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Doane U suspends library director over exhibit that included 1920s-era students in blackface

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 00:00

Doane University in Nebraska shuttered a library exhibit and put a librarian on leave over historical photos of students in blackface. The university says the images ran counter to its values and, as presented, served no educational purpose. Some of the librarian’s faculty supporters disagree and say that Doane interfered in a learning moment, albeit a painful one, that their colleague was already working to right. 

“Were some of our students genuinely offended or hurt by the library display? Yes,” said Brian Pauwels, associate professor of psychology at Doane and vice president of the campus’s American Association of University Professors advocacy chapter. “Was suspending the librarian in response to that hurt heavy-handed and in violation of the academic freedom that is necessary to do her difficult job every day?”

Pauwels continued, “Can’t the answer to both questions be yes? Because lots of people want us to pick one or the other. These are values that are hard to define, and now they’re colliding with one another.”

Other professors think Doane made the right call. 

Mark Orsag, professor of history, said this is "primarily a common sense and respect issue and not an academic freedom issue.” As the photos in the display were not "contextualized at all,” he said, there "was really no education taking place.” 

The director of the Crete campus's Perkins Library, Melissa Gomis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Doane’s AAUP chapter just approved a statement condemning Gomis's suspension and Doane's actions against the exhibit as censorship.

According to that statement and other accounts, Doane’s library staff in March curated an exhibit of historical photographs and other memorabilia from student scrapbooks housed in university archives. In late April, a student complained about two photographs in a display called "Parties of the Past." The photos showed students attending a 1926 Halloween party, apparently in blackface. A blurb from a local newspaper at the time indicated it was a campus masquerade party. But there was no accompanying note from the curators explaining why the photos were included.

Many historians have argued that there is value in showing the presence of racism at universities and in other parts of society, even if such visibility makes people uncomfortable today. Many also argue for contextualizing this kind of content.

After speaking with the concerned student, Gomis decided to remove the blackface photos due -- according to the AAUP -- “to genuine concern for the student while also recognizing the current atmosphere of elevated sensitivity on many college campuses.” Indeed, a number of campuses have this year been forced to acknowledge blackface incidents in their own not-so-distant pasts.

Then last week, under orders from the provost, the entire exhibit was removed. That same day, Gomis was told to collect her things from her office and suspended indefinitely.

Gomis's suspension, AAUP says, is the “consequence of a grievance complaint about the exhibit, prior to initiation of an investigation.”

Citing censorship guidelines from the American Library Association, Doane’s AAUP chapter describes the university’s forced removal of the exhibit as “an unambiguous example of censorship,” coming from “outside the library performed by a person with no training in library and archival science.” That’s in contrast to Gomis’s initial self-censorship, which was “driven by her genuine concern to respond to the student and to avoid external censorship.”

When an educator "is pressured to remove content from a lecture, lesson or display that was created according to the current methods of the profession, then a violation of academic freedom has occurred,” AAUP also says.

Academic Freedom and Censorship

Also last week, President Jacque Carter sent an all-campus memo saying that blackface “has a history of dehumanization and stereotyping, which perpetuates systemic racism in society.” He apologized for the photos and the hurt they’d caused.

“Such an insensitive action is unacceptable and will not be tolerated now or in the future,” Carter wrote.

Doane's AAUP took issue with that statement, saying that an environment in which a president can judge exhibits as "sufficiently controversial or offensive that they must be removed partially or in their entirety at the president’s discretion" constitutes "an infringement of the academic freedom that is essential to the work of Director Gomis, all other faculty and, by extension, the students of the university."

Much of the criticism of Gomis has centered on the fact that the exhibit itself did not acknowledge that the photos showed students in blackface. Did Gomis intend that, for some educational purpose, or was it professional negligence?

Pauwels said Gomis made the professional judgment not to include an explainer, and that the university should have deferred to her expertise. “Carelessness was not an issue here.”

