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UK: uncapped fast-track visa for int’l scientists

The PIE News - il y a 7 heures 27 min

The UK government has announced a new, fast-track visa scheme to attract the world’s top scientists, researchers and mathematicians into the country. The Global Talent route has no cap on the number of applications and will open as of February 20 – mere weeks after the UK leaves the EU.

The route replaces the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and, for the first time, UK Research and Innovation will endorse applicants from the scientific and research community.

It will provide for a new fast-track scheme which will enable UK-based research projects that have received awards, including from the European Space Agency and the Japan Science and Technology Agency, to recruit global talent.

“This announcement signals that the UK remains open to talent from around the world”

Ministers explained that it would also double the number of eligible fellowships which enable applicants to be fast-tracked, and provide an “accelerated path” to settled status for researchers who are endorsed on the route.

The reforms to the Global Talent route coincide with an investment of up to £300 million to fund experimental mathematical sciences research over the next five years.

Commenting on the announcement, prime minister, Boris Johnson, said that to lead the field and face the challenges of the future “we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting edge research”.

“That is why as we leave the EU I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality,” he added.

President of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of Brunel University London, Julia Buckingham described the Global Talent visa as a positive step towards this for UK universities.

“Universities are globally connected and this announcement signals that the UK remains open to talent from around the world,” she said.

The immigration rules to bring the visa changes into effect will be made on January 30, and come into effect on February 20.

The post UK: uncapped fast-track visa for int’l scientists appeared first on The PIE News.

China’s Greater Bay Area failing to draw HK students

The PIE News - il y a 7 heures 29 min

China’s plans to create the Greater Bay Area, an international business and economic hub encompassing Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in neighbouring Guangdong province, is proving unpopular with Hong Kong youth, according to a new study published by the Hong Kong Guangdong Youth Association.

Following months of protests against Beijing that have seen increased interest in studying outside of the city, the majority of young Hong Kongers interviewed said they had no interest in moving to other parts of the Greater Bay Area for either work or study, listing among their reasons concerns about the recognition of Chinese university qualifications.

Since the release of the Greater Bay Area development plan in February 2019, the respective local governments have introduced new measures and projects to promote exchange and integration.

“Universities in Hong Kong have been building up close collaborations with elite HE institutions in the Greater Bay Area”

“Universities in Hong Kong have been building up close collaborations with elite higher education institutions in the Greater Bay Area,” a spokesperson from Hong Kong’s education bureau told The PIE News.

“In the 2018/19 academic year, our publicly-funded universities had 292 and 32 research collaborative projects with institutions in Guangdong and Macao respectively.”

New regulations have also given the children of Hong Kong and Macanese parents the same access to education as those born in Guangdong in the hopes of encouraging more residents to work there.

According to the spokesperson, they are also “exploring the feasibility” of offering schools and classes in the Greater Bay Area using the Hong Kong curriculum.

The study also suggested not just dislike of going elsewhere in the area, but of students coming in, while over half of respondents believed Hong Kong universities should not welcome mainland Chinese students.

In the last academic year, 1,755 students from Guangdong and 127 students from Macao studied in publicly-funded programs at undergraduate and postgraduate level in Hong Kong. The most recent data from China’s Ministry of Education, from 2017, said almost 8,000 Hong Kong students were studying in Guangdong.

But while Hong Kongers may not be interested in the Greater Bay Area, according to Beijing-based consultancy Venture Education, other countries very much are. By 2022, there will be 13 independent British schools in Guangdong province, more than in both Beijing and Shanghai.

The post China’s Greater Bay Area failing to draw HK students appeared first on The PIE News.

Some colleges report possible coronavirus cases; experts emphasize importance of planning

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 8 heures 19 min

The coronavirus has come to U.S. campuses. Arizona public health officials announced Sunday that "a member of the Arizona State community who does not live in university housing" had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The person had recently traveled to Wuhan, China, where the virus originated.

Baylor University announced that one of its students was being tested by public health officials. Baylor said the student had recently traveled to China.

A student at Wesleyan University who developed a cough and fever after traveling through an airport where a patient identified to have coronavirus traveled is also being tested, the Hartford Courant reported.

A Tennessee Tech University student who was tested for the virus tested negative. A Texas A&M University student who was tested also tested negative.

Meanwhile, in China, Duke Kunshan University, which is located in a city almost 500 miles from Wuhan, has announced that it will suspend classes in all programs until Feb. 17.

As of Sunday evening there had been five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., including the case of the individual connected to Arizona State. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those infected with the virus experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, coughing and shortness of breath. CDC officials believe the symptoms can manifest as few as two or as many as 14 days after exposure.

The CDC said it considers the virus a serious public health threat and that outbreaks of novel viruses are always a cause for concern. Nonetheless, the agency considers the immediate risk to the American public to be low at this time.

The agency recommends against nonessential travel to China's Hubei Province, including the city of Wuhan.

At least 80 people have died from the virus, and Chinese authorities reportedly announced Sunday that Wuhan, a city of about 11 million people, may have 1,000 more cases. China has imposed strict travel restrictions for residents of Wuhan and at least 12 other cities in Hebei Province. The CDC last week began screening incoming travelers from Wuhan at five American airports.

With colleges being international hubs, home to internationally mobile students or faculty, it is possible they may see more cases from students or scholars who traveled to affected regions in China during the winter break.

China is the biggest country of origin for international students in the U.S., and Wuhan is the 18th-largest city of origin, according to data from 2008-12 compiled by the Brookings Institution. At that point there were about 8,000 students from Wuhan in the U.S.

