Scottish universities start to embrace three-year undergraduate degrees

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Scottish universities start to move toward three-year undergraduate degrees.

Study: Digital Learning Effective for Health Professions

A review of 108 studies has concluded that digital learning is likely to be as effective as traditional in-person education in undergraduate health professions education worldwide. The review was conducted by Imperial College London on behalf of the World Health Organization. The review's examination of digital learning included online learning and offline digital learning, such as that provided through CD-ROMs ot USB sticks.



Dutch universities fight publishers over open access

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Universities "unbending" on fee-free demand as talks with Elsevier resume.

Israeli Universities Oppose Government Admissions Plan

Israel's universities are objecting to a government plan to require that one in three students be admitted based only on their high school grades, and not on national admissions tests, Haaretz reported. University officials say that the tests are crucial, particularly in evaluating applicants in the sciences. One official told Haaretz: “If everyone wants to study the humanities that might be true, but in those departments there was never a problem getting accepted.”

New Analysis of Employment Outcomes for Ph.D.s in Canada

An analysis of where Canada’s Ph.D.-holders are employed finds that just 18.6 percent are employed as full-time university professors. The analysis from the Conference Board of Canada finds that nearly 40 percent of Ph.D.s are employed in higher education in some capacity, but many are in temporary or transitional positions. The other three-fifths are employed in diverse careers in industry, government and non-governmental organizations: “Indeed, employment in diverse, non-academic careers is the norm, not the exception, for Ph.D.s in Canada.”

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Canadian University Punishes Students Over 'Misogynistic' Facebook Group

Dalhousie University revealed Monday that it had suspended from clinical activities 13 male dentistry students involved in a Facebook group that joked about chloroforming female students to have sex with them, among other comments, The Globe and Mail reported. The students' behavior first drew attention last month, but at the time the Canadian university's president said the students would not be suspended but would be required to attend face-to-face mediation with the women they were accused of harassing.

Pressure has grown on university administrators to take tougher action against the male dentistry students. On Monday, President Richard Florizone said the university had suspended the men from clinical activities (but not from classes) in late December but delayed announcing the punishment because of "credible" risk that some of them might do themselves harm. The men are now on campus and have access to counseling, administrators said. The temporary clinical suspension will stay in place while an academic panel considers other penalties, The Globe and Mail reported. Four faculty members at Dalhousie initiated a complaint against the male students under the student code of conduct, demanding tougher punishment.

University Will Restore Degrees Revoked in Nazi Era

Wroclaw University, in Poland, is planning to restore degrees of Jews and others that were revoked during the Nazi era, The Telegraph reported. The university has identified more than 260 people whose degrees were inappropriately revoked. Relatives of the victims will attend a special ceremony in which the degrees will be restored.


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Australian government backs away from vow to audit 'ridiculous' research grants

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After campaign vow to crack down on "over the top" research studies and redirect funds to other areas, Australia's government shows no signs of intervening in grant-making decisions.

Is China Seeing Decline in Research Misconduct?

As China builds up its research infrastructure, one question asked in that country and elsewhere has been whether it can fight research misconduct that many report to be widespread. The National Natural Science Foundation of China reported last week that it is seeing fewer cases of research misconduct than in previous years, Nature reported. The agency received 206 misconduct allegations in 2014, including 66 cases flagged by plagiarism-detection software. Investigations confirmed 33 cases of misconduct, including falsification, fabrication and plagiarism, purchasing grant proposals and use of false personal information. Previous recent years have seen an average of 49 confirmed cases a year.

While scientists applaud the efforts now being made, some said that the problem is far greater than the numbers from the agency suggest. “The cases uncovered by NSFC are just the tip of the iceberg, given how rampant the problem is in China,” said Mu-ming Poo, director of the Institute of Neuroscience at the Chinese Academy of Science.

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Stockholm University to Close Confucius Institute

Stockholm University is the latest university to announce that it will close its Confucius Institute, one of hundreds of Chinese government-funded centers for Chinese language and cultural education that have been established at universities around the globe. The University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University have also recently closed their Confucius Institutes amid growing concerns about whether universities that host them are granting undue influence to the Chinese government in matters of curriculum and staffing.

Stockholm University’s vice chancellor, Astrid Söderbergh Widding, is quoted in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet as saying (in translation) that it is generally dubious, or questionable, to establish institutes within a university that are financed by another nation.

In a statement on its website, the university said that the institute will close on June 30. It was established in 2005.

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