What would have been appropriate, sufficient language to note that students at Doane once thought blackface was fun, he asked rhetorically.

Asked if that was an implicit argument against trigger warnings of any kind, Pauwels said no -- and that that choice should be left up to educators. The guiding principles in such matters should be deference to disciplinary expertise and commitment to letting the process of educational dialogue play out, he said, however undervalued those principles are outside college and university settings of late.

“The university should have exercised some restraint, and I just fail to see why that didn’t happen here.”

A Failure of Common Sense?

Orsag, the historian, said the photos, without context, were "clearly disrespectful to the African-American faculty, staff and students on this campus.” Given national controversies over similar pictures, he added, "putting those photos up in that manner was tone-deaf in the extreme and demonstrated a fundamental lack of common sense.”

Academic freedom "carries with it the responsibility to act respectfully, with fairness and with common sense," he added, arguing that "such offensive displays" are explicitly against Doane's anti-harassment policy.

Amanda McKinney, executive director of Doane’s Institute for Human and Planetary Health and director of its Open Learning Academy, said the key issue is not content but context. 

"Words matter, including their omission,” McKinney said. "There was nothing there with the pictures to indicate whether this was right or wrong, racist or not, condoned by the librarian or not.” Given the display title, one "might even think we were celebrating it. That's the crux of the issue,” she added. 

McKinney also noted that the display was located immediately outside the library, in a high-traffic area, where there is no opting in or out of the viewing experience.    Quoting AAUP’s policy on academic freedom, McKinney said that teachers "are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to their subject.” Additionally, she continued, quoting the AAUP, professors’ "special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances.”   McKinney said that Doane was within its rights to suspend Gomis under its anti-harassment policy, pending the investigation. Saying she thought it was unlikely that Gomis would be fired, McKinney called for "a university-wide conversation about this issue that includes all its many facets.”    Of the ongoing investigation, Orsag said, “Let the facts, as revealed, guide the decision.”   Melissa Clouse, director of pre-health programs at Doane,  said she doesn’t "shy away from difficult discussions" when they're "beneficial to the learning objectives that I have for my students within the context of the classes I teach.” At the same time, Clouse said she has a "responsibility to be guided by respect for my students, and to provide context and an environment where learning can occur within explorations of difficult topics.”    As someone who is "keenly aware of the innate power differential between faculty members and the students that we work with," Clouse said that any "semblance of disregarding or abusing that power dynamic is detrimental to learning and to a healthy educational environment."   Librarians and Free Inquiry   Do librarians have academic freedom? The AAUP endorses granting librarians faculty status, mainly so that they’re guaranteed it.   Doane’s AAUP statement says that some observers "may object that a library is not a classroom and therefore librarians do not require academic freedom. However, we assert that the library is a fundamental classroom, where knowledge and learning begin."   The document cites a joint a joint statement by the AAUP and the Association of College and Research Libraries asserting that college and university librarians “share the professional concerns of faculty members. Academic freedom, for example, is indispensable to librarians, because they are trustees of knowledge with the responsibility of ensuring the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn."   Key to the Doane case, that joint statement also said that as members of the academic community, "librarians should have latitude in the exercise of their professional judgment within the library, a share in shaping policy within the institution and adequate opportunities for professional development and appropriate reward."   Doane’s AAUP chapter further argues that librarians “are particularly vulnerable to sanctions resulting from public disapproval of their collections and exhibits,” since they deal with an “enormous range of materials that inevitably will include items that some, and perhaps even many, will find objectionable.” And unlike professors in a dynamic classroom setting, the chapter wrote, librarians can’t “respond instantly to questions or reactions from their audience, or explain in the moment their decision-making process in presenting such materials.”   Pauwels argued that the broader issue is that one instance of even well-meaning censorship sets the stage for worrisome instances of censorship going forward. Defending academic freedom “here and in the long term” ultimately ends up benefiting students, he said.   Carter declined an interview request, citing the ongoing investigation. A spokesperson reiterated that Gomis was not escorted off campus by security.   The university said in a statement that a display of photographs placed outside the library “included offensive photos -- taken in the 1920s -- showing some students in blackface. There was no context around the photos and it was not used in an educational way.”   After a “concerned student expressed a complaint about the photos, the photos were removed,” Doane said. “We apologize for the display of those photos and for the pain they have caused. Blackface is hurtful and racist and has no place at this institution without educational context surrounding it.”   Doane also said that the photos “ran counter” to its “beliefs and values,” and that the university strives “to be an inclusive university that welcomes students, faculty and staff members from all backgrounds and walks of life.”   The university has made “important progress over the years, but events such as this remind us of the work that lies ahead,” it said. “We intend to use this as an opportunity for growth within our entire campus community.” Academic FreedomFacultyLibraries and PublishingEditorial Tags: Academic freedomFacultyLibrariesRacial groupsImage Caption: Melissa GomisIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Trending text: A Librarian's Academic FreedomTrending order: 2Display Promo Box: 

