Thai Authorities, After Coup, Crack Down on Professors

The new Thai government, which took over in a military coup last week, on Saturday ordered about two dozen professors and writers to turn themselves in to military authorities, The New York Times reported. Those who were on the list were generally public supporters of holding new elections.

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Bible College President Accused of Forcing Foreign Students to Work

The president of Cathedral Bible College, in South Carolina, was arrested on forced labor charges after international students complained that Reginald Wayne Miller forced them to work for little to no wages under threat of having their visa status terminated, the Marion, S.C.-based Star & Enterprise reported.  Students interviewed by Department of Homeland Security investigators reported that the college’s classes “were not real and they are set around a work schedule, which is set by Miller,” and that living conditions were substandard.

The Myrtle Beach-based The Sun News reported that bond for Miller has been set at $250,000. 

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Opposition grows to Australian plan on university fees and loans

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Opposition grows from institutions and students to government's plan to uncap university tuitions and impose interest rates on student loans.

New book on STEM workforce needs and international competitiveness finds no evidence of crisis

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A new book challenges the conventional notion that the U.S. is producing too few science and engineering graduates to meet its workforce needs and remain globally competitive. 

Japan’s Kinki U. to Change Name, Because, Well...

Japan’s Kinki University is changing its name to Kindai University so as to stave off chuckles on the part of English-speakers, the Japan Times reported. “We aim to get more foreign students coming here, so we’ve decided to change our English name to ensure there is no misunderstanding,” a university spokesman said.

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Does Paris have too many institutions with the Sorbonne name?

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The venerable term is now used by three universities and three institutional clusters in Paris.

Apollo Enters Africa

Apollo Education Group is expanding into Africa. The for-profit education company, which owns the University of Phoenix, announced on Tuesday that its wholly owned subsidiary, Apollo Global, had purchased an 81 percent interest in a private South African higher education provider, Milpark Education, for $25.6 million. Apollo Global’s network also includes institutions in Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Grim Conditions for Construction Workers at NYU Abu Dhabi

Migrant workers involved in the construction of New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus faced harsh conditions, The New York Times reported

In interviews with dozens of workers, the newspaper found that conditions were “starkly different” from those articulated in the university’s “statement of labor values," with the migrant workers reporting that they had to pay fees to recruitment agencies of up to a year’s wages (and had never been reimbursed, contrary to NYU’s stated policies), that they worked 11- to 12-hour days, six to seven days a week, and that they were not permitted to hold on to their own passports.

Some workers lived in squalid conditions, 15 men to a room, rather than the prescribed maximum of four. Workers involved in the NYU campus construction who went on strike against their employer, the BK Gulf corporation, reported being beaten by police, jailed and deported.

NYU officials told the newspaper that they could not vouch for the treatment of individual construction workers, who are not university employees but instead work for companies that are contracted or subcontracted by the Abu Dhabi government agency overseeing construction. The companies are contractually obligated to follow the university’s statement of labor values. The university hired an engineering firm, Mott MacDonald, to monitor working conditions and issue annual reports, the latest of which, released last month, noted some challenges but was largely positive in its assessment; Mott MacDonald declined to comment for the Times article.

But in statements later on Monday, as reported by NYU Local, a student-run blog, President John Sexton called the events "if true as reported, troubling and unacceptable."

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Universities in Belarus seek to raise standards

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The former Soviet satellite works to raise university standards and to court foreign students

Launch of E.U.-Funded Ranking Initiative, U-Multirank

The first U-Multirank rankings were released on Tuesday. Created as part of a European Union-funded effort to rank a broader array of higher education institutions on a wider number of measures, U-Multirank allows users to develop their own personalized rankings of universities based on indicators related to teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional engagement.

The ranking effort has been praised as a corrective to existing university rankings that primarily reflect research output and that conflate performance on a number of indicators to a single number in a league table, but has also been criticized due to concerns about data availability, validity, and comparability.

European institutions make up the majority of universities that participated in the initial round of data collection. Although the ranking includes publicly available bibliometric and patent data for more than 100 American universities, just nine U.S. institutions -- American David Livingstone University of Florida, Colorado State University, Dartmouth College, Fairfield University, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, James Madison University, Oregon State University, The State University of New York at Buffalo, and Tufts University -- supplied comprehensive data for the ranking.

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