Go West!

Blogging will probably become even slower the coming months. My research is taking me to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands and the US. In between I'll do a week of teaching in Portugal and I'll stay in India and Canada for social visits. I will try to post occasionally on higher education and science issues in the countries where I stay. First up is Indonesia, then comes Malaysia...Read more …

Universities and Regional Development

Austan Goolsbee (a professor in economics at the University of Chicago) advises regions in the US to think twice about jumping the 'Sillicon Valley Bandwagon'. In an article in the New York Times he claims that funding local universities as a strategy for regional economic development is not likely to work. The need for caution is based mainly on the mobility of graduates and researchers.Students from local colleges, frequently move out of state when they graduate:If Stanford can hatch world-famous companies around Palo Alto, politicians assume, their colleges can, too. But with so…Read more …

What if…?

A few more weeks and it's been 5 years. For some it's the time to ask themselves: what if 9/11 never happened?We'd be in a tense standoff with China?Your apartment would be worth a lot less? The Supreme Court would have a monument to the ten commandments?Bush's war would be at home?We'd have bought a little time?New York would be unrecognizable?Freddy Ferrer would be mayor?The London airplane plot would have worked?The new downtown? The new west side? Atlantic yards? Forget it.The US would have a sane oil policy?We wouldn't look up?We'd have peace,…Read more …

Prestigious Universities & Quality Education

Harvard, Princeton, London School of Economics. Prestigious universities with reputable academics and therefore a popular destination for students seeking high quality education. These universities score high on most rankings both internationally (THES rankings or the Shanghai Jiao Tong World Universities Ranking) and domestic (US News & World Report in the US and the Good Universities Guide in the UK). But... does that mean that students will get their high quality education?The cover of Time (USA) and an op-ed piece for the Times Higher Education Supplement (UK) by Erik Ringmar seem to question this.…Read more …

Whose European Higher Education?

Last Month, the Dutch Central Planning Agency (CPB; international name: Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) published a report on the role of Europe in higher education: "Higher education: Time for coordination on a European level?" (in English). More specifically, they asked the question whether there are valid reasons for more European (as opposed to national) coordination of higher education. Their final conclusion is NO: there is little empirical data that supports a shift towards European coordination of higher education. The authors claim that neither economies of scale, nor the existence of external…Read more …