Far-right government in Brazil slashes university funding, threatens cuts to philosophy and sociology

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 00:00

First, they announced they were considering withdrawing funding from sociology and philosophy programs. Writing on Twitter a week ago Friday, Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro said, “the goal is to focus on areas that will have immediate return to taxpayers, such as veterinary medicine, engineering and medicine.”

Then, they said there would be 30 percent cuts to three major federal universities: the University of Brasília, the Fluminense Federal University and the Federal University of Bahia. Brazil’s new minister of education, Abraham Weintraub, said the three universities -- all three of which are respected internationally -- are underperforming academically and hold "ridiculous" and partisan events. "The university must have a surplus of money to be making such a mess and organizing ridiculous events," he told the O Estado de São Paulo. The newspaper reported that he gave as examples of this mess "Members of the Landless Workers' Movement inside the campuses, naked people inside the campuses."

Then, they announced that the 30 percent cuts would apply not just to those three universities, but to all of Brazil’s federal universities. Higher education policy experts clarified that the proposed cuts do not affect faculty salaries -- faculty at the federal universities are civil servants -- but instead target the maintenance budgets of the universities, things like electricity and staff travel.

It has, in short, been an eventful 10 days for Brazilian higher education. Experts see the cuts to federal university budgets and threatened cuts to specific programs as ideologically motivated and part of a broader effort by the Bolsonaro government to roll back the signature achievement of former left-wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of expanding access to higher education.

“Bolsonaro campaigned on ending supposed leftist indoctrination in schools, so he’s going to make that happen,” said Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, in which he wrote about international attacks by far-right governments on higher education (Penguin Random House, 2018).

“What we’ve been waiting to see is when there would be changes in policies for budgeting. It’s now coming,” said James N. Green, the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Modern Latin American History at Brown University.

“First, they were singling out the universities [seen] as particularly intransigent, the Federal University of Bahia, the University of Brasilia and Fluminense Federal University. These are excellent universities, some of the top universities; they also have people within them who have organized events criticizing Bolsonaro,” Green said.

“Then it was made clear that you couldn’t target the universities to cut the funding without any real basis; they decided to expand it to 30 percent across the board, but the intentions were very clear,” Green said. “It’s to punish universities.”

The Estado reported that the initial 30 percent cuts to the three federal universities were part of about $1.5 billion in cuts to the Ministry of Education. "I can cut and unfortunately, I have to cut from somewhere," Weintraub, the education minister, said.

Weintraub, who was nominated for his post in April and is the second education minister since Bolsonaro assumed the presidency in January, has also said that the government’s priority is elementary and secondary education. “In the government plan that elected President Jair Bolsonaro, it was very clear, it was explicit, that our priority was basic education and preschool,” he said in a video posted on Twitter seemingly in response to protests regarding the cuts. “An undergraduate student costs 30,000 reais per year; a student in a day-care center costs 3,000 reais per year. For each undergraduate student I enroll in college, I could have 10 children in a day-care center -- children who are generally in a low-income family, poorer, more needy and who do not have day care for them today. What would you if you were in my position?”

