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Public universities' endowment funds net US$430 million

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:26
A total of MYR1.85 billion (US$430 million) was collected through the endowment funds of the 20 local public universities as of June this year, the Malaysian house of representatives, the Dewan Ra ...

Officials warned to behave online as two lecturers fired

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:24
As the ruling Chinese Communist Party gears up for an all-important political congress later this year, the administration of President Xi Jinping has issued new rules aimed at limiting what party ...

Ministry to review private university students' degrees

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:23
The Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan wants to review the degrees of private universities from now onwards before those institutions issue qualifications to students, writes Tamim Hamid ...

Deputy higher education minister appears in court

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:20
South Africa's Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana arrived at a court in Johannesburg last Thursday ahead of his first court appearance after he allegedly assaulted a woman at a Johann ...

Over 210,000 university quotas unfilled this year

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:18
Over half of students who entered Turkey's national university exam this year did not fill out the necessary application form indicating which university they wished to be placed in, according to ...

University study less attractive to young people - Poll

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:17
The proportion of young people in the United Kingdom who think they are likely to go to university is at its lowest level in years, new figures suggest, with many citing cost as a primary concern, ...

Concern over end to US funds for food security project

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:16
Termination of a US$30 million food security project by USAID has drawn criticism from experts and stakeholders who fear that the abrupt decision will affect ongoing research and scholar exchange ...

Fake institutions - HE body seeks heftier penalties

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:14
Grappling with mushrooming fake universities across India, the University Grants Commission is set to send a 'gentle reminder' to the Ministry of Human Resource Development to amend the archaic UG ...

Evidence of Trump impact on international admissions

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:12
Since many international students would have started planning their application strategies before Election Day 2016, many experts think this coming admissions cycle may be more telling about the i ...

Controversial bill on higher education clears parliament

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:10
One member of Greece's parliamentary majority voted against the controversial bill on higher education that was approved in the House on 2 August, writes Tasos Kokkinidis for ...

Sidelining of British students to be stopped

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:09
Universities admissions will be monitored from next year to ensure British students are not being discriminated against in favour of foreign applicants who can pay more, writes Sarah Knapton for ...

Universities need urgent Brexit 'clarity' from ministers

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:07
United Kingdom universities could lose talented European Union staff unless they receive "greater clarity" from the government on the post-Brexit rights of EU nationals, according to the ...

Duterte makes education free in state universities

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:05
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law making education free at all state universities in the Philippines, despite warnings from his economic advisers that the country cannot afford it, report ...

Universities take on Dutch publishing giant Elsevier

University World News Global Edition - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 05:03
A consortium of German universities, research institutes and public libraries has rejected the latest offer from Dutch publishing giant Elsevier for a new countrywide licensing agreement for its r ...

New Zealand awards honour Indian students

The PIE News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 02:49

Thirty-one Indian students have received a scholarship to go towards their first-year tuition fee as part of the inaugural New Zealand Excellence Awards.

Announced earlier this month, the awards recognise outstanding university performance among students and come at a time when Indian study visa applications are declining.

The initiative between local universities and Education New Zealand is aimed at boosting international education and enhancing the image of the country as an attractive study destination among talented Indian students.

“These top young scholars will further strengthen ties between our two countries”

As an essential part of the application process, students have to hold a minimum equivalent grade average of B+ in their most recent qualification; have achieved at least 6.0 points in the IELTS exam and pursue studies related to business, fashion or STEM subjects.

Having outstanding academic performance and meeting all the needed requirements, the winners received a NZ$5,000 scholarship.

The awards will run again in 2018, and students can apply from September 1.

According to Grant McPherson, ENZ chief executive, India is an important economic, political and education partner for New Zealand, contributing $2.5bn in two-way trade deals.

“These top young scholars will further strengthen ties between our two countries, by contributing to a broader exchange of ideas in our universities, building our respective research capabilities, and enriching New Zealand culture,” he said.

