Realizing the Global University

What defines a global 'superpower'? In the past, it was the size of national armies or possession of nuclear weapons. But now there is a more important (and peaceful) benchmark: the size and prestige of university systems. And, while the US is still the global higher education 'superpower', China will soon be knocking it off top spot if current trends continue. ...a dramatic insight into just how rapidly China is moving in the higher education race... anything anyone in the West can easily imagine... a wake-up call to universities and governments around the…Read more …

English as a Lingua Franca

I ran into some interesting papers and essays on the issue of English as the lingua franca of contemporary higher education and science. They raise serious questions about the preservation of 'scientific languages', the ability to learn and teach in a non-native language, the homogenising tendencies of a lingua franca and even about flexible interpretation of plagiarism... Some time ago, biophysicist Stefan Klein wrote an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine about languages and science (Dümmer auf Englisch; English translation here: Dumber in English). Klein wants to ensure the future of German as a…Read more …

La Résistance

French President Sarkozy's plans for reforming the French economy and the French public sector appears to cause some resistance. From opera employees to fishermen, train drivers, civil servants and postmen, there is hardly a sector that does not complain of some 'right' being eroded. Transport workers are striking over government plans to do away with special retirement privileges; Civil servants will go on strike over a plan to streamline the bureaucracy; Judges and court clerks plan a protest against reforms to the court system; Air France cabin crew have threatened to resume a…Read more …

THES Ranking 2007 by Country

Ok...I seriously had the intention not to pay too much attention to the THES ranking this year. So this will be the last post about it (of course not the last post about rankings in general and their dynamics). I played around a bit with the data in Excel and had a look at it from a country perspective. I gave a score of 200 for the number one university (Harvard) and 1 for the number 200 (RMIT; U of Cape Town) etc., and than aggregated these scores for every country. The graph…Read more …

Eronomics 101

Isn't economics wonderful? It gives answers to all important questions in life. It even provides the tools for 'understanding the preferences underlying the search for a mate'. Or in other words, an economist goes to a bar and solves the mysteries of dating. At a local bar just off the Columbia campus, Raymond Fisman ran a speed-dating experiment with two psychologists, Sheena Iyengar and Itamar Simonson, and fellow economist Emir Kamenica. Some of their findings confirm the well known clichés, stereotypes and prejudices, other findings are more surprising: 260Read more …

THES University Ranking 2007

I have probably written more than I should about rankings, and especially the Times Higher Education Supplement list and its flaws and shortcomings, but I just couldn't resist... Here is a preview of this years results [last year between brackets]: 1 [1] Harvard US 2 [2] Cambridge UK 2 [3] Oxford UK 2 [4] Yale US 5 [9] Imperial College UK 6 [10] Princeton US 7 [7] Caltech US 7 [11] University of Chicago US 9 [25] University College London UK 10 [4] MIT US (...) 16 [16] Australian National University AU 27…Read more …

The Viability of Institutional Globalisation

Last month's Far Eastern Economic Review included an article by Simon Montlake on Singapore's Global School House strategy. The strategy has been formulated to contributes to Singapores development as a regional and global hub for research and development and - in Montlake's words - to shed a reputation as a stodgy, scripted society, where creativity is dulled by overzealous government regulation. The strategy targets a growth in foreign students from 80,000 now to 150,000 by 2015. This growth obviously cannot be solely absorbed by Singapore's two major universities, NUS and NTU and therefore…Read more …