international

National Women's Studies Association joins Israel boycott movement

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The National Women's Studies Association becomes the latest scholarly group to join the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

U of Melbourne Criticized for Buildings Named for Racists

American colleges are not the only ones facing criticism for buildings named for people who advocated racist ideas and policies. The Age reported that students and others at the University of Melbourne have identified five buildings named for early professors at the institution. These professors advocated the killing of Aboriginal Australians, sterilizing them and taking away their children, among other policies. The university has said that it is studying how to better serve Aboriginals and deal with Australia's past history of discriminating against them.

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'Brain Boomerang' for Chinese Science

Increasing numbers of young Chinese scientists intend to study outside their home country, but to return within five years, according to a survey that is part of Nature Publishing Group's new paper, "Turning Point: Chinese Science in Transition." The paper sees much more confidence of young Chinese researchers in the development of science in China. But many believe that China must do much more in terms of funding basic research and being willing to support studies that may be risky and not have clear paths to commercial success.

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Korean Professors Charged in Publishing Scandal

Authorities in South Korea plan to indict about 200 professors in a scheme in which they are alleged to have republished other people's textbooks by simply putting a new cover and their names on the work of other scholars, The Korea Herald reported. Many of the professors have already admitted to these copyright violations, and they could face dismissal from their universities. Publishers are alleged to have looked the other way or even encouraged the practice.

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'Education at a Glance' Published

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s annual “Education at a Glance” report, an encyclopedic collection of education-related statistics across 46 countries, is being published today. The report includes statistics for the 34 countries that belong to the OECD -- whose membership is heavily tilted toward Western Europe and North America -- as well as for Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

Among the findings, the U.S. ranked fifth among the 34 OECD countries in terms of higher education attainment rates.

Unemployment rates for Americans varied according to level of education -- ranging from 3.7 percent for those who have completed higher education to 10.6 percent for those without a high school diploma. All rates were below the OECD averages -- a contrast to 2010, when the U.S. had above-average unemployment rates in all categories.

Adults in the U.S. with a higher education degree earn 76 percent more than their counterparts with just a high school diploma, a statistic that exceeds the average wage premium across OECD countries (60 percent) by a considerable amount. American students with master’s and doctoral degrees earn 143 percent more than their counterparts with just a high school diploma.

In terms of higher education characteristics, the report notes that American higher education has comparatively high rates of part-time study. The number of graduates from U.S. science and engineering programs lags OECD averages: for example, 17 percent of all bachelor’s degree recipients in the U.S. have studied science or engineering, compared to a 22 percent average across OECD countries.

The U.S. remains the leading destination for international students, hosting 19 percent of all international students in 2013.

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Middle East Studies Group Issues Statement on Discrimination

DENVER -- The board of the Middle East Studies Association issued a statement on Monday condemning “the increasing frequency and intensity of violent acts against civilians taking place in countries around the world” and expressing alarm “at the related rise in the stereotyping and vilification of people of Middle East or Muslim background.”

"We urge, therefore, those with responsibility for United States policy in the Middle East and the Islamic world to avail themselves of the insights of scholarship as they seek to understand the background of these violent acts and to frame responses to them," the statement says.

The full statement, issued during the association’s annual business meeting, is available here. MESA members did not introduce any other new business at that meeting.

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Anthropologists overwhelmingly vote to boycott Israeli universities

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Anthropology professors vote overwhelmingly to back boycott of Israeli universities. Issue now goes to their association membership.

Debate on Yoga and 'Cultural Appropriation' at Ottawa

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa was facing considerable criticism this weekend after The Ottawa Sun reported that the organization called off free yoga classes because of fear that yoga is a form of "cultural appropriation." An email from an official with the federation's center for students with disabilities to the yoga instructor who was told she was not needed this semester said that "yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced," and which cultures those practices "are being taken from." The email added that because those cultures "have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and Western supremacy … we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practicing yoga."

Two vice presidents of the federation, reached by Inside Higher Ed Sunday evening, said the issue of cultural appropriation was one of several factors at play in putting yoga "on hold" this semester, and that it could return next semester, after a review of all of the issues, including but not limited to cultural appropriation.

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American U of Beirut Will Restore Tenure System

American University of Beirut announced Friday that it is restoring a tenure system for faculty members. The university suspended the use of tenure in 1985, at the height of the Lebanese Civil War, when Malcolm Kerr, president of AUB, was assassinated and many feared for the university's future. Tenure is being restored based on a vote of the Faculty Senate and of the university board. Faculty committees will now develop systems for tenure reviews -- both for new faculty members and those who have been working as faculty members at the university without tenure.

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Why scholars in Britain hired a comedian to help the public engage with their research

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For public engagement with scholars, of course. And researchers have employed a comedian to help them reach out to a wider public.

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