New News: University World News

Will it be the global equivalent of the Chronicle, Inside Higher Ed and the Times Higher Education Supplement? They at least claim to be 'the first global window on higher education' (but of course I've been having a small global window on higher education since 2005;). What is this about? It's about a new information resource in higher education: University World News: With international competition and collaboration between universities growing apace, it has never been more important for higher education managers, researchers, scholars and public officials to keep abreast of developments in their…Read more …

Equity or Excellence in Education (or both?)?

One of the major current issues in (higher) education policy - in my opinion - is the issue of excellence versus equity. Is it most important to focus on the masses and see to it that everyone gets the same high quality education? Or should the country's prime talents be nurtured and given the opportunity to fully exploit their opportunities. Or, better yet, can you do both? The BBC Radio Documentary series 'The Changing World' investigates the dilemma, and what better places to visit than Finland on the one hand and the UK…Read more …

The Most Powerful Dutch Universities

Dutch newspaper the 'Volkskrant' has published its annual list of the 200 most influential Dutch people. The list portrays the Dutch 'old boys network' that rules the Netherlands through its interpersonal networks and interlocking boards and directorates. Clearly, the strength of weak ties at work; but how are these ties connected to the Dutch universities? Topping the list this year was Alexander Rinnooy Kan, Chairman of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER). His current profile lists chairmanships/memberships of a wide variety of boards and councils, ranging from multinationals to business…Read more …

And the winners are…

Yesterday was the single most (ok, second most) important annual event for science: the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. The Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded since 1991 for those scientific achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. They 'celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology'. In Harvard University, great scientists gathered to hear who would follow in the footsteps of eminent illustrious intellectuals like: Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University, for…Read more …

Athletics on Campus or Classes in the Arena?

As a European, my view on the relation between the university and sports is very straightforward. There's a health related function and a social function: the university provides facilities for students and staff to stay in shape and stay in touch. Simple as that! As a European in Australia, the prominence of athletics on campus surprised me in the early days when I got here (I'm pretty much surrounded by ovals and tennis courts). But then again, sports are pretty much part of everyday life here (especially the past few weeks) and obviously,…Read more …

Money can’t buy me… Or can it?

To what extent can you 'build' a high quality university from the ground up? Hard to say, but as long as you got plenty of oil money, why not try? The Saudi government is embarking on a very ambitious project and puts its billions behind Western-Style Higher Education. But Nature questions whether one of the fundamental principles of a 'western style' university (or in my opinion, any university) applies in Saudi Arabia and asks whether a Saudi university can think freely? Ziauddin Sardar, a UK-based writer, is skeptical: "The bureaucratic police state will…Read more …