Asked if there are special precautions colleges should take to screen faculty or students who have recently traveled to affected areas in China, James R. Jacobs, the chair of the American College Health Association’s Emerging Public Health Threats and Emergency Response Coalition, said that foremost is to follow the advice of the CDC and local health departments.

“At a minimum, health-care workers should inquire about travel history whenever evaluating a patient with fever,” said Jacobs, the executive director of Vaden Health Services at Stanford University.

“Coincidentally, we are in the middle of influenza season in the U.S., so institutions should already be in aggressive flu-prevention mode (hand washing, cough etiquette and so forth),” he added. “Further, institutions should continue to encourage seasonal flu vaccine for those who have not already received it, as anything that can be done to reduce the number of flu-like illnesses on campus will help to limit confusion if coronavirus illness begins to spread.”

"Many strains of coronaviruses are ubiquitous and are often responsible for symptoms that we attribute to the 'common cold,'" Jacobs said. "Similarly, coronavirus 2019-nCoV seemingly causes no or mild symptoms in most people infected by it." 

Jacobs said guidance for pandemic planning is available on ACHA’s website. "[T]he World Health Organization has not declared spread of coronavirus 2019-nCoV to have reached pandemic status, but the work of pandemic planning done by most campuses during the past 20 years for other respiratory viruses, such as SARS, H5N1 and H1N1, will be useful in preparing to respond to the appearance of 2019-nCoV," he said.

Other experts also emphasized the importance of planning. "I would be thinking about communication plans to keep everyone appraised of the nature of the respiratory threat and where to get advice, and where to get health care if their signs and symptoms meet that advice," said Gregory C. Gray, a professor of infectious disease at Duke University. "I would be thinking about trying to allay the fears that might cause the worried well to seek care unnecessarily."

In addition to a good communications plan, Gray emphasized the need for “a good strategy for how you would handle a high volume of people in your clinic,” including strategies for triage and for safely transporting individuals to hospitals as needed.

“I think that your student health service ought to be asking any student who comes in with a respiratory infection two questions: Have you been in China recently, and if not, have you had close contact with anybody who’s been in China recently? It’s low-tech, no-cost, but it’s terribly telling in selecting individuals who might be possible cases,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University.

Schaffner also said that educational outreach is critical. “In general, let the student body know about this and if you’ve been to China or had close contact with somebody who’s just returned from China that at the very first sign, don’t tough it out. Students have a tendency [to say], ‘Oh well, I’ll see how I feel in the morning.’ Don’t do that. Come [to the student health center] immediately and let us know in advance that you’re coming.”

"I would recommend to people that they stay ahead of the game," said Ron Waldman, a professor of global health at George Washington University. "This is a rapidly evolving situation; it could go south, and colleges should be prepared to implement the next step."

"We have the benefit of not being at the very front end," he added. "In China, they’ve basically cordoned off huge metropolitan areas."

As a final note, Waldman cautioned against potentially stigmatizing international students from China. “No stigma and no panic,” he said. “This is a call for caution, vigilance and surveillance.”

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One year in, 'Contingent Magazine' is going strong

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 8 heures 19 min

Historian Erin Bartram had no plan B when she published her painfully honest “quit lit” essay in early 2018. She was sick of being on the crappy tenure-track job market, sick of making $28,000 as a visiting assistant professor and, perhaps most of all, sick of people telling her how good her work was, to keep researching and writing no matter what.

“‘But your work is so valuable,’ people say. ‘It would be a shame not to find a way to publish it,’” Bartram wrote at the time. “Valuable to whom? To whom would the value of my labor accrue? And not to be too petty, but if it were so valuable, then why wouldn’t anyone pay me a stable living wage to do it?”

Two years later, Bartram’s plan B is taking shape: she’s got a part-time job that she loves designing and delivering education programs at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Connecticut. And while she doesn’t have a full-time job that supports her academic research (that work is “DOA,” she said recently), she’s helped create a venue for -- and which values -- another kind of writing. 

That venue is Contingent Magazine. The online history publication, now beginning its second year, is written primarily by trained historians working off the tenure track or outside of academe altogether. Its target audience is those who appreciate and enjoy history, but not necessarily academics: the magazine has some interesting traffic sources, such as high school history course websites (in additon to college and graduate school course sites). Articles are edited by historians but not peer reviewed in the traditional sense.

Contingent is funded entirely by readers, most of whom are graduate students and contingent academic historians pledging small donations. Some 210 are monthly sustainers and receive a few extra benefits. The site had 23,000 views in December. And, central to its mission, the magazine pays every single contributor, from $25 for short “postcards” from conferences, up to at least $500 for features.

Published pieces include those in a series on the historical underpinnings of Star Wars, the enduring meaning of Forrest Gump, food, immigration, colleges closing and Watergate. There have been articles on addiction, political candidates, the Civil War and revisionist history. Anything good goes. Sometimes contributors write up “field trips” to museums and historical sites, all of which reveal something about the process of doing history. Lists of books and journal articles published by non-tenure-track historians in 2019 were especially popular, and even resulted in some extra sales for book authors. And Contingent answers readers’ varied questions about the discipline of history.

A recent “Mailbag” column -- that’s Contingent-speak for answers to reader questions -- tackles, for instance, the historical cliché “Don’t we have to judge people by the standards of their time?”

“Not all historical inquiry is explicitly about judgment, and not all historical judgments are about good and bad, but neither are these things outside the boundaries of historical practice,” reads part of the Contingent primer. “Some discomfort with the idea of judgment seems rooted in the notion that judging the goodness of someone else’s choices is somehow unfair, especially if it’s lacking in understanding. But historical judgment isn’t inherently knee-jerk or ill-informed.”

