Philantropy & Higher Education

Universities are becoming popular with donors. A recent report from private banking firm Coutts in association with The Centre for Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Social Justice University of Kent showed that in the UK, rich donors are more likely to give to universities than any other good cause. The Coutts Million Pound Donors Report (pdf) indicates that higher education received 45 donations of over a million pounds in 2006-2007. The total value of million-pound-plus donations to higher education was £296.5 million. Of direct donations over 1 million pounds in the UK, 42% went to…Read more …

Interactive Higher Education Policy [or HigherEd 2.0]

Both the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEST) of the Australian Commonwealth Government and the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) of the British Government are looking for news to organise and coordinate their higher education sector. For this, they have started a similar initiative. Both are relying heavily on input from the field and the broader society to get new ideas, and probably to receive more support for their future polices. Yet, there are some differences as well. In its Review of Higher Education, the Australian government has asked…Read more …

Is the UK going Down Under?

During my years in Sydney, the issue of language skills and foreign students has come up repeatedly. The claim was that the financial reliance on foreign students had forced Australian higher education to accept students that lack even the basic English language and communication skills. Most critical on this issue is probably Bob Birrell, Director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University in Melbourne. Last year he published a study finding that one in three overseas students which were granted permanent residency after graduating from an Australian university does…Read more …

Peer reviewing as a hidden subsidy

Even though I left academia recently, I try to keep in touch with the academic community and keep up with academic publications in the field. Because of this, I still accept most requests from journal editors to review their contributions. What annoys me however, is the fact that I do not have access to such journals anymore. My current employer has subscriptions on some journals, but definitely not on all the ones I am interested in. Considering the subscription fees of most journals I can't blame them. Today I read an interesting article in…Read more …

Counting what is measured or measuring what counts?

The Higher Education Funding Council published a report on the impact of rankings in the United Kingdom. It is probably one of the most extensive studies on ranking today. The study was conducted by the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information (CHERI) and Hobsons Research and is based on a survey of 91 higher education institutions in the UK and six institutional case studies. The researchers looked at five rankings in particular, three national ones (Sunday Times Good University Guide, The Times Good University Guide, The Guardian University Guide) and two international…Read more …

International Student Tribes and Territories

As you might know, I changed countries and positions in the last month, hence my lack of posts (now and probably in the very near future). As some of you might know, I left academia to work at the Nuffic, the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education. This week I started in the department of studies of their Knowledge and Innovation Directorate. One issue I'm currently looking at is the way foreign students choose their preferred study destinations. Market research organisation i-Graduate seems to have found all my answers already... or…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 …

Debating Education: Oxford 2.0 style

The Economist has taken the initiative to start a debate series. In the series, a range of topics will be debated in the Oxford 2.0 style. The first topic being debated is... Education. And you can decide on the topic that's being discussed. Five propositions that the Economist sees the most far-reaching and divisive aspects of the education debate, are short-listed . It covers a variety of topics ranging from the place of foreign students to the global digital divide to private contributions in higher ed. Here are the 5 selected propositions: 212Read more …

Higher Education in the 21st Century

From this weeks Times Higher Education Supplement: Nottingham owns a 37.5 per cent share in the Ningbo campus, a joint venture with the state-owned Wanli Education Group. Wanli provided the infrastructure, worth £14 million. Nottingham has spent a further £5.3 million in its Malaysia campus, in which it owns 29.1 per cent of the shares. A spokesman for Nottingham said that the university's current deficit of Pounds 8 million on a £345.9 million income was not tied directly to the China and Malaysia developments, as it had spent more than £200 million over…Read more …

Blame it on the rankings

Serious critique on rankings and league tables. This time not about the flawed methodologies and inaccuracies in the data collection, but on the detrimental effects of rankings. They 'erode academic vigour' and they 'threaten the country's prosperity'.In the Guardian, Geoffrey Alderman argues that the league tables lead to grade inflation and a lowering of standards in order for universities to appear high in the rankings:"How has British higher education got itself into this mess? Part of the answer lies in the league-table culture that now permeates the sector. The more firsts and upper…Read more …