17 September 2018

Varsities targeted as NSSF moves to audit growing list of defaulters By Victor Raballa THE DAILY NATION

Educational institutions are on the government radar in a move aimed at ensuring they honour their social security obligations to workers. In an audit to be carried out by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in partnership with workers’ unions, the institutions targeted include the 31 public universities, colleges, secondary and primary schools.


KENYA: Universities feel the brunt of a market-driven agenda By Wachira Kigotho UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

A quarter of a century ago, Uganda’s Makerere University embarked on an academic journey hitherto undreamt of in Sub-Saharan Africa: intensive marketisation of higher education…. Dubbed by the World Bank as a quiet revolution… public universities in East Africa, almost in their entirety, adopted this model…. Now the bubble is about to burst…

Sharing your research with the public can change minds By Shari Graydon UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS CANADA

At a time when too many public conversations are dominated by the simplistic tweets of a powerful man with a legendary disregard for the truth, news about some recent research was especially welcome. It turns out that well-reasoned arguments featuring nuanced analysis of complex issues – the kind published in respected newspapers and online hubs – regularly persuade readers to embrace new ideas.


Can universities beat contract cheating? By Ann McKie TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

As students increasingly turn to essay mills to do their work, Anna McKie explores what drives this global trend and how universities are fighting it…. An investigation by the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency in 2016 estimated that about 17,000 students are caught submitting ghostwritten essays each year in the UK – with the total number using essay mills likely to be far higher.


Learning gain: political expedient or meaningful measurement? By Alex Forsythe, Carol Evans, and Camille Kandiko Howson TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

The political craving for simple measures of learning gain is neither pedagogically informed nor sufficiently nuanced…. Measurement promises to provide transparency and comparability, motivate staff, improve quality and take you out for a beer on a Friday…. [T]he 2015 book Measurement Madness: Recognizing and Avoiding the Pitfalls of Performance Measurement [offers] countless examples of measurement’s tendency to change behaviour in perverse and cynical ways, rendering all those promises empty.



Investments in residential housing pay off for institutions that capitalize on the close link between student success and on-campus living…. Internal research conducted at higher education institutions indicates that students who live on campus perform better academically. In particular, the connection between two key measures of student success—graduation and retention rates—and requiring students to live on campus is becoming more evident.


Do the Right Thing BY Nancy Mann Jackson BUSINESS OFFICER MAGAZINE

To minimize fraud, institutions are implementing trickle-down prevention strategies to promote a culture of ethical decision making and practices…. College and university employees regularly face decisions that may not seem to have a black or white answer or could be swayed by a conflict of interest. Because many people don’t interpret gray areas the same way, institutions need to develop a written policy that clearly defines the behaviors that are unacceptable.

Why Is College in America So Expensive? By Amanda Ripley THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

The business of providing an education is so expensive because college is different from other things that people buy, argue Feldman and his colleague Robert Archibald in their 2011 book, Why Does College Cost So Much? College is a service, for one thing, not a product, which means it doesn’t get cheaper along with changes in manufacturing technology (economists call this affliction “cost disease”).


Evolving Workforce Expectations By Steven Bahls TRUSTEESHIP MAGAZINE

Effective shared governance is hard work that requires an explicit commitment to understanding the differing responsibilities and vantage points of boards, administrations, and faculty. However, the vantage points of each are not monolithic. As the individuals making up the institution’s workforce evolve, so too must systems of shared governance.


Here’s How Some Universities Are Raising Their Research Profiles By Eric Kelderman THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Saint Louis University is using several increasingly common strategies to increase the research dollars it receives from federal grants, private contracts, and philanthropic donations. The measures include seed funding for small, promising projects that can grow over time, and more support and training for faculty members seeking grants. Here are some other key strategies that colleges are using to improve their research profiles, attract more money, and move up the rankings.


Not enough diverse academic research is being published By Jenny J Lee and Alma Maldonado-Maldonado THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Altbach and De Wit fault the academic system of pushing unnecessary publications and recommend reducing scholarly publishing by encouraging it primarily at designated research universities…. [B]but their overall recommendation to limit scholarly output is not only unrealistic, it is also elitist because it does not address systemic issues related to global power and control. Rather, this suggestion magnifies them.


