VCs Weekly Higher Education Digest: March 11, 2019

KENYA: National Research Fund's unfunded mandate By Maina Waruru UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

The National Research Fund (NRF) is yet to receive from the Kenyan national treasury an estimated KES2.9 billion (US$29 million) owed to researchers in the form of grants, leaving researchers and academics unable to forge ahead with planned projects…. Troubles for the research funder, which was created five years ago, come a year after it made its maiden grants of approximately KES3.4 billion (US$34 million), money it disbursed at a ceremony in Nairobi on 14 December 2017.

An Uncertain Outlook By Kenneth E Redd BUSINESS OFFICER

Over the past nine years, investors have benefitted from one of the longest bull markets in U.S. history. From the depths of the Great Recession in 2009 and through the period up to June 2017, actions taken by policymakers around the world have led to lower interest rates, higher job gains, and stronger economic growth…. But as the summer of 2018 became fall, these bright financial skies started turning cloudy…. During the September-December quarter of FY19, the S&P 500 lost nearly 14 percent of its value.

Hyperconvergence hits higher ed IT By Esther Shein UNIVERSITY BUSINESS

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) has been a mainstay in the corporate world for a few years, and the wave of higher ed IT leaders now moving to this model say the buzz around it is warranted. HCI incorporates computing, storage, networking and virtualization resources. This integration reduces the amount of hardware needed, changing the face of data centers. The technology is gaining momentum.

Protection from Legal Storms By Lori Burkhart CURRENTS

Whether it be a small business, intellectual property, or the stud rights to a thoroughbred horse, new and unique ways to give to education have exploded over the years, providing both opportunities and challenges to institutions looking to diversify their financial standings…. And if institutions don't keep abreast of these changes and trends in law, practice, and industry, they run the risk of damaging relationships with donors, ruining their reputation, and potentially facing legal challenges.

Building a Research Mind: Using data to set goals and make informed decisions By Caitlin Lukacs CURRENTS

Research, in general, is a fairly well-understood concept in the advancement world…. But what does it mean to have a research mind?... In Score! Data-Driven Success for Your Advancement Team, Peter Wylie writes: "In a world that increasingly runs on data and the interpretation of data, university advancement and nonprofit work still tends to follow a combination of gut instinct, intuition, experience, and methods that have worked in the past."

Seeing SRI in Context BUSINESS OFFICER By Stefan M Gray

Data from the 2017 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments show that college and university endowments that use socially responsible investing strategies can produce long-term returns that are approximately equal to those of non-SRI users. Institutional and individual investors in the private sector have been debating for decades the impact of socially responsible investing (SRI)—which is sometimes referred to as environmental, social, and governance (ESG)—on financial returns. More recently, higher education investors have been discussing the value of SRI for their own communities.

SADC meeting agrees on need for STEM in industrialisation By Tonderayi Mukeredzi UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

Higher education curricula in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) must pivot on science, technology and innovation if industrialisation of the region is to be achieved, as envisaged in the bloc’s Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2063. This emerged from the first SADC regional conference of vice-chancellors and deans of education, science and technology; policy-makers; ministers of education and training, science, technology and innovation; and development partners…

Reading, Writing, and Resilience By Terry Nguyen THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

At colleges nationwide, students have grown vocal — agitated, even — for increased mental-health services…. Even with campus counseling services booked weeks in advance and students often referred out of the campus clinic, universities are in a crisis…. Many colleges are looking to take preventive measures. At a few, that includes incorporating mental-health and wellness training into the curriculum.

Many university staff back prosecuting students over essay mills By Anna McKie TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Essay mills should be made illegal and the punishments for students who use them must be harsher, according to academics surveyed by Times Higher Education, following publication of a new journal paper that finds “surprising” levels of support among university staff “for the criminalising of student use of these services”.