In Brazil, however, the federal government has a relatively limited role in financing K-12 education, which is primarily financed by states and municipalities. “There is a real situation of budget constraints,” said Simon Schwartzman, an expert on Brazilian education and a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. “But this kind of decision to cut 30 percent across the board [at federal universities] combines the need to make cuts with anti-intellectual reasons.”

“Announcing this specific set of cuts -- the 30 percent cut -- is absolutely ideologically motivated. There’s no other way to see it, because it wouldn’t be enough money to make a difference in public financing,” said Justin Axel-Berg, an associate researcher of higher education policy at the University of São Paulo. He added that the topic of cuts hadn’t been discussed until two to three weeks ago after Weintraub took office.

“This is a man who has been in his job for less than a month wanting to make an immediate impact,” Axel-Berg said.

Weintraub, an economist who before becoming education minister was a professor at the Federal University of São Paulo, has been a proponent of countering leftist ideology in universities and overcoming what’s described as “cultural Marxism.” He recently defended what he sees as the right of students to film their teachers in the classroom.

“This new minister has adopted this anti-cultural Marxist rhetoric of the entire Bolsonaro administration,” said Stephanie Reist, a postdoctoral researcher in education policy at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro. “They just say ‘cultural Marxism.’ It doesn’t mean anything, but they’re very much against any kind of critical race theory or feminism, or any sort of critical studies writ large.”

The proposal to defund philosophy and sociology programs has attracted worldwide outrage, though Axel-Berg cautioned that in the era of Bolsonaro it is difficult to separate proclamations on social media that may or may not have substance behind them from serious policy proposals. “How this is going to be achieved, nobody has any idea,” Axel-Berg said. “These aren’t people who have any kind of experience with higher education, with universities. It’s noise on Twitter being played to their electoral base.”

International academics are, however, taking the threat seriously. The American Philosophical Association and the American Sociological Association joined with several other groups in writing a letter protesting the move. Thousands of international academics have signed open letters. One such letter describes the attack on philosophy and sociology as “an attack on the very fabric of a democratic society.” Another letter says Bolsonaro’s “intent to defund sociology programs is an affront to the discipline, to the academy and, most broadly, to the human pursuit of knowledge. This proposal is ill conceived and violates principles of academic freedom that ought to be integral to systems of higher education in Brazil, in the United States and across the globe.”

Stanley, the Yale philosophy professor and author of How Fascism Works, said what’s happening in Brazil should be “a canary in the coal mine” for American academics. “This is not some exotic thing,” he said. “This is an international, worldwide far-right attack on the universities that is if anything more mainstream in the United States than in Brazil.”

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Colorado State, citing potential sex assaults, tries to shut down Undie Run

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 00:00

In an annual tradition, the students of Colorado State University strip to their underwear at the end of the academic year and dash across the campus in what is known as the Undie Run. This is a celebration before final exams, a way of students airing stress in a way that many of them perceive to be harmless.

But administrators want to shut it down.

One of their primary reasons? That participants, particularly women, have reported being sexually assaulted during the run and at parties held afterward -- an argument, students and other critics say, that smacks of victim blaming.

Online and in interviews with Inside Higher Ed, these Undie Run supporters say that linking students’ (admittedly minimal) attire to sexual violence promotes the idea that the survivors were somehow asking to be assaulted if they ran around publicly in their underwear.

Campus rape has been a long-standing issue for colleges and universities, though administrators’ handling of such cases has come under new scrutiny.

Though few colleges have radically changed the way they investigate and judge these cases, they are under new pressure to respond to sexual assault.

