driven research and research tackling particular challenges. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 18:19 - - Permalien [#]

Our universities have become factories

http://bathknightblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/telegraph-logo.jpgBy Gordon Campbell, Council for the Defence of British Universities. A coalition of leading academics and peers gathered last night to launch the Council for the Defence of British Universities. Founding committee member Gordon Campbell explains what is at stake.
For many years I have worked at one of the 40 or so universities that describe themselves as a top-20 university. And when I entered the profession, universities – though largely independent of government – were part of the education sector. We are now, in the eyes of government, nationalised businesses that exist to serve the economy. The Universities Minister now reports to the Business Secretary, not his counterpart in the Department for Education.  In that time, life has changed utterly for academics and students alike. The value of teaching has been downgraded without mercy, because it attracts no differential funding. When I arrived at my university, we taught our undergraduates in groups of two; the numbers have gradually increased, and now we teach them in groups of 13. This is an efficiency gain.
But despite these larger classes, which are typical of the sector, standards have risen steadily: when I started we gave a first every other year, and now we give a substantial number of firsts every year. As at other universities, we are urged to give still more firsts in order to be competitive. We also receive weekly injunctions to apply for grants that those of us in the humanities do not need – grants that will buy us out of teaching, which can be done by an increasingly casualised workforce. Our ability to procure grants is central to our survival as academics. In other words, the value of our research is assessed by the amount of taxpayers' money it has cost. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 18:15 - - Permalien [#]

Enterprising universities should not be scared of making mistakes

The Guardian homeEmbracing failure in management, learning and teaching allows for creative approaches to problem solving, says Nick Petford.
The year is 2025 and the following is an account of how the UK higher education sector fared following the 2012 fees rise, a period now referred to euphemistically as 'the era of continuous deferral': "Many universities were confronted with disturbing symptoms, which could not be remedied by available management techniques and which had no precedent in recent experience. For some universities the market demand began to level off and could not be restimulated even by the most energetic marketing and promotion. For others the demand began to decline in the face of substitute products offered by new technologies. Still others saw their traditional markets invaded by vigorous foreign competitors."
Believable? I think so. Yet these words were actually written four decades ago to describe the situation faced by big US corporates (coal, motor, steel) in the face of unprecedented competition from overseas. All I did was substitute 'university' for 'firm', a heresy sure to lose some readers – but stay with me. The author was Igor Ansoff, ex-vice president at the RAND corporation, maths graduate and distinguished business school academic. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:35 - - Permalien [#]

Graduate view: 'we are not customers'

The Guardian homeUniversities should be challenging their students to become collaborative learners rather than conformist consumers. As two recent university graduates we are concerned about the labelling of students as customers who need to be kept satisfied. We believe that positioning students in this way in relation to their learning is deeply damaging to all our futures. Entering the next stage in our lives, at a time of uncertainty and rapid change, we need to be able to be proactive, think for ourselves, take a critical approach to problem solving, communicate effectively with a range of people and use our knowledge creatively.
If we are seen, and come to see ourselves, as customers who respond and react to what is given to us, who are asked if we like our courses (not what we gain from them), then we are unlikely to emerge from higher education as effective lifelong learners. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:33 - - Permalien [#]

Student recruitment strategy: four universities, five key questions

The Guardian homeTo send the right messages out requires asking the right internal questions – Frederika Whitehead hears from universities in Canada, the US, Denmark and Hong Kong.
The key to a successful student recruitment strategy is thinking about "what you communicate, to whom, and how," according to Richard Levin, executive director of enrolment services and university registration at the University of Toronto in Canada. "Messages must be consistent and clear and authentic," he says. A university that asks itself the right questions is more likely to provide answers that students want to hear...
To whom
Dean Schmill, dean of admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says his university puts almost all of its energy into creating "a website that offers an accurate picture of what our university is like and what it would be like to study here". The main feature of MITadmissions.org is its weblogs, personal accounts of the institution made by students which are left unedited by staff. "It's important for us to have that honesty," says Schmill. "It is more credible to prospective students because it is not always positive."
Thinking about why you want to recruit is also important when designing your strategy, advises Ulla Gjørling, international director at Aarhus University in Denmark. "Our primary goal concerning recruitment, and also one of our core missions, is talent development," says Gjørling, who sees any potential recruit as a potential long-term partner for the university...
Potential for future collaboration is also first and foremost in the minds of applicants to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Applications to HKUST rose by 54% last year, applications from mainland China by 53% and from some Chinese provinces by as much as 75%. In fact, half of all HKUST's mainland China applications came from just four regions: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Liaoning. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:27 - - Permalien [#]

World University Rankings - Time for a Name Change?