Any improvement in the New Zealand-Indian relations will be welcomed by stakeholders in both countries after a 2016 investigation uncovered significant financial document fraud leading to a spat of visa recensions and low visa application approval rates compared to previous years.

The post New Zealand awards honour Indian students appeared first on The PIE News.

Tanzania: Kenyan HEIs barred from enroling students

The PIE News - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 02:37

Kenyan public universities with campuses in Tanzania will shut down the branches, after a directive by the government ordering that they wind them up following a series of scandals and complaints over standards of the programming.

The latest of the actions over failure to comply with standards came late last month, when the Tanzania Commission for Universities barred Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology from admitting students for the upcoming academic year over what it termed as concerns over standards of programs offered.

The two institutions have campuses in the East African country’s resort city of Arusha where they have been offering courses over the past seven years. In response to the Tanzanian government’s directive, Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has ordered the universities to close the campuses.

“The ministry is concerned about the existence of the two campuses amidst the need for quality university education”

“I urge the university council to deliberate on the way forward on the existence of the two campuses with a view of winding them up,” he said in letters to the councils of the public universities.

“The ministry is concerned about the existence of the two campuses amidst the need for quality university education, prudent and responsible finance management, in line with the Constitution of Kenya, the Universities Act and the Public Finance Management Act (2012),” he wrote.

Also barred from enrolling new students is the region’s biggest private institution, Kampala International University of Uganda.

All the universities have a combined student population of more than 3,000 learners.

In total, 19 universities operating in Tanzania have been barred from admitting students, including 16 local institutions after TCU’s executive secretary said there was a failure to meet requirements to offer programs, following an audit done in September and October 2016.

The move will not affect current students.

Following the directive, Kenyatta University has publicly stated that it is abiding by the minister’s request and will move with speed to close the campus.

Top management at JKUAT meanwhile visited Tanzania last week in a bid to assess the situation at their campus as well as meet with TCU leadership and is considering what steps to take.

“Consultations on the next course of action to take over the matter are going on at the management level of the university,” Mike Ngonyo, a university spokesman told The PIE News.

Besides the Tanzania campuses, the two Kenyan universities have similar branches in Kigali, Rwanda and both universities have struggled to gain accreditation even after investing a total of US$8.7m to set up the foreign units.

Kampala International University has also had problems getting its degrees recognised in the region, in some instances facing accusations of “selling” certificates.

The post Tanzania: Kenyan HEIs barred from enroling students appeared first on The PIE News.

In harassment cases, could institutions be cracking down on even big-name faculty members?

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:00

The University of Washington, for the first time ever, has fired a faculty member over findings of sexual harassment. The termination surprised some not only for the what, but also for the who: Michael Katze, a professor of microbiology. Well funded and a major player in infectious disease research, Katze appeared to some as exactly the kind of professor who might have been protected by his (or any) institution in the past.

Also this month, Christian Ott, a professor of theoretical astrophysics at California Institute of Technology, resigned following a drawn-out suspension over the university’s finding that he sexually harassed two graduate students.

Professors on two other campuses have left this summer over allegations of sexual misconduct: Jason Fruth, an assistant professor of education, resigned from Wright State University during an investigation into claims against him, while the University of Nebraska at Lincoln ended the visiting professorship of photojournalist Bill Frakes.

The departures could be a mere coincidence of timing. But they could also be a sign that even big-name institutions are holding their big-name scholars to a higher standard of conduct.

Brett Sokolow, president and CEO of the NCHERM Group, a campus safety consultancy, and executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators, said it’s not that campuses are now speedier to discipline faculty members found to have harassed students or others. That process still tends to be "painfully slow," he said. Rather, some campuses are now more "willing" to terminate faculty members for harassment.

The reason, Sokolow said, “is that more and more campus mind-sets have shifted, and the culture is shifting as a result from one of permissiveness [or] privilege -- or looking the other way -- to what is more like a zero-tolerance mind-set.”