“I think that, primarily in my experience, that schools are motivated by press,” said Faith Ferber, a student engagement organizer with activist group Know Your IX. “And if a lot of people are assaulted at this Undie Run, and there’s an article about it, that their school is getting bad press, they have a rape problem, schools are afraid of that. They want to do whatever they can shut those things down.”

Organizers of the run have been hyping it up far before its scheduled date on May 10. But administrators have engaged in a full-court press against the event, saying they will ask police to monitor illegal activity and have emailed parents an explanation of why they are intent on stopping it.

One official, Jody Donovan, the assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, even wrote on the Undie Run Facebook event from her personal account, listing all the reasons the university will not allow it. She also has responded to students who said that the university’s policies can’t stop them from participating.

“If there is an indication that there will continue to be plans to assemble, there will be a heightened police presence on campus and off campus,” Donovan wrote on Facebook. “If there are plans to assemble off campus, police and university volunteers will also respond. If people assemble, police will take video of the area. Images will be used to follow up on complaints and potential criminal incidents to identify individuals who behave inappropriately.”

An identical message was sent to students and their families -- as well as other colleges in the area, said spokeswoman Dell Rae Ciaravola. This detailed how students could report sexual assaults.

In addition to concerns about sexual violence associated with the run, administrators said they have observed outsiders photographing or filming the run, and they have posted those images online or used them without students’ consent.

Colleges should inform students about potential risks outside sexual assault, said Jess Davidson, the executive director of advocacy group End Rape on Campus. Administrators can flag the potential for students’ pictures to be taken, but ultimately, they’re making the decision, Davidson said. She also said that she thinks the focus on photo taking is a bit of a red herring.

“Most students know if they’re running around in their underwear outside, people are going to be posting it to social media,” Davidson said. “There will be friends taking pictures and putting it up; Instagram stories are going to be happening with the Undie Run. Students are aware of that.”

The university said it estimates the run has forced officials to pay about $150,000 to cover property damages and security, too.

Ciaravola did not respond to additional questions from Inside Higher Ed, including the college’s response over the sexual assault criticism.

Students online blasted administrators and complained the event had gone off without a hitch in previous years.

“My favorite part is when they said it makes it easier for girls to get groped by men when rapists literally hurt women fully clothed,” Andrea Goff, a student, wrote on Facebook. “It’s not about what you're wearing and that’s just another excuse. Don't blame the victim because they wanted to participate in a tradition where we should all be respectful of each other, regardless of how much or little we're wearing. Underwear doesn't change that.”

The organizers of the Undie Run did not respond to request for comment.

Ann M. Little, a history professor at Colorado State, posted to Twitter after she received the emailed warnings for students -- she agreed with administrators

“I understand and agree mostly with the public and personal safety issues our campus police raise about the Undie Run,” Little wrote, adding, jokingly, the easiest way to shut down the jaunt around campus would be to send out administrators and faculty sans clothes.

Races involving partial nudity are certainly not confined to the Colorado State campus. Colleges across the country hold similar rituals, and there are videos online to prove it -- among them the University of California, Los Angeles; UC Irvine; Oregon State University and Northeastern University.

Davidson said that such events always inspire debate about whether they facilitate rape. But she said if Colorado State wanted to help its students, it wouldn’t impose a full ban on the Undie Run. Officials should be teaching students about “bystander intervention” -- how to step in when you witness sexual violence, or offer a ride service so students who have been drinking have a way to arrive home safely, Davidson said.

“It just sends the message that it is the fault of the individual who is running in their underwear,” Davidson said.