Instead, the piece reads, “it can be, and most of us would say it should be, about learning, understanding and assessing.”

Bartram wrote that one up. And she doesn’t just write for the magazine -- she co-founded and edits it, along with two fellow historians: Bill Black, visiting professor at Western Kentucky University, and Marc Reyes, a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Connecticut. A web designer, Emily Eston, Judaica Digital Humanities Project Coordinator at Penn Libraries, also maintains Contingent, as does a larger board of directors.

A Magazine Is Born

Contingent’s origin story is worth telling, since not everyone was initially sure that the concept would work. In the middle of 2018, as Bartram was making good on her promise to leave academe, Black -- whom she knew primarily through Twitter -- messaged her about an idea: Shouldn't there be a place for historians to publish that isn't a blog, an academic journal, or all about political "hot takes"?

Bartram was interested. Then she thought Reyes, whom she’d met in her doctoral program at Connecticut, as a possible third partner. Discussions followed over email, Twitter and Skype, as did some sink-or-swim work on establishing a nonprofit organization and fundraising. There was an initial pledge push to fund the building of a website, some early content and the creation of a logo that purposely eschewed stereotypical “history” images of old books and the like.

Looking ahead, the editors put out the call for more pitches, including over social media. Historians answered.

Around the same time, last January, Bartram -- armed with Contingent stickers -- attended the American Historical Association meeting. The site had just gone live for a soft launch.

“We were not publicly known outside of a small circle” at that point, Bartram said. “A number of scholars said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to get it off the ground if you didn’t pay people?’”

But paying people was always nonnegotiable.

“I had been in three years of [visiting] positions without any research support,” Bartram said, “and I think it’s deeply unethical to ask people to share the research that they spent their own money without paying them. It’s a Ponzi scheme, where you are paid to do one part of your job and you pay to do the other.”

Bartram said that the magazine is also an opportunity -- even a challenge -- for anyone who’s ever wanted to “do something” for adjuncts. That is, they can donate and give non-tenure-track scholars a kind of “second life.”

At this year’s AHA meeting, earlier this month, Bartram heard different things -- mostly congratulations and “I didn’t think it would work!”

Conferencewide, there was much talk about how historians need to do more to engage the public in their work, to demonstrate its value.

As Contingent is aimed at the public, do its editors consider themselves to be leading the field in some, even small, way?

Bartram was neutral, saying she’s focused on what she can do to advocate for a field she loves, and not on the bigger, structural problems it faces (think adjunctification and devaluation of the humanities).

“What can I do? I can start a magazine with my friends and edit and pay scholars for their work,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think it will change things structurally, but it matters to the people who get $250 per piece.”

Black, Bartram’s co-founder, had a similar take.

“We wanted this to be a grassroots effort. If this was based out of a university department or think tank or something like that, the vision of what it was going to be would have been polluted by different kinds of incentives. This was going to be a thing we did for us.”

At the same time, Black said, “We very much hoped when we were starting Contingent up that we would be a model for other folks to follow and pick up on.” It’s “one thing to say that historians should write more with public audiences in mind, and what we want to stress is that that call can’t exist in an economic vacuum. It has to make economic sense for people to do that work.”

Even tenure-track professors, who are compensated for research, don’t always have the incentive to do public outreach, Black noted, due to the traditionally research-heavy values of promotion and tenure committees.

In any case, he said, “It’s a wild time. It certainly seems like there’s a lot in the air right now.”

One Team

Reyes, Bartram’s and Black’s co-founder, said there’s a strong sense of collaboration among the editors even though they work remotely -- Reyes most of all, as he was until very recently a Fulbright fellow in India.

He’s also “proud of the types and topics of the articles we have run so far,” from features to photo essays to a cartoon. One of Reyes's wishes for the future is that Contingent continues to attract such interesting, diverse pitches from contributors.

Speaking of contributors: Reyes said the best part of Contingent is working with them, as “seeing their work go from pitch to publish is such an exhilarating and rewarding experience.”

Looking back on a year of articles, one that sticks out to Black is “Mr. Kay,” published in April. The piece details not only the life of Mr. Kay, an “Issei,” or Japanese immigrant who came to the U.S. around the turn of the 20th century, but also what it feels like to “fall in love” with someone, something or some time from the past while doing archival research.

“How do we, as historians, care for those we meet in those manila envelopes?” preserved in those archives, the article asks. “How we do understand the emotions the work of history provokes within us?”

Black’s historical sensibilities run romantic, judging by his short list of favorite articles and the way he talks about them. But beyond being romantic, if tragic (Kay always hoped to return to Japan and never did, dying poor and alone in Chicago) the “Mr. Kay” story embodies what Contingent is all about: making transparent the work -- process-wise and personal -- of doing history.

There is no need to separate the historian from the history here. That, in turn, reminds any reader who ever fell in love with history why they did so in the first place. Indeed, if there’s any thread running through all of the pieces on Contingent, it’s a deep affection for history and all that it comprises.

The author of “Mr. Kay,” Sonia C. Gomez, an associate member at the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago and a senior associate at the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, said she started writing parts of it back in her second year of graduate school, in 2012. It look eight years to find Kay (a pseudonym) the right home, she said recently.

“I had some ideas and feelings about the materials I had uncovered, but I had no clear objective when I visited the building where he once lived and started to write about him,” Gomez said. She always knew, however, that a “traditional academic outlet was not where I wanted to go with his story and the other stories he represented.”

Gomez was immediately interested in Contingent when she heard about it on Twitter, and she even donated to the start-up fund.

“The idea of contingency in academia deeply resonated with me” at the time, Gomez said, as she was then a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and “keenly aware of my itinerant status.”

