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Recent abductions highlight risks facing AU Afghanistan

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Kidnapping of two faculty members at the American University of Afghanistan renews attention on the risks confronting universities in conflict zones.

Texas Tech to Open Costa Rica Campus

Texas Tech University announced plans Thursday to open a branch campus in San José, Costa Rica, in partnership with the Promerica Group, a conglomerate of financial companies located in Central and South America. The campus is scheduled to open in spring 2018 upon approval by the university’s accreditor. Initial degree offerings will include B.S. degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mathematics, and restaurant, hotel and institutional management, as well as two certificate programs: an undergraduate certificate in restaurant, hotel and institutional management and a graduate certificate in essentials of business.

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Consulting group identifies global 'challenger' universities

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Analysis seeks to identify universities that will challenge the global status quo in higher education.

Scam Could Cost U Washington Chinese Students $1M

A scam may have cost 90 Chinese students at the University of Washington up to $1 million, The Seattle Times reported. University police officials said a student from China spread word on a Chinese social media website that students could save about $600 on tuition for the summer by paying their tuition bill through an intermediary. Students paid but the money did not go to the university and now the students must pay again. Some students may have been duped into spreading word about the alleged discount without knowing that it was fake.

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American U of Afghanistan Confirms Abductions

The American University of Afghanistan this morning confirmed that two of its faculty members were abducted on Sunday. The university had not previously commented on the news reports about the abductions. The university was closed Monday and today. A statement from the university said it planned to resume normal operations Wednesday. University leaders worked after the abductions "to review the security situation and to put in place additional precautionary measures," the statement said. No details were provided about those who were abducted, although press reports have indicated that one is an American and the other is an Australian.

The university is unique in Afghanistan, offering a private, American-style, coeducational college program.

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State Department Suspends Teaching Program in Turkey

The U.S. State Department, citing the current unrest in Turkey, has suspended the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, which sends Americans to teach English in Turkey, The New York Times reported. Fulbright research grants have not been impacted. However, prior to the recent coup attempt and crackdown on civil liberties in Turkey, participants in the State Department's Critical Language Scholarship Program were told that their work in Turkey would be moved to Azerbaijan.

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2 Professors at American U Afghanistan Abducted

ABC News and The Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that armed gunmen on Sunday abducted two professors who teach at the American University of Afghanistan. One of the professors is reported to be an American and the other an Australian. Reportedly they were seized just outside the campus by gunmen dressed in uniforms of the Afghan security forces. Few details are available, but the ABC News report said the abductions had been confirmed by the police chief in Kabul.

The university -- Afghanistan's only private, nonprofit institution -- offers American-style liberal arts and professional programs, enrolling men and women.

The campus of the university is heavily guarded. In 2014, a Taliban attack on a restaurant in Kabul killed a political scientist and a student affairs officer at the university.

More information about the university may be found here.

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New Concerns on Faculty Rights at U Hong Kong

Leaders of the University of Hong Kong are proposing changes in the way faculty members are hired, and those plans have set off concerns about faculty rights at the university, The South China Morning Post reported. Among the changes proposed is that faculty committees, which currently oversee hiring, would have their role changed to advisory. In additionally, faculty panels would lose the right to appoint assistant professors.

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Third Canadian University Accredited in U.S.

Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, has become the third Canadian university to be accredited by an American accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Officials went through a seven-year process for Simon Fraser to become accredited. They said that they believed the move would enhance the university's reputation and allow its athletics program to participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Other Canadian universities accredited by American accreditors are Athabasca University and  Capilano University. (This item has been updated to reflect the correct number of Canadian universities with this status.)

Study finds growth of Chinese higher education hasn't reduced inequality

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The “massification” of higher education hasn’t decreased the importance of family background, analysis finds.

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