It's simply too costly, in terms of public relations and crisis management, to try to "shield faculty anymore," he said, "and campuses are finally figuring that out.”

Negative Publicity

Indeed, negative publicity was a major factor in both Katze’s and Ott’s cases: they were the subjects of separate, lengthy stories on BuzzFeed ahead of their departures. Katze actually sued BuzzFeed and the university, to prevent the release of investigation details. (That was his second suit against Washington; another unsuccessfully alleged violations of due process related to his suspension from campus.) The effort failed, and BuzzFeed went ahead with its story -- backed by university documents -- on how Katze sexually harassed two female lab employees and misused university funds.

Specifically, Katze was found to have paid a lab administrator an unusually high salary in exchange for sexual favors. He allegedly harassed another lab worker by making sexual comments and trying to kiss or touch her while he was drunk, and by asking her to email escorts and place personal ads, buy drugs, clean his apartment and schedule his spa services. The university received prior complaints about Katze’s behavior.

Katze has not commented publicly on his case, and an attempt to reach him through his former attorney this week was unsuccessful. He in his lawsuits denied allegations of misconduct and said that a lab employee filed the most recent claim against him just days after he expressed concern about her job performance.

Katze reportedly told Washington’s investigator, "My job is to get grants. I am singularly focused on training scientists. This kind of shit is completely unimportant to me."

The sentiment might have been sincere. But in light of recent events, it recalls, at the very least, an antiquated way of thinking about faculty responsibilities.

Victor Balta, a spokesperson for the University of Washington, said Katze’s termination was the result of a faculty disciplinary process that confirmed “violations of university policies and executive orders, including conduct counter to the core values of our university.” Specifically, Katze was found to have violated campus policies related to sexual harassment, conflict of interest, use of resources and professional conduct, along with state ethics laws.

The decision to terminate any employee is one Washington takes “extraordinarily seriously,” Balta added via email. “The investigation and adjudication process is designed to ensure thorough consideration before a conclusion is reached.”

Ott, meanwhile, was found to have become infatuated with one of his graduate students and then to have fired her because of his feelings, according to documents first obtained by BuzzFeed. He also repeatedly discussed the matter with a second student. Ott was first placed on a nine-month leave and assigned extra training and supervision, but students and faculty members complained about what they perceived as a slap on the wrist for Ott possibly derailing a student’s career over romantic entanglements. His leave was extended after he was found to have contacted one of the students involved in his case, and he eventually resigned. The move is effective in December, but he won’t be back on campus between now and then.

Ott didn’t respond to a request for comment about his departure, but he’s previously challenged the notion that he “fired” the student in question.

Caltech didn’t provide comment as to how many professors it’s terminated over harassment. A spokesperson referred requests for comment to an earlier statement saying that Ott resigned after hearing that a faculty committee found he’d made “significant progress” toward his rehabilitative goals but remained “a divisive element on campus.”

Jason Fruth, at Wright State, resigned earlier this summer, following accusations that he raped a graduate student who worked for him and harassed others, according to the Dayton Daily News. A related criminal investigation did not result in charges; Fruth denied the claims but left his faculty position two weeks before a months-long university investigation was completed. Wright State documents first obtained by the Dayton Daily News say the investigation turned up 29 allegations of inappropriate behavior, such as Fruth sending students messages and photos of himself shirtless, telling them they were attractive and making sexual jokes. The university found that he’d violated campus policies by having sex with someone unable to give consent due to intoxication and engaging in a sexual relationship with a student whose work he supervised.

At Nebraska-Lincoln, the university confirmed that Bill Frakes’s appointment was cut short but did not provide details on the sexual harassment claims against him. Frakes told the Lincoln Journal-Star that those accused of violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibit sexual harassment or gender bias in education, are entitled to a hearing. "The university has directed that the process be confidential and I intend to honor that request,” he said.