In addition to recognizing contingency, Gomez said the magazine fills “several gaping holes in academic history.” There's the history-is-for-everyone piece, she said, “which is incredibly important for many reasons -- including the continued existence of history as a discipline in the 21st century.” And circling back to the essence of Mr. Kay, Gomez said, “There’s the piece about demystifying the historian's craft, peeling back the curtains to show how we, historians, actually do history.”

For the record, Gomez said the process of working with Contingent also was pleasant.

“The editors were so very supportive and their questioning really pushed me to think more analytically about the story I wanted to tell.” Gomez is “grateful for the opportunity to have worked with them and have Mr. Kay out in the world.”

Stephenie McGucken, an adjunct instructor of art and design at the University of Tampa who earned her Ph.D. in art history at the University of Edinburgh in 2018, wrote a piece on medieval relics in Star Wars for Contingent’s series on those films and fandom. She also said recently that she’d been thinking about such a piece for a while (“medievalism and Star Wars really go well together,” she added). So Contingent’s call was the push she needed.

“I thought it was a great venue to explore those ideas for a more general audience that has intersecting interests.”

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Discussion about the future of the academy

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 8 heures 19 min

David Staley believes the university's future has yet to be determined.

While punditry about higher education suggests otherwise, said Staley, director of the Humanities Institute and an associate professor of history at Ohio State University, the academy has the power to imagine a different future from the headline-grabbing innovations of online learning, upskilling and mega-university models.

“Ours is a particularly fertile moment to imagine something new,” he said to a packed room Friday at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Washington.

Staley and others were discussing what the “college of the future” might look like. Johann Neem, chair of the history department at Western Washington University, said a key piece of that imagining is to separate the academy from the university.

“Instead of the universities getting rid of professors, what if we got rid of the university?” Neem said.

People have an innate curiosity and desire to learn and build a community, he said, which is why they go to yoga studios and join book groups. What if the academy set up shop in a similar fashion?

“We're afraid that, unless there’s a credential with a degree, nobody’s going to want to learn from me,” said Neem, author of the recently published book What's the Point of College? Seeking Purpose in an Age of Reform (Johns Hopkins University Press). “We insult people when we pretend that the only way they’re going to develop their intellect is because we force them to.”

To create something new, higher education will inevitably have to change. One piece is the departmentalization of college campuses, which Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of digital humanities and an English professor at Michigan State University, said is one reason university structures today are quite rigid.

Instead, Fitzpatrick said universities should be looking for ways to convene groups who are interested in particular issues, an approach that doesn’t align with departments.

Chad Wellmon, professor of German studies at the University of Virginia, said a “college corporate body” should give faculty members the responsibility of creating curricula, rather than pushing strategies like student-centered learning.

Staley said students seem to want an ability to design majors around an idea rather than a specific department. For example, one of his students said he is interested in happiness, which doesn’t have its own department but has been examined by philosophers, psychologists, writers and more.

And, while “breaking down silos is great,” he said faculty members then go back to their departments, where they are promoted and seek tenure.

Technology inevitably will be a factor in the future of higher education, but the panelists cautioned attendees against using it in the wrong way.

“I get super, super nervous when developers of technology like extended reality start talking about technology as an easy path to empathy,” Fitzpatrick said. “You can step into somebody else’s shoes in [virtual reality], but you’ve still got your own feet.”

While people often point to literature and reading as a way to build empathy, Fitzpatrick said that ability actually is developed in the discussion of reading, where people wade through what the words meant and how they each read it differently. She added that “shortcuts” to building community don't exist.

And the absence of such communities is a problem now, the panelists said. The future, Neem said, should center on how to build communities around shared pursuits of knowledge, and then upward from there.

Wellmon shared a similar vision, adding that "the academy is in a precarious position" right now, so protecting it -- through writing, teaching and researching -- is his focus.

“I’m no longer in the business of defending the university,” Wellmon said. “I'm here to defend and argue for the academy.”

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Independent bookstores mount inclusive access lawsuit

Inside Higher Ed - il y a 8 heures 19 min

Inclusive access programs, where students are automatically billed for their course materials, are increasingly big business for leading textbook publishers and college bookstores.

But for independent, off-campus bookstores, inclusive access programs could spell a death knell.

In a class-action lawsuit on Thursday, four companies representing independent bookstores accused publishers including Pearson, Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education and bookstore chains Barnes and Noble Education and Follett of trying to push them out of business.

In court documents, the independent bookstores describe inclusive access programs as a “conspiracy” whose “end goal and result is eliminating competitors and raising prices.”

“The defendants’ illegal actions have and will ultimately result in a total monopoly,” the suit says.  

In statements, both Cengage and Pearson said they were aware of the lawsuit and stand by the inclusive access model, which they maintain has increased affordability for students. “This complaint is entirely without merit,” said the Cengage statement. McGraw-Hill Education and Barnes and Noble Education declined to comment.

This lawsuit is not the first to challenge the inclusive access model. In 2019, Trident Technical College, a public two-year institution in Charleston, S.C., was sued on anticompetitive grounds by the Virginia Pirate Corporation, a company that owns a secondhand textbook store down the street from the college.

To automatically bill students for course materials, U.S. Department of Education regulations say colleges must offer these materials below a competitive market rate and must also give students a way to opt out of the program. Trident Tech was accused in the lawsuit of fulfilling neither of these requirements, which the institution denies.

