U.S. Higher Education News for September 24, 2015, Part 2

 

And here are some other items of possible interest from newspapers published outside of the U.S.:

 

“City Centres Are the Science Parks of the 21st Century.” Yorkshire Post 24 Sep. 2015.

Britain’s city centres should be seen as the science parks of the 21st century, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for economy and regeneration told a cross-section of the business community.

Speaking at an Innovation Network event co-hosted by Leeds Beckett University and the Yorkshire Post, Tom Bridges addressed what he called some of the “myths” of public policy planning, and said that one of them was that it was a good idea to build science parks.

“We already have one and we’re sat in the middle of it, right here in Leeds city centre,” he said.

“There’s real evidence that knowledge-intensive jobs and functions are moving into city centres. Over half the jobs in Leeds city centre are in knowledge-intensive business services, compared with 25 per cent in the economy as a whole.

“Before, people who invented things would drive to their workplace in out-of-town business parks and generate ideas that they would keep secret within their buildings. But now they’re coming into the city centres, mingling, exchanging ideas in the hyper-caffeinated spaces between the buildings, and I think that has real implications for the way we treat city centres in terms of public policy.” . . .

“The government have quite rightly identified transport as a huge priority of the devolution agenda, but I think addressing some of these disparities in spending on R&D and innovation also needs to be up there, because only by doing this will we boost the anchor institutions in terms of government and universities, that can help them work with the private sector to create a more innovative economy.”

Mr Bridges also said that too much emphasis was put on growth sectors, and warned against concentrating too narrowly on the Government’s eight great technologies.

 

“Creative Writing Axe Prompts Fury.” Times Higher Education Supplement [UK] 24 Sep. 2015.

Academics have expressed outrage at the government’s decision to axe A levels in creative writing.

In 2013, the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance examination board introduced an A level in the subject with much help from academics and creative writers.

Now, as part of the government’s plans to review A levels, the Department for Education has announced that “it has not been possible to draft subject content in accordance with the department’s guidance and [the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation’s] principles for reformed AS and A levels”.

In an explanatory letter to the AQA, the DfE stated that it had concluded that “there are connections between Creative Writing and English, and that Creative Writing is (or could be construed to be) more skills-based than knowledge-based”.

Many working in the field of English, at both school and university level, have been infuriated by this.

Playwright and novelist Steve May, dean of the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries at Bath Spa University (where until recently he ran the country’s largest department in creative writing), noted that “the demand for creative writing courses in universities has grown exponentially over the past 10 years.”

If the A level had continued, he argued, “students would have been at a much higher level and ready for something more advanced.” At a time when the trend was “to use practicality to enhance employability”–and the requirement for creative writing students to think about markets and audiences often made them highly employable–he deplored the “outmoded idea of splitting off knowledge from skills,” which he saw as “going back to an [antiquated] Oxbridge ideal.” . . .

 

Elliott, Larry. “Women With Degrees Earn Three Times as Much as Those Without; Research from the IFS, Cambridge, and Harvard Also Suggests Graduates’ Gender Pay Gap Is Less than Official Figures Say.” Guardian [UK] 24 Sep. 2015.

Women with degrees earn at least three times as much as a non-graduates within a decade of leaving university, according to the first large-scale report into the impact of higher education on wages and salaries in the UK.

A study conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Cambridge and Harvard universities found that the graduate premium for women was greater than for men, even though male graduates on average earned more.

Researchers found that median earnings of men 10 years after graduation were about twice those of a non-graduate while female graduates earned more than three times as much as their non-graduate counterparts.

The study used tax records and student loan data for 260,000 people who were at university between 1998 and 2011 and whose earnings were looked at for the tax year 2011-12.

It found that 10 years after graduation, 10% of male graduates were earning more than £55,000 a year, 5% were earning more than £73,000, and 1% were earning more than £148,000. Ten years after graduation, 10% of female graduates were earning more than £43,000 a year, 5% were earning more than £54,000 and 1% were earning more than £89,000. . . .

Researchers said their data also suggested the gender pay gap among graduates was smaller than government statistics implied. The research found the male-female annual earnings gap 10 years after graduation was about 23%, whereas the official Labour Force Survey put it at about 33%. . . .

 

“Faculty Associations Taking STU to Court.” Daily Gleaner [New Brunswick, Canada] 24 Sep. 2015: A, 1.

The province’s faculty associations are taking St. Thomas University’s administration to court over its refusal to disclose the amounts of three employee severance packages.

The Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations, which represents unionized professors and librarians, believes the case before the Court of Queen’s Bench could reveal the high costs of golden handshakes to top administrators during a period of growing financial strain at public universities.

But an official at the small liberal arts university in Fredericton says it has more to do with the university keeping its word and not disclosing confidential contractual information.

“This matter began with an information request from the federation in 2014, and we’ve provided all the information, except for pieces of information we consider confidential,” said Jeffrey Carleton, a St. Thomas spokesman. “It’s never been interpreted in the province and it deals with confidentiality clauses with employees, and it’s a principle we would test regardless if it was administration or faculty.”

The disclosure of what was once sacrosanct private information is still new ground for the universities.

The federation began making requests for salaries, pensions and severance agreements of presidents and vice presidents when the four public universities in the province–St. Thomas, Mount Allison, the University of New Brunswick and Université de Moncton–became subject to the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in September 2012.

In many instances, said federation president Jean Sauvageau, the universities initially refused to release all the information the group was seeking.

