Interviews with academics living in parts of Iraq controlled by ISIS


Faculty members in Iraq describe the fears, humiliations and violence they face.

Chinese Students and American Professors' Productivity

A new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research explores the impact that Chinese graduate students had on the productivity of American professors when a change in China's policies in 1978 led to a sudden surge in the number of Chinese graduate students in the United States. The paper (abstract available here) uses databases that track the research output of American mathematics professors and that identify the graduate students working with individual American professors. The study finds that Chinese students were disproportionately likely to have Chinese-American faculty advisors, and that these advisors saw a notable increase in research productivity. Other American faculty members at these universities saw a decline in the numbers of students they mentored, and these professors saw a decline in their productivity.


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The Conservative Victory and British Higher Education

The Conservative Party victory in Thursday's British elections could have important consequences for British universities, Times Higher Education reported. The Conservative Party has pledged a referendum on whether to leave the European Union, and academic leaders want to stay, given the research funds their institutions receive from the EU. The Conservatives have also pledged to tighten the rules on visas for international students -- a move that university leaders fear would result in enrollment declines.

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Historians Urge Japan to Confront Its Past

More than 180 historians -- most of them working at American colleges and universities -- this week issued an open letter to Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, calling on his country to be more open to discussing the atrocities of the World War II era. The letter focuses on the "comfort women," women whom the Japanese military forced into sex slavery in many of the countries Japan occupied.

"Exploitation of the suffering of former 'comfort women' for nationalist ends in the countries of the victims makes an international resolution more difficult and further insults the dignity of the women themselves. Yet denying or trivializing what happened to them is equally unacceptable," the letter says. "Among the many instances of wartime sexual violence and military prostitution in the 20th century the 'comfort women' system was distinguished by its large scale and systematic management under the military, and by its exploitation of young, poor and vulnerable women in areas colonized or occupied by Japan."

The signatories include many of the leading American scholars of Japan. The letter grew out of a discussion in March at the meeting of the Association for Asian Studies. The letter is receiving widespread coverage in Japan and some of the countries, such as South Korea, where women were forced to be "comfort women."

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Institutions Make Decisions on Summer Travel to Nepal

Columbia University has prohibited all university-related undergraduate travel to Nepal following the recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Duke University has also restricted travel to Nepal, and Arizona State University has canceled its summer study abroad programs there. SIT Study Abroad is still assessing the situation and expects to make a decision about whether to run its summer program focusing on geoscience in the Himalayas within the next week, according to the vice provost, Priscilla Stone.

The U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both recommended that nonessential travel to Nepal be deferred.

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University Leaders Make Pledges Toward Greater Gender Equality

Five university presidents have signed on so far to the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign by making specific commitments to improve gender equality within their institutions, Time reported. The University of Hong Kong; the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom; Nagoya University, in Japan; the University of Waterloo, in Canada; and the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa, have all made various pledges to increase the number of women in top administrative positions and/or on the faculty, among other commitments.

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OECD prepares to measure teaching quality


OECD prepares for major project to measure effectiveness of universities in the classroom.

At Chinese Universities, Students Offer Wake-Up Calls

In China, many people are proud of waking early, but university students, like their counterparts all over, struggle to get up in the morning. As a result, many campuses are seeing the formation of "wake-up call" clubs, The Wall Street Journal reported. In the clubs, students create phone trees and make sure the other club members get up on time.


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Singapore Tries to Discourage University Enrollment

Leaders in Singapore are trying to discourage students from enrolling at universities, Bloomberg reported. Speeches by government leaders and articles in local newspapers focus on the value of apprenticeships, and how people can earn a lot of money without a university degree. While Singapore has invested considerably in its universities, officials fear a worker shortage in many industries. The article notes that many parents seem to remain intent on their children earning a degree.



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New reports consider whether Australia's quest for international student tuition revenue is eroding standards

Australia considers whether the quest for tuition revenue from abroad is eroding standards.


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