Though unrelated, the two lawsuits raise similar issues. Opting out of an inclusive access program is not straightforward for students. “The ‘opt-out’ process, when there is one at all, is opaque, confusing and difficult if not impossible to execute,” said the plaintiffs in the most recent lawsuit. They add that some students who have asked to opt out of inclusive access programs have been told that there “is no opt-out available” or that they will be de-enrolled from a class if they opt out and seek substitute materials.

Kaitlyn Vitez, director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Campaign to Make Higher Education Affordable, said students should have multiple options for purchasing course materials, and that inclusive access programs have stifled competition. “The direction that the market is moving, especially with the proposed merger of Cengage and McGraw-Hill, is to dramatically reduce student choice,” she said.

Nicole Allen, director of open education at SPARC, harbors similar concerns about inclusive access programs. “Publishers are systematically eliminating choice, and this complaint highlights many of the ways this does harm,” she said.

“We’re on the verge of the textbook publishing industry becoming a duopoly, and you have to wonder how much worse it is going to get.”

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Chronicle of Higher Education: What It’s Like to Study Immigration in the Trump Era

Roberto Gonzales studies the lives of undocumented young people. The policies of the current administration have led to tension and challenges.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Unequal Spaces: How College Is Portrayed in Film

Public conceptions of the purpose of college have been shaped for the worse by the university-cinema–industrial complex, says the author of a new book.

Chronicle of Higher Education: For South Carolina’s Board, a Tough-Love Workshop Feels Like an Intervention

In the wake of a presidential search beset with political meddling, a consultant tells trustees they “swung and missed in a very high-profile way.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: How 5 Experts Say Colleges Can Create a ‘Holistic’ Student Experience

Even small shifts can make a difference. Here are five suggestions for supporting students’ success academically and personally, in college and beyond.

Chronicle of Higher Education: What a ‘Holistic’ Approach Actually Means

The goal of integrating learning and personal growth has taken on new urgency. The Chronicle recently hosted a roundtable discussion on what it takes to help students thrive.

read more

UWC: “prepare students for global risks”

The PIE News - ven, 01/24/2020 - 08:25

United World Colleges has called on the public and private sector to partner in education to increase leadership, encouragement and support for young students in order to prepare them for global risks, and create positive change.

Executive director, Jens Waltermann announced in a statement on January 20 that high-quality education needs to be available to not only the “financial elite”, but also to those of a lower socio-economic status.

“Only 23% of young refugees, for example, have any access to secondary education”

“Empowering education across social divides is needed to address the global risks spelt out in the WEF Global Risks Report 2020,” Waltermann said.

“The recently published report Schools of the Future by the WEF puts a strong emphasis on public-private partnerships and action in education, which are critical to preparing our young citizens for the new realities.”

UWC is a collective of international high schools across four continents that aims to unite “people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future” focusing on students between the ages of 16 to 19.

UWC’s Jens Waltermann calls for partnerships in public-private education. Photo: UWC

Having students across 18 schools, UWC greatly welcomes students from a vast diversity of backgrounds and aids students from lower socio-economic backgrounds by providing partial and full scholarships to those in need.

“Only when we have citizens who can work across boundaries to come up with shared solutions to shared problems are we on the path to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Waltermann stated.

UWC provides access to secondary education to young refugees from war-torn regions and prides itself on being one of the few international high schools to do so.

“Only 23% of young refugees, for example, have any access to secondary education. Yet at UWC you see what happens when local students, privileged and less privileged learn together with young refugees.”

Waltermann further stated that young refugees can often be examples to the “privileged” and by mixing students that are from diverse backgrounds they can learn from one another about conflict and come together to create a change to global risks.

The post UWC: “prepare students for global risks” appeared first on The PIE News.

Chronicle of Higher Education: U. of South Carolina’s ‘Fundamentally Misguided’ Trustees Let Politics Intrude on Jobs, Consultants Say

After a presidential search that smacked of partisanship, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges blasts the board for its lack of independence.

Verto Education raises $6.3m in funding

The PIE News - ven, 01/24/2020 - 07:38

US platform Verto Education raised US$6.3 million in seed round of funding late last year as it seeks to expand its pre-undergrad travel concept.

Verto Education, set up by study abroad entrepreneur Mitch Gordon, encourages Americans to travel overseas and earn college credit while doing so before embarking on their undergrad at home.

“This is transformative not only for their college experience but for the rest of their lives”

“We believe strongly that we need a fresh approach to college and that the current model prioritises wealthy students and has artificial barriers,” he commented.

“Through our innovative approach to a freshman year at college, we help our students mature, build emotional awareness, empathy, learn, and gain admission to a great four-year college.

Gordon told The PIE News that programs in South Pacific and Costa Rica are particularly popular, while newer ones in London, Madrid and Guam are also growing.

“This is transformative not only for their college experience but for the rest of their lives,” he added.

First Round Capital, GSV Ventures, 10xImpact and Box Group are among the new investors which participated in the round.

“We have been blown away by the Verto team’s passion and commitment to revolutionising how higher education can be experienced,” said Phineas Barnes, Partner at First Round Capital.

“Higher education has needed a new, innovative approach for a long time, and we are thrilled to be a part of accelerating Verto’s growth.”

Verto currently works with 31 partner institutions in the US, UK, Ireland and New Zealand which offer college credit for the Verto Education program undertaken.

The company, which was set up in 2019, offers a range of “campus semester” experiences and “field semester” experiences in a range of countries.

Going forward, Gordon told The PIE that the work being done by platforms such as Verto will be “more important than ever”.

“We need every student to have cross-cultural experiences and that’s our mission and our goal, to give students access to these types of opportunities and do it in a really affordable way.

“Access and affordability is really part of our mission,” he added.