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Colleges announce commencement speakers

Inside Higher Ed - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 00:00
  • Alfred University: Marlin Miller, business leader and philanthropist.
  • Baruch College of the City University of New York: Carl E. Heastie, speaker of the New York State Assembly.
  • Boston University: Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Chaffey College: Yasmin Davidds, CEO of the Multicultural Women’s Leadership Institute and the Women’s Institute of Negotiation.
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art: Carole Harris, the artist.
  • Drury University: Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of the late Reverend Oliver L. Brown, namesake of the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
  • East Tennessee State University: Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; and Scott Lillibridge, senior medical adviser to the International Medical Corps.
  • Loyola University Chicago: Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation; and others.
  • Manchester Community College, in Connecticut: Connecticut attorney general William Tong.
  • Maria College, in New York: Sister Marilyn Lacey, founder and executive director of Mercy Beyond Borders.
  • Monroe Community College, of the State University of New York: Tokeya C. Graham, associate professor of English and philosophy at the college.
  • Park University: Reggie Robinson, vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of Kansas.
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey: Tiki Barber, the author and former New York Giants football player.
  • Randolph-Macon College: Alan B. Rashkind, a lawyer and the college's outgoing board chair.
  • Rollins College: Robiaun Rogers Charles, vice president of advancement at Agnes Scott College; and others.
  • St. John’s University, in New York: Margaret M. Keane, CEO of Synchrony.
  • University of Miami, in Florida: Drew Gilpin Faust, former president of Harvard University; and others.
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EEA pupils at UK independent schools up despite Brexit uncertainty

The PIE News - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 03:11

British independent schools have recorded an increase in the number of pupils from European Economic Area countries despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty, data from the Independent Schools Council has revealed.

According to its annual census the body, which represents more than 1,300 UK independent schools, revealed there are currently 26,370 non-British pupils in ISC schools whose parents live in the UK.

“There are more pupils being educated in overseas campuses than there are overseas pupils in ISC schools”

This cohort made up 5% of all pupils at ISC schools, up slightly from 2018’s 25,165 students.

However, among these pupils, 45% came from EEA countries  – up three points from last year – which “is an interesting finding in light of Brexit,” the census noted.

Additionally, the census showed there are currently 28,910 non-British pupils attending ISC schools whose parents live overseas, making up 5.4% of the total ISC pupil population.

Among non-British pupils whose parents live overseas, the census showed steady growth in pupil numbers from China (up 6% on 2018), while among pupils from Russia, it highlighted four years of decline after a period of steady growth (down 10%).

“Non-British pupil numbers from Hong Kong have been growing since 2016, although have not yet returned to historical highs”, noted the census.

Meanwhile, numbers from the EEA were shown to been increasing since 2017 after a period of decline from 2012.

“It is perhaps surprising to see an increase in the number of EEA pupils at ISC schools given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” said ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon in a statement.

“But clearly much value is placed on the broad all-round education independent schools offer [including] their inclusive environments and commitment to supporting the development of globally conscious young people.”

And while most independent schools are small schools serving their local community, added Lenon, “some attract pupils of many different nationalities and these young people have a positive influence on our ability to understand other cultures as well as the country’s economy and our intellectual base”.

As revealed by Oxford Economics in a 2018 impact report, non-British pupils at ISC schools contribute £1.8billion to GDP in the UK, support 39,310 jobs and generating £550m in annual tax revenue.

“It is perhaps surprising to see an increase in the number of EEA pupils”

The census also showed that a growing number of ISC schools are operating overseas campuses, educating a total of 39,616 pupils compared to the 28,910 pupils whose parents live overseas.

According to the data, there are currently 58 such campuses educating a total of 39,616 pupils, up from 47 campuses and 32,330 pupils in 2018.

“There are, therefore, more pupils being educated in overseas campuses than there are overseas pupils in ISC schools in the UK,” noted the census.

Of those campuses, mainland China has the highest number with 26 campuses, educating a total of 15,137 pupils, followed by the Middle East (13), Thailand (5) and Hong Kong (4).

South Korea and Malaysia were shown to have two such campuses respectively.

Earlier in 2019, third-party research firm ISC Research highlighted the growth of “an international style of education” in China, with reasons such as the rise in private education expenditure among Chinese families, Beijing’s amended “two-child” policy, and increased awareness of the benefits of international education suggested for the boom.

