All the best for 2008!

It's that time of the year again. Looking back upon the things that happened and thinking about the things to come. Sydney is busy preparing for the new year's eve celebrations and so am I. But at the same time I'm thinking about the changes that are going to come in 2008. And there will be some important ones. First of all, I'll be moving back to the Netherlands. After three years, my fellowship at the University of Sydney is coming to an end and so is my stay in wonderful Sydney. As…Read more …

Cognitive Enhancing Drugs in Academia

In a Nature commentary Barbara Sahakian & Sharon Morein-Zamir (University of Cambridge) discuss the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs in order to boost brainpower. And of course, these 'Professor's little helpers' are also penetrating those places where the brains are (or should be) most heavily used: academia. For many, it seems that the immediate and tangible benefits of taking these drugs are more persuasive than concerns about legal status and adverse effects. There are clear trends suggesting that the use of stimulants such as methylphenidate on college campuses is on the rise, and is…Read more …

The Department

Earlier this year Daniel Drezner discussed why there will never be a reality show about academia. Well... this is not reality, but pretty funny nevertheless. The Office Department: a merger between the Kennedy School of Government and the Government Department at Harvard. The difference? They (Kennedy School of Government) want to go and save the world. What we (Government Department) want to do is save the political science profession. I don't know which job is tougher. Probably the latter. [ht: CoreEcon / Dani Rodrik]Read more …

Xmas Workaholism among Scientists

A remarkable letter in today's correspondence section of Nature. For some odd reason, a group of scientists from Oxford and the National University of Singapore thought it would be a good idea to investigate the level of research activity of scientists during the holidays. In order to find out how many submissions were made to academic journals on Christmas Day between 1996 and 2006, Richard Ladle, Ana Malhado and Peter Todd searched Google Scholar for articles received on 25 December. Even taking into account the overall increase in the volume of submissions, there…Read more …

Secrecy and Accountability in the UNSW Asia Aftermath

I mentioned before that it has been difficult to find out the real reasons for the UNSW Asia closure in Singapore in May this year. The University of New South Wales has not exactly followed a transparent strategy in this issue (for my interpretation of the events, look at this post). A similar level of secrecy seems to be applied to the further handling of the case. This week the Singapore Straits Times reported that the University of New South Wales has agreed to repay some 25 million Australian dollars to Singapore. The…Read more …

The Lisbon Effect

Is it the great food with the wonderful local wines? Is it the amazing scenery? Is it the people? Why is Portugal, and Lisbon in particular, such a good place to come to an agreement? At least, that's what you're bound to conclude if you consider the amount of recent international documents named "The Lisbon ..." Having just spent a week in Portugal (Aveiro) to teach a course on Globalisation and the Knowledge Society for an Erasmus Mundus programme in Higher Education, I conclude it must be a combination of them. The great…Read more …

An OZ Higher Education Revolution?

Even though I am currently in Europe - the Netherlands and Portugal to be exact - I have been following the developments Down Under closely. The victory of Kevin Rudd and his Labor Party cannot exactly be called a surprise, with Labor having led the polls ever since Rudd became leader of the opposition. But what is the meaning of this new leadership for Australian higher education? Will Rudd's election really bring about the 'Education Revolution' that he promised? First of all, I'm happy that there is a change! After more than 11…Read more …