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New Zealand universities report continued uptick in int’l enrolments

The PIE News - ven, 01/24/2020 - 07:02

New Zealand’s eight universities have reported 9.8% growth in the number of international student enrolments in 2018 when compared with 2017, an analysis has shown. Overall in 2018, international students studying at university contributed an estimated NZ$1.2 billion to the economy.

As education minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged late last year, “This is the first time in the last six years that the university sector has become the largest sector for international students.”

A new analysis of the benchmark by education marketing consultants Studymove has revealed that of the 30,007 total international enrolments in 2018, 38% were undergraduate students, 26% were postgraduate students, 17% were study abroad students, 9% were research students and 10% were exchange students.

The analysis also revealed that the eight New Zealand universities generated aggregate revenue of $492.8 million from international student fees (on-campus) in 2018, with all universities reporting an increment in revenue against the previous year.

More Indian students have been choosing New Zealand for the availability of the three-year PSW visa

“In aggregate, universities reported an increase of 13.9% in revenue in comparison with 2017,” the analysis read.

“After combining the results in revenue, international student enrolments and cost of living we can estimate that the 30,007 international students studying at New Zealand universities contributed $1.2 billion to the New Zealand economy during 2018.

“This figure confirms that the university sector provides the largest amount of international student fee revenue within the New Zealand international education industry,” it concluded.

Education agents continue to play an important role in the recruitment cycle, with the average proportion of students via agents for this group of universities reaching 44.5%.

In terms of commission, the analysis showed that universities paid around 4.6% of revenue income in commission to agents, compared with 4.2% in 2017.

“In the last five years, New Zealand universities [have] increased their engagement with education agents,” managing director of Studymove, Keri Ramirez told The PIE News.

He noted that in the past five years, New Zealand universities have changed their recruitment efforts “significantly”.

“When we started this project the main focus among New Zealand universities was on attracting “semester abroad” students mainly from Europe and the US,” he said.

“But in the last few years, universities decided to expand this approach and showcase the benefits of their education programs to undergraduate and postgraduate international candidates from other traditional markets such as China and India.

“This shift has been well received and as a result, New Zealand universities – and New Zealand as a country – are welcoming a larger number of international student enrolments and have benefited from a more diverse composition of nationalities,” he added.

All universities reported the nationality of a total of 12,768 international students from more than 100 countries in 2018, with China representing 34.6% of the total.

The US, India, Malaysia and Vietnam followed, representing a combined 34.5% of the total.

Market manager (South Asia) at the University of Waikato, Ashish Suri, told The PIE that one of the key reasons more Indian students have been choosing New Zealand in recent years has been the availability of the three-year post-study work visa for eligible students.

Suri said that Waikato has seen growth due to it being part of New Zealand’s ‘Golden Triangle’, an area bound by Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga that makes up over half of the country’s GDP and fills more than 50% of all jobs in the country.

“Living cost in Hamilton are significantly lower compared to other cities such as Auckland & Wellington,” he added.

In addition to inbound figures, Studymove’s analysis assessed the international mobility strategies implemented by all New Zealand universities.

Combining New Zealand citizens and international students from all academic levels, the eight universities reported an aggregate of 2,993 students who participated in outbound mobility programs during 2018 in comparison with 2,789 students in 2017.

In aggregate, all universities reported that 7.2% of students in New Zealand participated in an outbound mobility program during their degree in 2018, compared with 6.4% in 2017.

The top five study destinations for students in undergraduate and graduate programs in 2018 were the US, Australia, China, UK and Japan.

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CAEL’s growth due to full spectrum test, says Paragon

The PIE News - ven, 01/24/2020 - 05:47

Canadian test operator Paragon Testing has announced it is expecting “significant” further growth in the number of test takers sitting its computer edition of the Canadian Academic English Language, after a doubling of exams taken in its most recent financial year.

As well as growth in the volume of students considering Canada as a study destination, Juliana Ramza at Paragon claims it is the academic focus and spectrum of the test which is also fuelling growth.

“We have actually been approached by many Canadian universities and colleges because they are concerned with the inadequacy of the English language skills of students,” Ramza, manager of corporate relations, told The PIE News.

“They find that existing tests are not fully adequate as a screen. Paragon offers CAEL CE which is an integrated skills test which other tests do not do. The test prepares students for academic success at Canadian universities and colleges.”

More than 180 universities and colleges in Canada now accept the CAEL CE exam as evidence students have the necessary English proficiency to study at the institution – and the company is expanding its international locations where the test is available.

Along with 35 test centres in Canada offering the CAEL CE Test, locations in Hong Kong, India, Philippines, United Arab Emirates, United States, and mainland China also provide the exam.

In February 2020, the test will be available in several more cities in India, adding to its current test centre in Chandigarh, in the north of the country. Paragon is also working to open test centres in Vietnam during 2020, detailed Ramza.

“The number of CAEL CE test takers doubled in Canada in our last financial year, and in this current year, we expect the number of test takers in Canada to grow significantly again.”

By working closely with admissions officers, Paragon has continued to “deepen our relationships with recruiters at the Canadian universities and colleges as well”, Ramza added.

Paragon Testing has also launched two CAEL Scholarships for international students worth CAN$5,000 each – one to a student currently studying in Canada, and one to a student currently studying overseas.

Applications close in April 2020.

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EC awards €8.5m to mobility projects

The PIE News - ven, 01/24/2020 - 04:40

The European Commission has made €8.5 million available for three pilot projects focusing on vocational education and training mobility in Africa, the Western Balkans and the rest of Europe.

The Intervet – Internationalisation of VET systems in Western Balkans – will receive €2m, as it aims to improve the mobility of VET learners and competence building of teachers and staff.