More Attention to Title IX and Harassment

Erin Buzuvis, a professor of law at Western New England University and moderator of the Title IX Blog, said it’s clear, in general, that institutions “are paying more attention to their responsibilities under Title IX to address sexual harassment.” Real evidence of that shift would include institutional changes to sexual harassment policies applicable to faculty members, and whether such policies played a role in faculty members’ terminations, she said.

In one major example, the University of California System has recently strengthened its policies and procedures regarding faculty misconduct; sexual harassment and assault, for example, are now explicit violations of faculty responsibilities. Those changes came after a group of scandals, including the Berkeley campus’s nonfiring of astronomer Geoff Marcy, who was found to have harassed multiple female graduate students (he eventually resigned, in 2015). The Los Angeles campus, in another example, settled with two graduate students who sued over its handling of a sexual harassment case against Gabriel Piterberg, a professor of history. He’s still teaching, after a short suspension and other sanctions, but his return to campus last semester drew protests.

In making the policy changes, the UC System has said it wants to be a national leader in preventing and responding to sexual misconduct.

Sokolow said the greater awareness of Title IX and attendant publicity does have some campuses “jumping the gun” over things that aren’t, in his view, actual misconduct. As one example, he cited what he called "witch hunts" at Northwestern University, where media studies scholar Laura Kipnis was investigated under Title IX for writing critically of the grounds for a harassment case against a professor on her campus.

Whether most campuses can ride the line, then, remains to be seen.

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For-profits seek legislative overhaul of gainful employment as bureaucratic review unfolds

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:00

When the Department of Education gathered comments this summer ahead of an overhaul of its gainful-employment rule, it heard a litany of familiar refrains from representatives of the for-profit college sector.

They argued that the rule, which holds career programs accountable for graduating students with debt they can’t repay, should apply to all programs regardless of tax status, that it should reflect long-term earnings, and in some cases that it should not be tied to federal aid.

Whether the department crafts a new gainful-employment rule that reflects those broad goals will have implications for the accountability measures currently in effect for career programs and the kind of data it would provide students.

It’s broadly understood both by advocates and administration officials that Congress would have to rewrite current law for the rule to apply more broadly -- unless it is turned into a pure transparency measure, akin to the College Scorecard. And publishing typical earnings for a given profession by region, as for-profit representatives are seeking, would mean an end to publication of program-level outcomes. That's information consumer advocates say is essential to understanding which programs are doing well (or not).

A new rule from the department is a long way off -- an appointed negotiating panel won’t be seated until later this fall and it will likely be another year before new regulations are finalized -- but the for-profit sector isn’t waiting on the administration for a friendlier outcome. While Career Education Colleges and Universities, the sector’s biggest trade group, makes its case at the department, it’s also pushing for redress on Capitol Hill.

CECU throughout the summer has shopped legislative language to lawmakers that would make the changes it’s advocating in the rule-making process. Steve Gunderson, the group’s president and CEO, acknowledged that legislation altering the rule likely won’t move forward soon and, even if it found wide support, was unlikely to be passed before the rule-making process concludes.

But the group hopes that a gainful-employment bill would inform the committee’s process -- and the rule the department eventually issues.

“We are moving forward on parallel tracks for all the right reasons,” Gunderson said. “We believe until there’s a clear regulatory solution, we should pursue a legislative solution. Until there’s a legislative solution, the regulatory provisions of rule making are equally important.”

Regulatory Overhaul

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced in June after months of speculation that she would overhaul gainful employment and borrower defense, another Obama administration higher ed rule, via a bureaucratic process known as negotiated rule making.

DeVos suspended the borrower-defense rule before it was set to take effect in July. Although gainful employment remains on the books, she has delayed several provisions of the rule this year. And the department reported to Senate Democrats last week that it had “no timetable” for sending institutions data that are a first step to producing graduates' debt-to-earnings ratios that determine the ratings for programs subject to the rule.

