The drowning deaths of six students, apparently from hazing, have set off a debate at Portugal's universities, The New York Times reported. Hazing in Portugal is not associated with fraternities, but is a rite of passage for new students. Critics say that the recent deaths show that the traditions have gotten out of control, but many students support hazing and are rallying to preserve it.
In an unusual move for Japan, and a first for one of Japan's national universities, Kyoto University will seek advice from some university presidents outside Japan on possible candidates to become the institution's next president, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported. The university will seek recommendations from the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Cambridge and other institutions. In the past, advice was sought only from within the country.
New research from the University of Manchester has found that members of some minority groups in Britain are more likely than white people in the country to have postsecondary degrees, Times Higher Education reported. The study found that 43 percent of those with Chinese heritage had a degree, as did 42 percent of those with Indian backgrounds and 40 percent of those from black African groups. Only about a quarter of white British people have a degree.
A report released Friday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified a need for greater oversight of the optional practical training program (OPT), which allows international students to stay in the U.S. and work for between 12 to 29 months after completion of their programs. The report found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, does not maintain complete records on which international students are actively working and whether they are working in their fields of study, as required by ICE regulations. A GAO analysis of more than 126,000 records of students participating in OPT found that 38 percent did not include an employer’s name. GAO also found that the records did not contain the dates on which students began working.
"Collecting and monitoring complete information on foreign students approved for OPT would better position ICE to determine whether these students are maintaining legal status in the United States," the report says.
A new article in Educational Researcher develops a typology for government-sponsored international scholarship programs. The lead author, the University of Pennsylvania’s Laura W. Perna, and her co-authors identify 183 government-sponsored programs in 196 countries and find that 76 percent of these programs target graduate or post-graduate (rather than undergraduate) study, 78 percent focus on degree attainment rather than short-term exchange, and 85 percent limit the number of possible destination countries. Just 15 percent of programs allow scholarship recipients to pursue any field of study they wish. Thirty-eight percent of programs cover all expenses, and 59 percent require students to return to their home countries after completing their programs.
The authors divide programs into four main types, based on program characteristics (such as level of study, undergraduate or graduate) and the political and economic dynamics of the sponsoring nations: Type 1, “development of basic skills"; Type 2, “development of advanced knowledge in developing nations"; Type 3, “development of advanced knowledge in developed nations"; and Type 4, “promotion of short-term study abroad."
Tel Aviv University is introducing a new app that will provide almost immediate feedback for professors on their lectures, Haaretz reported. In the last five minutes of class, students will be questioned via the app on whether the class was interesting that day, how they would evaluate the professor's performance and how they rank the lecturer overall - on a scale of 1 to 100. A pilot of the app is about to start, used only in courses of lecturers who have volunteered for the project.
Shorelight Education, a new player in the growing business of developing pathway programs for international students, sought and won an injunction to prevent the release of its contract with the University of Kansas to the Lawrence Journal-World, the newspaper reported. Shorelight, which has teamed with Kansas to recruit international students and operate a first-year experience program combining academic and English as a second language coursework, argued that release of the contract -- requested by the newspaper under open records law -- would compromise proprietary information that could help other corporations replicate its business model. The newspaper reported that while administrators hope that the program will boost international student enrollment, some faculty are concerned about issues of academic oversight.