“Africa and the Western Balkans are a political and strategic priority for the EU”

Associations, schools and SMEs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo are involved, as are eight EU member states.

In Africa, €2.5m has been awarded to Overstep, a joint alliance that aims to share best practice between African and European VET systems. Additionally, Supporting Alliance for African Mobility received €4m to coordinate 32 VET organisations across 8 EU member states and 13 African countries.

“Africa and the Western Balkans are a political and strategic priority for the EU,” said EU commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.

“We, therefore, have to ensure the full use of all our existing instruments and offer real opportunities to our partners.

“We must make sure to link vocational education and training to the needs of their labour markets, specifically in sectors with high potential for job creation, such as manufacturing and agriculture.”

Overstep aims to develop the technical and transferable skills that will aid learner employment, and promote collaboration between VET providers in 10 African countries and EU member states, Italy, France and Spain.

SAAM will use existing professional training centres, on-formal training organisations, NGOs and European umbrella organisations to support the mobility of VET teachers.

It will also develop new curricula, methodologies, technologies and management while supporting training job-shadowing.

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EWF 2020 highlights “crisis” in education

The PIE News - ven, 01/24/2020 - 03:11

Speakers at the Education World Forum 2020 in London discussed a “crisis in education”, airing concerns that Sustainable Development Goal 4  – which includes universal primary and secondary schooling and universal literacy for children among its aims – will not be met by the 2030 deadline.

“I think what we need to recognise is that despite some improvements, we have two problems,” said Jaime Saavedra, senior director of education at the World Bank’s Education Global Practice.

“One is that millions of children are still not in school, so we still have not solved the quantity issue. But in addition to that, we have a huge quality [issue] in education.

“The budget of [our] government for the whole year is roughly equivalent to one high school in the UK”

“The one thing we were interested in at the World Bank is how we make sure that everyone understands that we don’t have a problem, but that we have a crisis, an extremely serious crisis,” he warned.

According to Saavedra, in lower and middle-income countries 53% of 10-year-olds cannot read and understand a simple story. This rises to an estimated 90% in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Unfortunately we think that [SDG4] is not going to happen… If we continue [the current] trends, that number will go down from 53% to only 43%,” he added, noting that even to reduce rates by half would require countries doubling or tripling their rate of improvement.

However, for some countries, Saavedra continued, the money needed to implement changes and reforms that would help meet SDG4 simply isn’t there.

“We have a situation where only 23% of school-age children in the country are attending primary schools and 15% secondary schools,” said the Somali minister for Education, Abdullahi Godah Barre, during one session.

“The budget of the government for the whole year is roughly equivalent to one high school in the UK.”

The importance of pre-primary education was also highlighted, particularly with regards to how it can promote continuing education as children grow up.

Despite around a third of countries dedicating less than 2% of their budgets to it, places such as Bulgaria, Ecuador and Mongolia allocate more than 20% of their education budgets to pre-primary education.

In Mongolia, this has been credited with creating near-universal access to pre-primary education, tripling the rate between 2000 and 2017.

A lot of the recommendations for improving global education centred on a need to “work together” and “innovate”, as well as for leaders to “recognise the importance of collecting data”.

Developments in edtech were praised for improving education access for disabled children, though there appeared to remain some questions about how it can be best used in disadvantaged areas.

“I do think the glass is half full. If we look back in the 1950s, some 50% of primary school children were out of school,” said Robert Jenkins, chief of education at UNICEF.

“In Vietnam, primary school enrolment is now near-universal”

“Within countries, there have been notable successes. For example, in Vietnam, primary school enrolment is now near-universal, with lower and upper secondary school enrolment not far behind.

“However, we should not sit back and congratulate ourselves. Today 9% of primary school-aged children remain out of school and this has not changed since 2008.”

The OECD’s director of education and skills, Andreas Schleicher, explained that reforms in education are not just an issue for low and middle-income countries.

He advocated a greater focus on employability and a rethink of education and how it can be adapted for the digital era, emphasising that “the things that are easy to test and assess are also the things that are easy to automate”.

“We have employers not finding people with the right skills and young people with a good education not finding jobs,” he told the audience.

“[Bridging] this gap between what the world requires and what people know is easy to talk about and really, really hard to do.”

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Kings announces three US partnerships

The PIE News - ven, 01/24/2020 - 02:35

International education group Kings has announced new partnerships and collaborations with three US universities located in California, New York and Wisconsin.

Kings specialise in university pathways and English language teaching in the US and UK and the company’s Guaranteed Outcome programs also guarantee admission to a top 100 university.

“In launching not one, not two but three great new university options for our students, we are aiming to start 2020 with a bang,” said Jose Flores, managing director of Kings US.

“UW Oshkosh will be popular in Latin America as well as North and South East Asia”

In Wisconsin, Kings has extended its current relationship with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh by securing a new long-term partnership.

The partnership opens up both new campus and new program opportunities for students such as ‘GO: Madison’, which enables students to spend two years at either the UW Oshkosh Fond du Lac campus or Fox Cities campus before the guarantee of transfer to UW-Madison.

Kings has also announced a new agreement with California State University, Fullerton for students to study the first two years of their degree at CSUF before transferring to a top US university with Kings support on campus.

Programs available include ‘GO: 50’ and ‘GO: 100’, which guarantee transfer to a top 50 or 100 university after two to four semesters, depending on the aptitude and profile of the student.

Finally, Kings has also established a new partnership with the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York City.

The college is 30 minutes to Midtown and programs available include guaranteed transfer to the University of Rochester after three to four semesters, as well as ‘GO:50’ and ‘GO: 100’ programs.