The US was revealed to be the most popular destination for higher education outside of the UK

With regards to higher education, the census revealed that of those continuing to higher education, 93% do so within the UK.

For the 5% of pupils that chose to study outside of the UK, the US was revealed to be the most popular destination attracting almost half (47.5%) of ISC pupils going to overseas universities.

However, this is down on last year when over 50% chose to study in the US, it noted.

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StudyPerth rolls out first action plan initiatives

The PIE News - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 02:32

The agency responsible for promoting Western Australian education, StudyPerth, has launched a series of initiatives and marketing campaigns as part of its goal to double the number of international students the region hosts.

“China is a very important source of students for Western Australia”

The initiatives, some of the first to stem from the Action Plan 2019-2025, include Destination Perth, a marketing campaign for Chinese students to address brand awareness issues identified in the lead up to last year’s strategy launch.

“We had suspected for some time that awareness of Perth as a study destination could be better, and the findings from the report confirmed this suspicion: 78% of prospective international students considering study in Australia say they know nothing, or very little about Perth,” said StudyPerth chief executive Phil Payne.

“China is a very important source of students for Western Australia so we wanted to use these findings to inform a strategic approach in China to the promotion of Perth as a world class study destination, and attract increasing numbers of students from this country.”

The campaign encourages Chinese students to think “outside the box” and generated 1.5 million impressions on Chinese social media with its accompanying video.

To help StudyPerth meet the aims of its Employability Project, the agency supported the Australia India Business Council’s mentoring event for Indian students.

The event, held at the Consulate General of India, sought to help Indian students in Western Australia identify and access employment opportunities.

“We hope that by working together with AIBC to empower more of Perth’s Indian students to develop industry connections through mentorships, they will have an exceptional student experience in Perth and share their story through their networks in Perth and in India,” Payne said.

The only state to experience a decline in its international enrolments in 2018, Western Australia has been actively working towards reversing the tide and will play host to the upcoming AIEC and CISA conference.

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Curtin Malaysia turns 20, doubles partnership

The PIE News - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 01:29

Curtin University’s largest offshore campus, Curtin Malaysia, has celebrated its 20th anniversary by signing a new deal to double the length of its partnership with the Australian-based provider until 2039.

Taking place in Miri, the festivities culminated in the signing of the new 20-year deal, as well as the launch of a new series of scholarships to help students from low socio-economic backgrounds access high education.

“The extension… reaffirms our commitment to further strengthen Australia-Malaysia ties”

“For the last two decades, Curtin Malaysia has delivered quality education to thousands of students across the region and become an important part of Curtin’s international footprint spanning Australia, Singapore, Dubai and Mauritius,” Curtin University vice-chancellor Deborah Terry said.

“The extension of this collaboration for another 20 years reaffirms our commitment to further strengthen Australia-Malaysia ties, ensuring Curtin Malaysia continues to support the University to achieve its global objectives.”

Curtin Malaysia is the Western Australian university’s oldest and largest offshore campus and is a partnership between Curtin University and specially formed company Curtin Malaysia Sdn Bhd, jointly owned by the Sarawak State Government and local business people.

The deal, signed by Terry and Curtin Malaysia chief executive Jim Mienczakowski, will also see a new series of scholarships rolled out.

“As part of our 20-year anniversary celebrations, Curtin Malaysia has launched a special category of for the University’s foundation programs and selected undergraduate programs,” Mienczakowski said.

“These scholarships will support talented students from the region to fulfil their aspirations to further their education and serve as a sign of gratitude for Malaysia’s support for Curtin over the past two decades.”

Curtin has been busy of late, announcing a new scholarship named after the host of Chinese dating show, If You Are the One, and signing a deal with France’s École Nationale Superieure de Techniques Avancées Bretagne to doctoral students working in defence research.

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