“We were trying to find out more about the money universities spend, and the one murky area was the salaries of presidents and vice presidents, the benefits and bonuses or anything else in terms of money they would be getting in their pockets thanks to their contracts,” said Sauvageau, who teaches criminology at St. Thomas. “There’s mounting frustration over trying to find out how much money is coming in and how much is being spent.” . . .

 

Feely, Orla. “Education and Research Have Serious Impact; The Benefits to Society and the Economy of a Vibrant Knowledge Sector Take Many Different Forms.” Irish Times 24 Sep. 2015: 14.

A few years ago, a particular word started to appear with increasing regularity in international higher education and research circles. The word was “impact”. Its increasing prevalence derives from the desire, particularly in straitened economic times, to assess the benefits of the funding applied to higher education and research. . . .

Some of these [studies] assess the impact of higher education institutions as economic actors, just on the basis of their income and the effect of that income on local and national economies. For major institutions, this can be very significant. An economic impact assessment in 2012 showed the income of the University of Manchester was higher than that of Manchester City Football Club, Manchester United Football Club and Manchester Airport combined. A similar economic impact assessment of University College Dublin launched last May showed the university and its students generate an annual economic impact of EUR 1.3 billion in Ireland, and support about 9,000 jobs. . . .

A different approach to research impact assessment, trialled in the US, considers the particular impact that comes in the form of the talented postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers trained through the conduct of research, and the contributions they make in their careers. . . .

The most immediately apparent impacts of excellent research may reside in the knowledge economy but, as other international exercises have shown, vital and vibrant impacts are delivered across other areas of society, culture, health, public policy and quality of life. Our reservoir of research expertise allows us to address challenges of particular national significance and to capture the benefits of new opportunities across all these areas. It provides us with the capacity to understand global trends and respond to disruptive change. . . .

 

Kably, Lubna. “India Continues to Be on Top in Supplying Doctors to West.” Times of India 24 Sep. 2015.

India continues to retain its position as the world’s top supplier of expatriate doctors to 34 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), followed by China.Most new immigrants to OECD countries–taking migration statistics in totality–though, originated from China, with India occupying the fourth slot.

According to OECD’s recent report on International Migration Outlook (2015), as many as 86,680 Indian expatriate doctors (statistics relate to 2010-11) worked in OECD countries, including the US, EU countries and Switzerland. The number of expatriate Indian doctors jumped from 56,000 in 2000-01 to nearly 87,000 in 2010-11, but the corresponding expatriation rates have risen only by one-half of a percentage point to 8.6%. The US employs 60% of the expatriate Indian doctors, with the UK being the second leading employer. China, with 26,583 expatriate doctors in 2010-11, occupied the second slot.

Philippines provided the most nurses–around 2.21 lakh–compared to India at 70,471.The number of expat nurses from India, though, has grown over the past ten years, which has seen India move to the second spot in 2010-11 from its sixth position earlier. They are found primarily in the US (42%), the UK (28%) and Australia (9%).

In total, the number of migrant doctors and nurses working in OECD countries has risen 60% over the past ten years.Expat doctors and nurses constituted 23% and 14% of healthcare professionals in OECD countries. “The trend mirrors the general increase in immigration to OECD countries, particularly of skilled workers,” states the report. The study points out that a number of OECD countries have revised their migration legislation in the past few years, with most changes tending towards restriction.

Several countries have cast a greater onus on the potential employer to ensure that only expats with right skills are granted employment–advertising for local employees, payment of a threshold salary for expat employees (to ensure that lower salaries don’t become the sole ground for hiring expats) are measures adopted by various countries, especially the EU countries.

 

Moran, Joe. “The Quiet Life.” Times Higher Education Supplement [UK] 24 Sep. 2015.

HIGHLIGHT: In the age of the ‘extrovert ideal’, how does it feel to be a shy academic? Despite the negativity about introversion, it is an under-appreciated quality and–whisper it–has its compensations, says Joe Moran.

When I got my first academic job in 1996, it was easy enough to be invisible. Universities were starting to create their first, text-heavy websites, but there were no staff profiles, with capsule biographies and headshots that had to comply with branding guidelines. Lectures were not “captured” and uploaded on to university YouTube channels, because the steampunk internet of the last millennium couldn’t handle moving images (or still ones very well). No one took photographs of us while we were giving talks and tweeted them to their followers, because mobile phones worked only as phones, and “twitter” was just an underused verb. Unless you happened to work with them, you knew other academics by seeing their names on books and articles and by peering myopically at their name badges at conferences.

Two decades later, universities live by what Susan Cain, in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking (2012), calls the “extrovert ideal”. This is a result of the coming together of new mobile and online technologies with a new emphasis on public relations, impact and civic engagement. I mostly welcome these changes: universities need to let the world know what they are doing, if only to counter the low-level rumble of hostility and suspicion about them that emanates from the government and the media. But for someone who has spent most of his adult life artfully avoiding looking in mirrors, the mass rebooting of expectations about personal visibility takes some getting used to. I cannot be the only one with this dilemma. How does the shy academic navigate the new world order in which we are expected to be “on” all the time? . . .

_________________________

Posts in This Daily Series from the Last Seven Days:

September 17, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/19/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-17-2015/

September 18, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/20/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-18-2015/

September 19, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/21/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-19-2015/

September 20, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/21/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-20-2015/

September 21, 2015: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/22/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015/

September 22, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-1/

September 22, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/25/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-21-2015-part-2/

September 23, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-1/

September 23, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/26/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-23-2015-part-2/

 

7 thoughts on “U.S. Higher Education News for September 24, 2015, Part 2

  1. Pingback: U.S. Higher Education News for September 25, 2015, Part 2 | The Academe Blog

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