The Christian Science Monitor includes a commentary on how universities and colleges are trying to measure the development of their graduates critical-thinking skills. It turns out that Mitch Daniels was concerned that Purdue University could not demonstrate that its graduates had acquired significantly improved critical-thinking skills. So he convinced the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers to sponsor the development of a mechanism for measuring critical-thinking skills. Although the otherwise very detailed article describes that mechanism only as a “general rubric,” it sounds very much like a standardized test. Oh, and no surprise here, only a third of the students passed it.
Heather J. Carlson, a political columnist for the Post-Bulletin in Rochester, Minnesota, reports on a proposal to direct a significant part of the state’s $1 billion surplus toward tuition-relief and a tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota. Apparently, the state college system received a much higher portion of what it requested in this past year’s budget and that “inequity” will be addressed in this proposed legislation.
Carlson, Heather J. “Political Notebook” [Column]. Post-Bulletin [Rochester, MN] 28Sep. 2015.
Editorial Board. “How Colleges Can Measure Up In Teaching ‘Critical Thinking’: A New Project Shows Professors Can Design Ways to Assess the Success of Colleges in Teaching ‘Critical Thinking Skills.’ Yet Early Results Show Students Need Colleges to Better Produce That Important ‘Learning Outcome.’” Christian Science Monitor 28 Sep. 2015.
And here are other items of possible interest from a newspaper published outside of the U.S.:
Anticipating the national government’s release of a new strategic plan for investment in science and humanities research, Dick Ahlstrom provides ten suggestions about elements that will be essential to the plan’s credibility. The suggestions are expressed very colloquially, but the gist of what he is suggesting should be readily apparent and much of it might be modeled elsewhere: 1. Getting the Balance Right; 2. It’s about People, Not Patents; 3. Stop Pretending That We Are Spending Enough on R&D; 4. If You Build It, Keep It Running; 5. Get the Private Sector to pay; 6. Bite the Bullet on Big Science; 7. Let the Universities Do Their Job; 8. Say ‘I Believe’ when It Comes to Blue-Skies Research; 9. Make Sure Everyone Gets Some Cake, Even if the Pieces Are Cut Somewhat Smaller; and 10. Remember That Science Is about Making Money, Too.
An item in the Cyprus Mail promotes a recruiting fair at which Cyprian secondary students can meet representatives from U.S. colleges and universities—not the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of sources of international students. It suggests that the level of resources being put into recruiting international students is much higher than one might have guessed.
Writing for China Daily, David W. Leebron highlights the many linkages between U.S. and Chinese universities and colleges—from exchange students to shared curriculum to collaborative research. Indeed, Leebron suggests that higher education might provide a broader model for how the two nations might cooperate in other areas of common interest. Although Leebron, does acknowledge areas of concern in higher education—especially in terms of institutional governance and visa issues—he does so rather cursorily at the end of the article. He does not address other major issues, including a number of areas of concern related to academic freedom.
In an op-ed published in the Straits Times in Singapore, Asit K. Biswas and Kris Hartley note that the development of Asian universities and colleges has quite naturally led to the establishment of Asian think tanks on economic, political, and cultural matters. Although the authors quibble about the rankings of the impact of think-tanks by nation, arguing that Singapore would rank much higher on a per-capita basis, they do delve in some detail into how think-tanks both are promoted by the growth of higher education and themselves promote the further growth of universities and colleges.
A new report for investors published by EFYtimes anticipates more than 20% growth in the market for digital education technology in Brazil. The report makes clear that, despite the economic turmoil in Brazil, the high demand for postsecondary education means that the digital-education sector has remained relatively unaffected. In previous news aggregates, I have included articles on how universities in the UK and other nations in the European Union are establishing a presence in Brazil. But international for-profit institutions, in particular Laureate, have already become well established there and are extensively exploiting the demand. This report focuses on the increased demand for hardware and software products without explaining what sort of institutions are driving that demand.
Writing for the Kathmandu Post, Pratyoush Onta, Lokranjan Parajuli, Devendra Uprety, and Pramod Bhatta have written a lengthy and in many ways fascinating analysis of the history of higher education in Nepal since 1990. It provides a detailed glimpse into higher education in a still fairly remote part of the world, but paradoxically, the analysis is illustrative of the broader issues faced by universities and colleges in many non-Western nations.
According to the Egypt Independent, students supporting former President Morsi have announced plans to demonstrate on his behalf and in support of the policies that he sought to advance. They have, however, been informed by the Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research that all demonstrations on university grounds must be approved by the university president.
Ahlstrom, Dick. “Ten Ideas That Will Create a Better Science Strategy.” Irish Times 28 Sep. 2015: Finance, 5.
Al-Youm, Al-Masry. “Pro-Morsi Students Call for Protests despite Minister’s Warning.” Egypt Independent 28 Sep. 2015.
Biswas, Asit K., and Kris Hartley. “The Rise of Asia’s Think-Tanks.” Straits Times [Singapore] 28 Sep. 2015.
Leebron, David W. “Keep Building Ties in Higher Education.” China Daily 28 Sep. 2015.
Onta, Pratyoush , Lokranjan Parajuli, Devendra Uprety, and Pramod Bhatta. “Changing Focus.” Kathmandu Post 28 Sep. 2015.
“Research And Markets: Education ICT Market In Brazil 2015-2019 – Collaboration With Foreign Universities A Key Market Driver.” EFYtimes.com 28 Sep. 2015.
“U.S. Education Fair to Take Place in Nicosia Next Month.” Cyprus Mail 28 Sep. 2015.
Posts in This Daily Series from the Last Seven Days:
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/
September 24, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-1/
September 24, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/28/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-24-2015-part-2/
September 25, Part 1: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/29/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-25-2015-part-1/
September 25, Part 2: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/29/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-25-2015-part-2/
September 26: https://academeblog.org/2015/09/30/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-26-2015/
September 27: https://academeblog.org/2015/10/01/u-s-higher-education-news-for-september-27-2015/