international

McGill Announces New Protest Rules

McGill University, following a five-day sit-in in an administration building, announced new rules on where protests would and would not be tolerated, Maclean's reported. In the future, the administration announced, "occupations of private offices or spaces, classrooms, laboratories or libraries, or other restricted areas will not be tolerated. If any type of occupation occurs and the occupiers refuse to leave when requested to do so, civil authorities will be called." In the case of the most recent protest, the university waited five days to do that, but opted for steadily escalating pressure, including blocking wireless Internet and -- toward the end of the protest -- blocking access to the bathrooms.

 

Questions About an Albanian Campus and SUNY Degrees

The University of New York, Tirana promises an American-style education and offers a path to an American degree. But does the Albanian university -- locally called "New York University-Tirana" even though it has no ties to NYU -- really provide an American-style education? Those are questions raised in an article in The New York Times that focuses on the institution's arrangement with Empire State College of the State University of New York. For an extra $100 per credit for the first three years, and an extra $5,000 the fourth year, students can obtain an Empire State degree. The article says that the photograph of a library on the university's brochure was taken elsewhere, that most faculty members are locally hired without input from SUNY, and that only 3 of the 15 courses identified as being from Empire State are taught by instructors with doctorates. "SUNY’s influence seemed more like a label than an active presence," the article said.

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China Sees Growth of Private Colleges

China has seen a surge in private colleges in recent years, with hundreds of new institutions created in the last 15 years, The Washington Post reported. Many of the institutions are seen as second choices for those who can't win a spot at a public university, and they charge double the tuition of public institutions, but so many students want a higher education that these institutions continue to attract enrollments.

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Dickinson State Faces Report on Bogus Degrees, Suicide

A state audit released Friday revealed that Dickinson State University, in North Dakota, had awarded hundreds of degrees to Chinese students who did not complete required coursework and who in some cases may not have been able to do so, The Forum reported. The report described a campus that was so focused on attracting students that it cut corners to build its international enrollments. When the audit is shared with various authorities, Dickinson could face sanctions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (over visa issues), from the state (over enrollment figures) and from accreditors (over failure to assure educational quality). At a news briefing Friday, officials said that there was no one person or office responsible for the problems, but rather a series of inappropriate decisions involving the multicultural affairs, admissions and academic records offices, as well as a number of academic departments.

Briefings on campus about the audit were interrupted by reports that a university official, with a weapon, was missing. Later, Doug LaPlante, dean of the College of Education, Business and Applied Sciences, was found dead from a self-inflicted gun wound. The audit did not mention LaPlante by name, but officials said that many of the students who were awarded degrees inappropriately had been enrolled in the college he led.

No disciplinary actions were announced against anyone involved in the scandal, but officials told The Forum that Jon Brudvig had resigned as vice president for academic affairs, but would continue in another position.

The institution has been under scrutiny for months, starting with reports in August that it had listed about 180 people as enrolled who never were enrolled.

American Student Reportedly Arrested in Egypt

An American student at the American University in Cairo was arrested Friday and charged with fomenting dissent, the Associated Press reported. University officials said that they had no information about the arrest, which came amid a series of arrests of Americans working for nongovernmental organizations that promote democracy. Students at the university -- and students at many other universities in Cairo -- have been calling for a general strike this week to protest the continued control of the government by the military, a year after Hosni Mubarak's ouster.

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How Soviet migration impacted the field of mathematics

Boris Yeltsin might not have served on any tenure committees, but he may have affected the productivity and careers of American mathematicians, study finds.

European countries plan cuts to higher education

Spain, Italy and Ireland are among the countries planning significant cuts in higher education budgets.

Essay on issues facing academics working in the Middle East

Western academics can find good positions and plenty of the comforts they crave (with a better standard of living) far from home, writes William Roden.

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Single-Sex Courses at Houston CC in Qatar

Houston Community College's efforts to help create a community college in Qatar have faced numerous obstacles, including the requirement that courses be taught separately to men and women (contrary to the contract signed between the college and Qatar), The Houston Chronicle reported. Most Western colleges and universities operating branches elsewhere have stressed that they would abide by the same commitments to equity that they use on their main campuses. The new college has also faced accreditation difficulties, high faculty turnover and other problems, the article said. One administrator there wrote to Houston Community College leaders that the CCQ acronym of Community College of Qatar (as the project is known) had come to stand for "Crazy College of Qatar." Senior administrators and press officials of Houston Community College did not respond to e-mail messages seeking comment.

Oxford Debates Proposed Honor for Thatcher

Some faculty members at the University of Oxford are objecting to a plan to name a new business school building for Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister, The Telegraph reported. The donor for the building has indicated that he wants the facility to honor Thatcher, but some professors are threatening to force a full faculty vote to block the name. Thatcher did not fare well in a previous vote by the full faculty -- in 1985 -- to reject a proposal to give her an honorary degree.

 

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