When the department held the first of two public hearings on the overhaul of both rules last month, consumer advocates, traditional higher ed groups and representatives of the for-profit sector jumped at the chance to weigh in.

The chief complaint from the for-profit sector about gainful employment, which applies to all programs at for-profit colleges and nondegree programs at public and nonprofit colleges, has been that the rule does not apply uniformly to all sectors of higher ed. CECU has insisted it would support any rule that applied to all higher ed institutions; Gunderson offered that the department could do so if it made gainful employment an informational tool without federal student aid attached.

But the for-profits' problems with the rule don’t stop there. CECU argues that it's unfair to rate the success of programs based on graduates' income three years after leaving.

"The premise that income in year three ought to guide a student's career decision is without merit," Gunderson said.

Instead, the department should use Bureau of Labor Statistics data for a given career in a given region. Students could then compare the costs of programs in their field with that figure in mind, Gunderson said.

Amy Laitinen, director for higher education at New America's education policy program and a proponent of the gainful-employment rule, said by advocating for BLS income data, for-profits are pretending to seek transparency with a metric that masks real differences between programs.

“The whole point of program-level data is precisely so programs can’t hide behind averages,” she said. “Students aren’t going to average programs. They are paying for particular programs.”

Laitinen said she’s open to the idea of a gainful-employment measure that applies to all higher ed programs, if Congress considers such a change in the course of a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. But she said the broadly applied gainful rule CECU is advocating for would just water down the current regulations.

“For a lot of the folks who are saying ‘gainful [employment] for all,’ what they really mean is gainful for none,” she said.

Laitinen’s New America colleague Kim Dancy found in May that chefs in the Chicago metropolitan area averaged $48,870 per year, according to BLS data. Yet earnings outcomes of graduates who attended programs in that career pathway were significantly lower. And studies on career earnings have shown that graduates who earn less early in their careers are likely to have lower midcareer earnings as well.

The first set of gainful-employment data released in January found 98 percent of programs failing the current gainful-employment standard were at for-profit institutions.

The Department of Education received more than 1,700 submissions in a public comment period preceding the appointment of rule-making panels to consider changes to both borrower defense and gainful employment.

An Education Department spokeswoman, Liz Hill, said she couldn't address specific input but said each comment will be reviewed by staff and taken into consideration before the rule-making committee begins deliberations about the regulation.

"Under the previous administration’s rule-making process, too many voices were left out of the discussion, which led to a set of rules that targeted schools by tax status," she said. "It is this administration’s intention to ensure that all appropriate stakeholders are at the table and as a result rules are developed that protect students from predatory practices while treating all institutions of higher learning equitably."

Gunderson said he believes the department has the legal authority now to expand the rule to all higher ed programs. But answering whether gainful employment should continue to be an accountability tool or only be used for transparency purposes would help resolve many other questions about how to modify the rule.

Different Critics, Different Suggested Changes

Whether CECU gets significant support for its point of view on Capitol Hill remains to be seen. The group is still seeking bipartisan co-sponsors for legislation but hopes to see a bill introduced when lawmakers return from recess.

A Democratic aide on the House education committee said expanding application of the rule would be hard without rewriting the definition of gainful-employment programs in current law.

Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican and chair of the House education committee, has long been a vocal critic of the gainful-employment rule.

"We continue to have serious concerns regarding the gainful-employment rule, and we are pleased the department has recognized and considered the concerns voiced by the committee," a GOP committee aide said. "We look forward to addressing these concerns through the [Higher Education Act] reauthorization."

And a spokeswoman for Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate education committee, said he "looks forward to reviewing the outcome of the Education Department’s rule-making process and working with the department on holding all schools accountable to their students and taxpayers.”