HomeBy Kris Olds. I've often wondered if the term 'World University Rankings' -- the one deployed by the firm QS in its QS World University Rankings®, or TSL Education Ltd along with Thomson Reuters, in their Times Higher Education World University Rankings, is an accurate and indeed ethical one to use.
My concern over the term was heightened during visit to Jamaica last week where I attended the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Conference of Executive Heads. I was invited by the ACU, the world's oldest international consortia with 500+ member institutions in 37 countries, to engage in a debate about rankings with Ms. Zia Batool (Director General, Quality Assurance and Statistics, Higher Education Commission, Pakistan) and Mr. Phil Baty (Editor, Times Higher Education). Link here for a copy of the conference agenda. The event was very well organized, and Professor Nigel Harris, Chair of the ACU Council and Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, was a wonderful host.
My concern about the term 'World University Rankings' relates to the very small number of universities that are ranked relative to the total number of universities around the world that have combined research and teaching mandates. World University Rankings is a term that implies there is a unified field of universities that can be legitimately compared and ranked in an ordinal hierarchical fashion on the basis of some common metrics. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:18 - - Permalien [#]

Conservatives and the Higher Ed 'Bubble'

HomeBy Jonathan Marks. Conservatives once proudly stood, in William F. Buckley’s words, “athwart history, yelling Stop.” This posture led them to befriend defenders of liberal education like Allan Bloom, author of Closing of the American Mind (Simon & Schuster, 1987).
Conservatives once proudly stood, in William F. Buckley’s words, “athwart history, yelling Stop.” This posture led them to befriend defenders of liberal education like Allan Bloom, author of Closing of the American Mind (Simon & Schuster, 1987).

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/11/15/conservative-focus-higher-ed-bubble-undermines-liberal-education-essay#ixzz2CUsmOM8m
Inside Higher Ed
Admittedly, Bloom announced in a 1988 lecture at Harvard that he was “not a conservative.” The liberal education Bloom defended initiates students into a “quest for truth,” but Bloom didn’t think that “man is, or can be, in possession of absolutes.” That Socratic stance, in tension with discipleship of every kind, may have troubled Buckley’s “disciples of Truth, who defend the organic moral order.” But both the quest for unknown truths and the defense of known but unpopular truths required a stand against relativism, and for the university as a haven for reflecting on enduring problems. Conservatives and defenders of liberal education alike wanted the university to challenge, not merely reflect, the society that sheltered it. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:12 - - Permalien [#]

Elite Online Courses for Cash and Credit

HomeBy Steve Kolowich. A consortium of 10 top-tier universities will soon offer fully online, credit-bearing undergraduate courses through a partnership with 2U, a company that facilitates online learning.
Any students enrolled at an “undergraduate experience anywhere in the world” will be eligible to take the courses, according to Chip Paucek, the CEO of 2U, which until recently was called 2tor. The first courses are slated to make their debut in the fall.
After a year in which the top universities in the world have clambered to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) for no credit, this new project marks yet another turning point in online education. It is the first known example of top universities offering fully online, credit-bearing courses to undergraduates who are not actually enrolled at the institutions that are offering them. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:07 - - Permalien [#]

China Continues to Drive Foreign-Student Growth in the United States

http://chronicle.com/img/subscribe_11_2011.jpgBy Beth McMurtrie. The story, once again, is China. Thousands of mainland Chinese students in pursuit of an American education helped drive up international enrollments at colleges across the United States last fall, according to the latest "Open Doors" report from the Institute of International Education. Double-digit growth from China, primarily at the undergraduate level, along with a steady uptick in Saudi Arabian students are largely responsible for the increase in international enrollments to 764,495, a 5.7-percent rise over the year before.
These drivers are so significant that for the first time in 11 years there are more international undergraduate than graduate students in the United States.
"That's likely to be a game changer," says Allan E. Goodman, the institute's president. Undergraduates not only stay longer, he noted, but have more impact on campus culture, both inside the classroom and out. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 16:11 - - Permalien [#]

Immigration Debates in Several Countries Heighten Scrutiny of International Students Worldwide

http://chronicle.com/img/subscribe_11_2011.jpgBy Aisha Labi. Immigration moved to the forefront of the political discussion in more than one country over the past year, increasing public attention on international students in destinations that include Britain, Canada, and Australia.
Britain, which attracts more overseas students than any country but the United States, set a largely negative tone. Its coalition government has pledged to reduce the number of immigrants, and, despite intense lobbying by universities, has chosen to include students in those figures.
The British government's recent elimination of the so-called work entitlement for foreign students at private institutions, in a bid to eliminate abuses by universities that primarily enrolled students whose main goal was to work illegally, has had an impact on legitimate institutions as well. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 16:09 - - Permalien [#]