Academia’s grey markets offer rich pickings for the untenured By Anonymous TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Marketisation, precarity and global competition have combined to create a vast market for academic ghostwriting…. Immense opportunity has been created by rising tuition fees and the accompanying unwritten rule that prohibits academics from failing students even when they harbour suspicions about the authorship of their submitted work. Universities need to get them in and crank them out – preferably in master’s courses. Who do you think writes all those theses? The students? Get real.

Universities switch on to YouTube student influencers By Chris Stokel-Walker TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

Student vloggers are the perfect 'weapon to target university applicants', increasingly regarded as more powerful than other marketing methods. As well as preparing prospectuses and hosting open days that show off their campuses, universities across the world are recognising the power of student influencers to sway prospective applicants’ decisions to attend university.

When a degree just isn’t enough, also offer upskilling By Nita Temmerman UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

We are hearing more and more about the ever-necessary requirement in today’s competitive, fast paced, technology-driven society to either reskill or upskill. Lifelong learning is no longer a slogan or an option, but a reality – a necessity….So where might university graduates turn to gain up-to-date employment skills not obtained through their university academic degree?

The Stigma of Choosing Trade School Over College By Meg E-Spirit THE ATLANTIC

Many jobs now require specialized training in technology that bachelor’s programs are usually too broad to address, leading to more “last mile”–type vocational-education programs after the completion of a degree…. This shift in the job and education markets can leave parents feeling unsure about the career path their children choose to pursue. Lack of knowledge and misconceptions about the trades can lead parents to steer their kids away from these programs, when vocational training might be a surer path to a stable job.

How to equip graduates for the future By Anna McKie TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION

It is a truism to note that the world is changing rapidly. Global warming, population growth and the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics are only some of the more obvious phenomena set to transform society over the coming decades…. For this reason, research has become much more interdisciplinary in recent years…. Yet, so far, the interdisciplinary spirit has typically penetrated less deeply into teaching.

Teaching vs research – A real tension for young scholars By Christabel Ligami UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

Tension between the dual functions of teaching and research in African universities is having a negative impact on the prospects of young African scientists, according to Professor Johann Mouton…. Speaking at the opening of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Young Scholars in Africa Conference which took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 1-3 March, Mouton said the notion that teaching and research functions should supplement each other seems more like a paradox than an ideal in many African universities.

Lecture Halls for Learning, Not Watching Netflix By Lindsay McKenzie INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION

Purdue University students planning to use university Wi-Fi to watch videos, play games or listen to music will soon have to find a new way to stay awake during class…. In an analysis conducted in 2016, the IT department determined that just 4 percent of internet traffic over the Wi-Fi network in the university's life science building was from academic sites such as Blackboard, the learning management system.

This Is What a Feminist Country Looks Like By By Maya Salam THE NEW YORK TIMES

What’s so great about Sweden? Every year, the Nordic nation seems to rank highly on lists of the happiest, friendliest, most environmentally conscious countries in the world. But it’s another title it often claims that struck me: one of the best places to be a woman. This week, Sweden was one of the top three countries (along with Iceland and New Zealand) on the Women in Work Index 2019, a comprehensive assessment of female economic empowerment…

Change is happening on gender equality... let’s celebrate By Melanie Steel, HR MAGAZINE

Last year was certainly a busy year for the subject of gender equality, with much written about the subject. Within my own network, both I and my colleagues have been delighted to see a new generation of leaders bringing a more modern, inclusive style of leadership to the workplace. So, on International Women’s Day this year, I want to take a moment to celebrate some of the changes I’ve observed within the ranks of senior management teams…

Top employers prioritise gender diversity By Rachel Muller-Heyndyk HR MAGAZINE

High-performing organisations see the recruitment and progression of women as a business-critical priority, according to Top Employers Institute data…. The organisation found that 90% of these employers are already undertaking official programmes to ensure gender equality, making gender the highest ranking among the diversity initiatives surveyed. Diversity was seen as a key business imperative by almost as many (89%).

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