10 September 2017

Varsity bosses call for new funding mechanisms By Ouma Wanzala Sunday Nation

Eight vice-chancellors of leading universities in Africa want a new funding mechanisms created to support research-intensive institutions. They also want African governments to increase their support for research in general and provide targeted funding for research-intensive universities — in addition to the usual operational funds and tuition income currently available to these institutions. http://edition.nationmedia.com/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pnum=24&edid=2ad2e481-0c1d-4091-9a46-36f06cc638b9&isshared=true

Original article appeared The Conversation

AFRICA-CHINA: China ramps up support for African higher education, By Esther Nakkazi UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

China this week pledged to offer even more support to Africa for higher education and vocational training for development. At the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the Chinese government said it will honour its previous promises and increase opportunities for Africa’s young people – and pledged to provide Africa with 50,000 government scholarships and 50,000 training opportunities for seminars and workshops. It will also invite 2,000 young Africans to visit China for exchanges. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article php?story=20180907083412817

AFRICA: Helping young scientists to achieve their potential, By Anna Coussens, Abidemi James Akindele, Badre Abdeslam, Fridah Kanana and Mona Khoury-Kassabri UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

Young African scientists face persistent barriers which cause them to leave their own countries, and even academia. This means the continent’s work force loses highly trained people who are crucial for scientific and technological advancement, and for economic development. It’s estimated that 20,000 highly educated professionals leave the continent annually, with up to 30% of Africa’s scientists among them. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20180903144521762

SOUTH AFRICA: Helping universities to open the door to donor support, By Nazli Abrahams UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

Funding higher education has engendered considerable public discussion and debate since the ‘Fees Must Fall’ movement gathered momentum in South Africa in 2015. So it is heartening to share the results of an imaginative, long-term project providing support to university fundraising offices. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20180904082839160

Digital transformation still in the early stages, By Nadine Burquel and Anja Busch UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

In the digital world, digital devices and technologies are everywhere, connecting people in their social and professional lives. What are the implications for higher education institutions? How can they best prepare students for the digital world, not only by delivering cutting-edge knowledge about the opportunities and challenges technology offers, but also by making students fully digitally competent for new jobs that do not even exist today? http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20180904152118628

Canada’s Affordability Policies Are Worth a Good Long Look, By Alex Usher INSIDE HIGHER ED

Canada is perhaps the one country which is getting “high tuition/high aid” right, and for that reason is worth careful study. Canada does not get a lot of love from international higher education scholars.  Partly, it’s because no one wants to wade through the tedium of deciphering our ten different systems, and partly it’s because very few innovative ideas in higher education emerge here (we’re good at copying, less so at originating).  But in affordability policy, Canada has been genuinely – if somewhat accidentally – innovative.  Canada is perhaps the one country which is getting “high tuition/high aid” right, and for that reason is worth careful study. http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/canada’s-affordability-policies-are-worth-good-long-look

Beware! Academics are getting reeled in by scam journals, By Alex Gillis UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS CANADA

The number of predatory publishers is skyrocketing – and they’re eager to pounce on unsuspecting scholars. This past year, when an undergraduate biology student at the University of the Fraser Valley approached dean of science Lucy Lee for $2,000 to publish a paper in an academic journal, Dr. Lee had immediate concerns about the request. She’d had a bad experience with the journal in question, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, while doing a review for the publication. She discovered a lack of rigour in some of the journal’s articles, was alarmed at its many retractions and corrections, and had concerns with the journal’s practice of publishing an “acknowledgement” issue with a very long list of reviewers to make it look credible. https://www.universityaffairs.ca/features/feature-article/beware-academics-getting-reeled-scam-journals/

How Colleges Help Students Find Purpose in Their Work, By Kelly Field THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

The notion that liberal-arts colleges ought to prepare students for lives of purpose isn’t new. Proponents of the colleges would argue that it cuts to the core of their mission. But until recently, many college leaders assumed that if they started with smart students and gave them a well-rounded education, everything would fall into place, says Mark Peltz, dean for careers, life, and service at Grinnell College. Career exploration "was an afterthought — it wasn’t an institutional priority." https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-Colleges-Help-Students/244421

The Promise of the Experiential Liberal Arts, By Tim Cresswell THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Experiential education, an attempt to break down the barrier between classroom learning and everyday life, has long been a staple of professional disciplines. For the liberal arts, the partnership hasn’t come naturally. For many liberal-arts faculty members, an education should be for its own sake, not for job preparation. https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Promise-of-the/244419

If academics don’t acknowledge nuance, who will? Terri Apter THE TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Gender bias in the academy is all too real, but we should be just as wary of confirmation bias, says Terri Apter. Gender equality – and the unconscious biases that challenge it – is now a mainstream concern in academic life. Codes of conduct are drawn up in efforts to support dignity at work and at study. Efforts are made to free senior academic appointments from gender bias. Many believe there is a long way yet to go, but there is also a real danger of failing to see what has been achieved. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/if-academics-dont-acknowledge-nuance-who-will

The fragile generation and the coddling of young minds By Matthew Reisz THE TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Jonathan Haidt tells Matthew Reisz how a moral culture of ‘safetyism’ took root in today’s students, who view the use of any word that can cause offence as an act of violence. Jonathan Haidt describes his new book, The Coddling of the American Mind, as “a mystery story”. Something strange and significant started happening on campuses around 2015, he and his co-author Greg Lukian­off believe, which can be summed up in the word “safetyism” – and they want to know why. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/fragile-generation-and-coddling-young-minds