Speaking with The PIE News, Kings’ marketing director Andrew Green said that one of the reasons behind the choice of partnerships is that along with Boston, New York and California represent the most popular destinations for international students seeking university education in the US.

“Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is a case of expanding our current arrangement with UW to incorporate a full university campus at Oshkosh as well as other campuses at Fond du Lac and Fox Cities,” he added.

Green said he believes Cal State Fullerton will have strong appeal in China and all main source markets, where the brand name is already well regarded.

“UW Oshkosh will be popular in Latin America as well as North and South East Asia. India will also be a strong market for the graduate programs offered at UW Oshkosh,” he continued.

Green told The PIE that while the US pathway market has been under pressure as of late and that macro-political factors have had an impact, “as a relatively small boutique operator” he believes there is plenty of headroom for growth.

“With the right blend of product and destination, coupled with a demonstrable track record of securing elite top 50 / top 100 graduation outcomes, we are confident that we will grow numbers over the coming cycles even in challenging times,” he added.

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Catholic colleges develop apps for natural family planning

Inside Higher Ed - ven, 01/24/2020 - 01:00

Natural family planning has been having a bit of a moment.

Natural Cycles, a family planning app approved by the European Union as contraception, has been alternatively held up as both a savior and a scam. Research has rated the app 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, better than both condoms and the pill. The company raised $30 million in funding in 2017. But when a Stockholm hospital reported that nearly 6 percent of women seeking abortions there were using the app as their primary form of birth control, the company struggled with the resulting PR crisis.

Natural family planning methods, also called fertility awareness methods, involve tracking a woman’s fertile cycle and -- to prevent pregnancy -- abstaining from sex on days of high fertility (the process can be reversed for those trying to achieve pregnancy).

Both Marquette and Georgetown Universities have been, on a smaller scale, carving out their own part of that app space. The two Jesuit colleges have been involved in developing their own family planning methods, devices and phone apps. Roman Catholicism, like some other religions, eschews all other methods of birth control.

At Marquette, the Institute for Natural Family Planning created the Marquette Model in 1998. The method requires a woman to track her hormone levels with a urine monitor (it looks similar to a pregnancy test) and gives the option to input additional data, like body temperature and cervical mucus levels.

The institute now does research on the model’s efficacy and potential side effects and has also developed an app for couples. The Marquette Fertility app was launched in 2017 for both Apple and Android devices, though it will soon be taken down for redevelopment.

Georgetown's Institute for Reproductive Health has been involved in the development of iCycleBeads, another fertility awareness app. Staff at the institute developed both the Standard Days Method and the CycleBeads device that the app is based on. The Standard Days Method involves abstaining from sex on days eight through 19 of a woman’s cycle, and the CycleBeads, a ring of colored beads with a movable rubber marker, are a device to help keep track of those days. Georgetown owns the patent on the beads, which it has licensed to Cycle Technologies, the creator of the app.

Georgetown also developed the TwoDay Method, now being used in Cycle Technologies’ 2Day family planning app.

The institute now has been conducting research on the efficacy of the apps and other Cycle Technologies products. It also has highlighted work to bring related technology to India and other countries with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The institute did not respond to requests for comment.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the Marquette Method has a failure rate of 11 to 14 percent with typical use, factoring in human error. Georgetown’s Standard Days Method has a 8 to 25 percent failure rate, and its TwoDay Method has a 14 percent failure rate. For comparison, birth control pills fail about 9 percent of the time, and condoms 13 percent. The most effective forms of birth control are hormonal implants, sterilization and abstinence.

Though neither university appears to be officially encouraging natural family planning by students, both have strict regulations regarding most other contraception.

At Georgetown, all businesses on main campus property are prohibited from selling condoms. Doctors at the student health center cannot prescribe hormonal birth control except for a medical reason, such as migraines or cramps. When the pill is prescribed, it is not sold at the Georgetown Medical Center pharmacy.

H*yas for Choice, the university’s pro-choice group, has been unrecognized by the administration since 1992. (In the 14 months the university did fund the group, a petition was created and sent to Pope John Paul II, with over 1,500 signatories asking that the Vatican revoke the university’s Catholic status.)

Marquette Medical Clinic will similarly not dispense condoms or prescribe birth control for nonmedical reasons.

Richard Fehring, director of the institute at Marquette, said natural family planning has been unjustly mocked and maligned by people who haven’t recognized that the model has moved far beyond the rhythm method to become much more effective.

“Natural family planning will maybe get a little paragraph in a textbook,” he said. “It’s sort of laughed upon.”

Fehring emphasized that while some women may be motivated by religion to use the methods, many are simply concerned about the pill and associated health risks.

“They don’t want to use artificial things to put into their bodies,” he said.

While the scientific consensus is that the majority of women do not experience adverse effects on hormonal birth control, google “going off the pill” and you’ll find a litany of articles from women who report that long-term contraceptive use gave them depression, decreased libido or a different personality. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, has classified birth control pills as carcinogenic.

While some other apps suggest the user employ condoms on her high-fertility days, the Marquette Fertility app, in line with Catholic teaching, suggests abstaining from intercourse on during those days.

“It is healthy for couples to integrate and learn to live with their fertility,” Fehring said. “For couples who are on natural family planning, the act of intercourse remains new and exciting because of that periodic abstaining.”

The Marquette institute also educates health professionals on how to help patients who want to use the method. Natural family planning often is helped by the guidance of a medical professional, because the process tends to require more commitment and discipline on the part of the patient than other methods.

While Catholicism may not be a part of every woman's decision to use natural family planning, the Church, Fehring said, is definitely supportive.

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