Mobility Stats: Mapping Mobility & Open Doors

Two international education organisations, Nuffic from the Netherlands and the Washington based Institute of International Education (IIE) published their international student mobility statistics this week. While Open Doors is being published by IIE already since 1948, the Nuffic publication – Mapping Mobility – was published for the first time in 2010. Although Nuffic published international education statistics before, this is the first one solely focused on higher education. Growth One finding of the Open Doors report was that the influx of international students into the US continued to grow modestly. Compared to the…Read more …

Dutch universities & the ranking season

Ranking season is over. Yesterday, the Times Higher published its new ranking and that also marked the end of the ranking season for this year. After the Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking, the Leiden ranking, the QS ranking and the Taiwan ranking, this was the fifth attempt to illustrate the differences in quality of the world’s universities. Whether they succeeded in this remains a question of debate. Although there are quite some differences in the results of the rankings, a few common observations can be made. First of all, it is clear that the…Read more …

What does the future hold for (Dutch) higher ed?

And another academic year begins… The first Monday in September traditionally marks the start of the academic year in the Netherlands. It's the occasion where university leaders look ahead to the year to come and where inspiring speakers are invited to present their views and opinions. It is also an opportunity to see what the big issues are in Dutch higher education and how prominent is the international dimension in these issues. What will upcoming speakers (and past speakers, in those cases where the opening of the year took place prior to today)…Read more …

Does past performance influence success in grant applications?

Last week, the Dutch Volkskrant reported on an interesting study on the distribution of research funding by the Netherlands Research Council (NWO). Loet Leydesdorff (one of the researchers that introduced the Triple Helix concept) and Peter van den Besselaar - both of the Amsterdam School of Communications Research of the University of Amsterdam - conducted a study on the grant allocation decisions of the Netherlands Research Council in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the Netherlands. Besselaar and Leydesdorff tested whether the grant decisions correlate with the past performances of the applicants in…Read more …

What if I graduated from Amherst or ENS de Lyon…

What if I graduated from Amherst College or the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, I was not a European citizen and I would like to pursue a career in the Netherlands? Well, the Dutch government would say I was not educated sufficiently to enter the Netherlands. You might ask yourself why? Isn't the ENS de Lyon a good school? Actually it is, according to its 72nd place in the 2006 THES rankings. No, it's not that ENS Lyon is a lousy university. It's just that they ended up on rank number 157 of…Read more …

Foreign Students and the Global Competition for Talent

The OECD recently published a very interesting report on skilled migration and the diffusion of knowledge: The Global Competition for Talent: Mobility of the Highly Skilled. This publication can be seen as a follow-up of the 2002 report International Mobility of the Highly Skilled. Here's a short summary of the summary: "International mobility of human resources in science and technology is of growing importance and can have important impacts on knowledge creation and diffusion in both receiving and sending countries indicating that it is not necessarily a zero-sum game. Receiving countries benefit from…Read more …

On the use of rankings and league tables

Just before going to a meeting on rankings I saw this. It is from the proposed new immigration policy: Blueprint for a modern migration policy (pdf; in Dutch). As in so many other immigration countries, it contains a chapter on skilled migration. Here is a translation of the passage that surprised me: Anticipating the implementation of the new migration system, the government will at the latest in the first half of 2009 introduce a regulation for highly skilled immigrants. On the basis of the regulation, foreigners can stay in the country for a…Read more …

Market share and competition

In the Dutch weekly journal ESB (Economic and Statistical Reports), economists from the universities of Groningen and Rotterdam presented an interesting article. Their starting assumption is that high student evaluations will have a positive effect on the market share of universities. After all, if a programme in a particular university is highly ranked by students, more students will chose this particular university to attend that programme. The authors collected six year of student evaluations where students rate their programmes on a scale of 1-10  (as published annually in the Dutch weekly magazine Elsevier).…Read more …

A Teacher Certificate for New Academics?

Some more interesting news from the Netherlands. According to an article in Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant, new teachers at Dutch universities will need to get a teaching certificate. All universities will require starting assistant professors/lecturers to get such a certificate within a few years from the start of their position. At one university - that already used a similar system - early career academics spend around 260 hours for the teacher training. I'm happy with the attention given to teaching, especially because of the current over-emphasis on research (because it is easily quantifiable…Read more …

Iranian students, international security & academic freedom

After 9/11 the number of international students in the US dropped considerably due stricter visa requirements and security regulations. Just now that the US is relaxing the regulations, the Netherlands seems to become more restrictive towards international students, at least those from specific countries. My former university - the University of Twente - this week announced that they had rejected a number of Iranian students and that they will not be able to process new applications from Iranian students. Is the University of Twente (UT) getting paranoid? No! They are acting according to…Read more …

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 …

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 …

Brussels Sprouts and Meatballs…

While the rest of the world is concerned with petty issues like the quality of education, access to education, excellence in education, etc, some enlightened patriots with a judaeo-christian heritage xenophobic Dutch Members of Parliament see to it that their Ministry of Education deals with the questions that really matter. Here's a translation of the formal letter to the deputy minister of education [pdf]: Questions of Members Wilders and Bosma for the Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences, Mrs. Bijsterveldt-Vliegenthart about Halal-meals during a school outing of an ROC (ROC stands for…Read more …

Things have changed

Not many blog posts these days...and that won't change too much in the next few weeks. I'm working hard to finish two papers for two conferences next month in Austria and Ireland. Before the conferences, I'll be in the Netherlands for a few weeks. And talking about the Netherlands... During my frequent short term writer's blocks I stumbled upon this video called "Sex, Drugs and Democracy", a documentary about the liberal nature of Dutch society. At least.... the way it was in 1994. It starts with the usual stuff. By now, everyone probably…Read more …