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Quick Takes: Focus Urged for International Education, Secretary of Education (Abroad), Penn's Massive Urban Renewal Project, North Dakota Power Struggle, Pagan Equity at St. Andrews

June 19, 2006
  • The United States faces increased competition abroad in attracting the best foreign students and needs a more focused national strategy to attract the best and brightest from other countries, according to "Restoring U.S. Competitiveness for International Students and Scholars." The report, being released today by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, notes the many statements of support by Bush administration officials and recent improvements in visa policies, but argues that much more needs to be done.
  • In less than a year and a half in office, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has gone on official trips to Afghanistan, Britain, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan and Russia, at a cost to the Education Department (and taxpayers) of just under $37,000, the Associated Press reported. Aides to Spellings defended the trips, saying that they allowed her to monitor educational progress abroad at a time of increasing concerns over international competitiveness. Later this month, Spellings travels to Greece and Spain.
  • The University of Pennsylvania last week approved a 20-year, $1.94 billion project to develop land -- for new businesses, homes and other uses -- recently purchased near the campus, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The urban renewal effort is expected to to significantly expanded central Philaldelphia's core.
  • Robert Potts, chancellor of North Dakota's higher education system, is threatening to quit unless the state's Board of Higher Education makes it clear that he is in charge of the system, the AP reported. Potts told board members last week that Joseph Chapman, president of North Dakota State University, "thumbs his nose at me." Chapman told the AP that he was "totally caught off guard" by the remarks.
  • To the distress of some traditionalists, the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, has given official recognition to a Pagan student group and will provide space on campus for student members to perform various rituals, The Times of London reported. However, the Pagans were barred from performing any incantations or spells that might be viewed as harmful to others at St. Andrews.
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