Representative Paul Mitchell, a Michigan Republican who sits on the education committee, is a former for-profit college president and has taken an interest in improving federal data on higher education outcomes. He said he doubts that a bill addressing gainful employment could clear Congress before the department's rule-making process concludes. But he's highly critical of the regulation because it assesses only vocational programs.

"I think consumers should make the decision, not the government," he said. "Let's empower the people who pay taxes, who need the education, to decide what's in the best interest of them and their family."

Supporters of the rule, however, say that empowering consumers with information is exactly what the rule does.

Even among conservatives and others sympathetic to career education programs, there isn't a uniform assessment of the current gainful-employment rule or how it should be modified.

Beth Akers, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, argued in January that standards should not be rolled back, but expanded to institutions regardless of tax status. She said while gainful-employment metrics could be better calibrated, the idea of holding programs accountable for poor student outcomes such as high loan default rates was the right one.

And Trace Urdan, an independent analyst of the sector, has argued that the regulations went too far but says investors want more, not less, information about the performance of individual programs. Relying on BLS data is what led schools to create poor programs in the first place, he said.

"It's imprecise, trailing and essentially irrelevant in any particular geography," he said. "From an investor perspective, the program-level, school-level data is vastly superior. If it's BLS data, it turns [gainful employment] and specifically consumer disclosure into mere window dressing."

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A new journalism degree from Columbia, with a $150K catch

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 00:00

For those with an extra $147,514 lying around, there is a new a master of science in data journalism from Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

For everyone else, dropping just over $106,000 for tuition and fees -- plus $41,232 in living expenses, per Columbia’s estimate -- for a master’s degree in an unstable, layoff-ravaged industry where the median annual salary is less than $40,000 might seem ludicrous, or at least deserving of mockery.

“The higher ed Institution is crumbling,” journalist Josh Sternberg wrote on Twitter. “A $100,000 master's of science in data journalism degree?”

Chicago Tribune editor Charlie J. Johnson put his feelings more succinctly.

“A $100,000 master’s degree in journalism is a stupid thing,” he tweeted.

The new degree promises to “provide students with practical, hands-on training essential to producing deeply reported data-driven stories in the public interest,” according to a news release from Columbia.

The fourth master’s degree in the prestigious journalism program’s portfolio, it also comes with the highest price tag. Before fees, the institution's master of arts tuition is roughly $40,000 cheaper than the data journalism degree, with tuition at about $55,000. The master of science, as well as the master of science in journalism and computer science, both boast tuition at just more than $60,000.

The Ph.D. program has a tuition of $55,800.

For about $100K, Columbia Journalism School will make you about $100K poorer https://t.co/OMpJ51HP98 via @poynter

— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) August 5, 2017

Unpaid internships are problematic in well-known ways but paying $100,000 for a master's degree in journalism is much worse. https://t.co/9qPgnjJFKM

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 3, 2017

Steve Coll, the dean of Columbia’s graduate journalism program, told Poynter that the new degree's high price is worth it, saying data literacy is in high demand at news organizations.

"You would be a highly literate candidate to participate in the modern newsroom, where you have technologists working alongside journalists to create new engagement with the audience in the digital age," Coll said. "So the idea is, you could take these skills and be a world-beating investigative reporter in this era of big data, or you could equally apply your journalism vision to the newsroom of the future."

For those wishing to catch a break on tuition, Preston Cooper wrote an op-ed for Forbes, in which his math showed that if a student used government-backed loans and only paid the minimum amount on them, they could get away with paying just over half of the amount borrowed. The math assumed that the student would be making $45,000 after graduation, with the salary increasing 5 percent every year, and paying the balance over 20 years. After that period, the loan would be forgiven, leaving taxpayers to foot the remaining $177,857, interest included.

"Not everyone's going to get the Panama Papers," Giannina Segnini, data journalism program director at Columbia Journalism School, told Poynter.

"But if they did” -- and, he might add, if they have $150,000 -- “they would be able, from the technical side and the judgment side, to handle bulk data with this.”

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