Number of International Branch Campuses Hits 250

About 180,000 students worldwide are enrolled in international branch campuses, according to highlights released from a forthcoming report by the Observatory on Borderless Education and the Cross-Border Education Research Team (C-BERT) at the State University of New York at Albany. Steady growth in new campuses has continued: a total of 66 international branch campuses were founded from 2011 to 2015, compared to 67 between 2006 and 2010. There were about 250 total international branch campuses at the end of 2015.

China is the main host country for branch campuses, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia and Qatar, which collectively are home to 100 international branch campuses. The top five home countries -- the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and Australia -- account for 180 of the campuses.

The full report is scheduled to be presented next month at an Observatory event in Malaysia.

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Canada Seeks Gender Equity in Endowed Chair Effort

One of Canada's major initiatives in higher education in recent years has been the Canada Excellence Research Chairs, in which universities compete for 10 million Canadian dollars (about $7.6 million U.S.) in funding over seven years for leading researchers to build up various programs. The program has been criticized because, since its founding in 2008, only one of the 27 chairs has gone to a woman.

This week, Canada announced a new round of funding for 11 new chairs. And the announcement stipulated a new requirement: "The new competition will require institutions to include detailed equity plans and recruitment strategies that promote the participation of women and other underrepresented groups in the CERC program."

The press release announcing the program said that "the government also believes that equity and excellence in the sciences are not mutually exclusive. When all people, regardless of gender, race, age and ability, are welcomed into the lab, they can work together to create breakthroughs that will help Canada seize new opportunities and respond to grand, global challenges."

Researcher looks at exploitation of academics at Bangladesh's private universities


Researcher explores the exploitation of academics at the country’s private universities.

College Chain From India Expanding Into U.S.

A large private college chain in India is expanding into the U.S., having purchased a campus in New York and proposed to buy two more, the Associated Press reported. But Amity University’s proposal to buy a for-profit art college near Boston has run into opposition from Massachusetts’s attorney general, who is asking the state’s Board of Higher Education to block the sale.

“We are very, very skeptical about this,” Attorney General Maura Healey is quoted as saying. “It's hard to imagine that this outfit from overseas, which has never done any education work here in this country, is well suited to provide any kind of education to these students.”

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Australian National U Will Cut Share of Students From China

Australian National University is trying to reduce its proportion of Chinese international students as part of a “diversification strategy” launched in 2015, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

More than 60 percent of the university’s new international undergraduates in fall 2016 are from China. The strategy seeks to increase enrollments from other countries including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

An administrator at the university told the newspaper the main motivation is to create a more diverse student body. Anne Baly, the university’s international director, said that heavy reliance on students from a single country "in itself is not a great business model, but I think that the driver behind this is about diversity. It's not like we're moving away from recruiting students from China. They are overwhelmingly great students to have."

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Non-British Experts Told They Can't Advise on Brexit

The London School of Economics and Political Science said some of its professors have been told they can’t advise the Foreign Office on Britain's departure from the European Union because they are not British, the BBC reported.

The university said the leader of a project had been told that only holders of U.K. passports should participate in talks on national security and foreign trade.

The Foreign Office denied that anything had changed, saying it would “continue to take advice from the best and brightest minds, regardless of nationality.”

LSE issued the following statement on the matter: “We believe our academics, including non-U.K. nationals, have hugely valuable expertise, which will be vital in this time of uncertainty around the U.K.'s relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.

“Any changes to security measures are a matter for the U.K. government.”

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No More Foreign Students for College Where Former Chief Admitted to Visa Fraud

A California college where the former CEO pleaded guilty to visa fraud in 2015 will no longer be able to enroll international students, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement announced Thursday.

Herguan University is no longer able to issue the required immigration-related paperwork to new international students, but will retain access to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System until Jan. 11. Current international students at Herguan have until that date to seek transfer to another SEVP-certified institution, change their visa status or depart the United States.

An ICE official said that Herguan currently has about 240 international students, including almost 180 from India.

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U of Lethbridge Suspends Alleged Holocaust Denier

A university in Alberta, Canada, has suspended without pay a professor accused of denying the Holocaust following scrutiny of an anti-Semitic post made by a third party on his Facebook page, CBC reported. The University of Lethbridge has “reassigned” the classes of Anthony Hall, who says he is a victim of a smear campaign.

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European Universities 'Feeling the Heat' on Funding

The majority of university systems in Europe are under growing funding pressure, a new "Public Funding Observatory" report from the European University Association finds.

Public funding to universities declined in 13 systems across Europe between 2008 and 2015. Seven of those systems also saw an increase in the number of students over that time.

And while public funding increased for 11 higher education systems in Europe, in seven of those systems enrollments rose faster than public funding.

Norway and Sweden are, the report states, the two front runners, in that they increased public funding at a higher rate than student growth, while Poland and Portugal also have positive funding trends but from a relatively low base in terms of percentage of gross domestic product invested in education.

“This data proves that almost all of Europe's higher education systems are feeling the heat,” Thomas Estermann, EUA’s director of governance, funding and public policy development, said in a press release. “The Public Funding Observatory also demonstrates widening funding gaps between national systems, translating into a huge challenge to the creation of unified European Higher Education and Research Areas.”

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Ex-Students at Singapore Branch Campus Sue NYU

A lawsuit filed last month in federal court by former students at a shuttered New York University branch campus in Singapore alleges that the university defrauded them by falsely representing that its graduate arts campus in Asia was the academic equivalent of its Tisch School of the Arts in New York.

The complaint faults NYU for billing the two programs as identical when, the complaint alleges, “Tisch Asia was a subpar program in practically every aspect, from the quality of faculty, facilities and equipment to exclusion of Tisch Asia students from grants, competitions and networking opportunities available to students at Tisch New York.”

The complaint by the three former students claims that the only way Tisch Asia lived up to the New York campus was in the cost of tuition.

The complaint, filed Sept. 20 as a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, also accuses the university of falsely representing that “Tisch Asia would be a long-lasting program.” NYU announced plans to close its Singapore campus, opened in fall 2007, in fall 2012, citing at the time “significant financial challenges that have required increasingly unsustainable subsidies totaling millions of dollars per year.”

An NYU spokesman, John Beckman, responded to the lawsuit in a written statement. “The students at Tisch Asia had the same curriculum as Tisch uses in New York; many Tisch Asia courses were taught by New York-based faculty and all were taught by highly qualified faculty; students had excellent facilities and equipment; and, notably, graduates received a Tisch School of the Arts degree. It was a robust, graduate-level program in the arts, and artistically the school was a success, with a number of students winning prestigious student film awards. It did not work financially and operated at a steep deficit precisely because NYU was providing the students with an excellent education that cost more than tuition dollars brought in. And even after the unsustainability of the finances became clear, NYU continued to honor its commitment to the students it had admitted by keeping the school open until each and every one had had a chance to graduate. This suit is wholly without merit, and we expect to prevail in court.”

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