Scientists in Russia are objecting to the addition of a theology department at the National Research Nuclear University, in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported. Many researchers see the move as inappropriate at a secular university and inconsistent with the focus on science at the institution. Leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, however, say that the administration thought of the idea of adding the department, and that it will offer a wide range of programs.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is objecting to league-wide caps on the numbers of international students permitted to play on intercollegiate sports teams.
"The CCLA opposes unfair discrimination against non-citizens in all areas of law," Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the organization, said in a press release posted on the Canada News Wire website. "We are particularly concerned because later this week, the [Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association] will be considering a motion to extend this discriminatory measure and further limit the participation of international students in collegiate varsity sports.”
As the Windsor Starreported, there are currently caps on the numbers of international students on basketball, soccer and volleyball teams, and the athletic association is set to take up a measure that would expand those quotas to cover badminton, cross-country running, curling and golf at its conference this week. The caps are seen as inhibiting the recruitment of international students but Sandra Murray-MacDonell, the executive director of the athletic association, said they are necessary to ensure a fair playing field.
A new analysis of the state of public funding of universities from the European University Association warns of a widening resource gap across the continent. For the 17 higher education systems for which data were available, nine (Austria, Belgium’s French-speaking Community, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Sweden) experienced an increase in funding from 2012 to 13, and eight (Croatia, England and Wales, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovakia) experienced cuts. The most severe cuts were in Greece (25 percent) and Hungary (19 percent). As the EUA report states, “This is all the more critical as both countries face a general downward trend over the period 2009-2013, with the difference (not adjusted for inflation) between those reference years amounting to about -46% in Greece and about -31% in Hungary.”
The report also isolates the role of inflation in either accentuating or mitigating the effect of higher education cuts or spending increases over the past five years. When adjusted for inflation, seven of 20 systems (Austria, Belgium’s French-speaking Community, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden) have a higher funding level in 2012 compared to 2008, and 13 systems (Croatia, Czech Republic, England and Wales, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain) have a lower funding level.
New Russian law requiring NGOs to register as "foreign agents" if they receive funding from foreign sources and are engaged in "political activity" threatens closure of an independent polling agency and raises concerns about climate for scholarly collaborations.
An increasing number of Chinese students intending to study abroad are forgoing the national college entrance exam, the gaokao, entirely, according to Chinese and international media. In Beijing, 72,736 students registered for this past weekend’s administration of the gaokao, a decline from 126,000 in 2006, China Dailyreported. The Guardian also reported that an increasing number of Chinese students are taking the British A-levels in lieu of the gaokao.
At the same time, a number of universities in Australia have begun accepting gaokao scores in undergraduate admissions.
The University of Leipzig has started to refer to both male and female professors as "Professorin," ending the use of gender-specific words -- "Professorin" for women and "Professor" for men -- The Local reported. The German language has male and female forms for many words, and the move to use a single word (and the traditional female form at that) has prompted considerable discussion. Der Spiegel quoted Bernd-Rüdiger Kern, a law professor, as saying that that the move reflects "a feminism which does language no good and doesn't achieve anything concrete."
The website Deutsche Welle ran an interview with Luise Pusch, a leader of feminist linguistics, in which she praised the decision. "It is definitely a step forward and not only for the University of Leipzig, but for the whole country. The decision is being talked about and that gets people thinking. Every opportunity to think about our male-dominated language is good for the language as a whole, because the German language is very biased," she said.
An article in The New York Times’s China edition explores the vast scope of Chinese commercial espionage following the arrest of three New York University researchers who are accused of accepting bribes to share secret research findings with Chinese government and industry entities. (The researchers were studying magnetic-resonance imaging technology on a National Institutes of Health-funded grant.) The article quotes a May report from The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, which states, “National industrial policy goals in China encourage IP theft, and an extraordinary number of Chinese in business and government entities are engaged in this practice.” The article also quotes China’s Commerce Ministry, which denies being weak on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.
After three separate criminal incidents involving students from Saudi Arabia, Missouri State University is considering adding a police presentation to its international student orientation, The Springfield News-Leaderreported. Two Saudi students at Missouri State are charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman this weekend and are being held on $1 million bond. In March, another Saudi student at the university was charged with domestic assault; in January, one was sentenced to 120 days in jail and four years' probation after hitting a pedestrian with his car.
“We are looking at whether there is something we can be doing to help prevent these instances,” Stephen Robinette, Missouri State’s associate vice president for international programs, told the newspaper. Robinette described all three incidents as serious but random, noting, “It is not just associated with Saudi students.”
Missouri State has experienced a rapid growth in its numbers of international students in recent years. According to the News-Leader, there were 1,426 international students enrolled in the fall. More than half these students (805) were Chinese; 244 students from Saudi Arabia made up the second-largest group.
The University of Salford, in England, has announced plans to eliminate its School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, Times Higher Educationreported. The university plans to cease recruiting students for all courses in modern languages and linguistics and politics and contemporary history – with the exception of postgraduate programs in security studies – after this year, leading to the eventual closure of the school. The university has pledged that all students currently enrolled and those who are entering this fall will be able to complete their programs.
A Salford spokesman told Times Higher Education that the “changes are as a result of changing demand within higher education and from employers. We are continuing to recruit strongly in our key areas of strength such as media, technology, science, engineering and health, but other areas are showing low levels of interest from applicants."
“The university remains strong and financially healthy with a projected surplus for this year, and these changes are about ensuring that we can use our resources to benefit students in areas that are in demand with employers," the spokesman said.