News in Brief

October 28, 2010

United States

Dear Bobby, please save us

A student enraged by the failure of Louisiana's governor to tackle the problems facing the state's universities has attempted to embarrass him into engaging with the issue. In an open letter addressed to Bobby Jindal and sent to newspapers in other states, J. Hudson, student president at Louisiana State University, says the governor is "spending more time in your state than the one he was elected to represent". In a direct appeal to Mr Jindal, he continues: "On behalf of the students whose hopes for a brighter future will soon be crushed, I beg you to return to Louisiana and fix your state's serious problems...You'll have a much better chance of becoming president if you save, instead of destroy, Louisiana's universities." Mr Jindal previously courted controversy by ratifying a law that gives schools greater latitude to teach alternative theories to evolution, angering scientists.

Canada

Global goal threatens autonomy

Canadian universities are becoming too business-like because of the pressures of the global market for students, professors in the country have claimed. Other factors, including an increase in state regulation and the ascendancy of managers, are also blamed for accelerating the problem, The Vancouver Sun reported. "Canadian universities are caught up in an international movement that makes them less autonomous than they were 25 years ago," said William Bruneau, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia. Hans Schuetze, professor emeritus of higher education at UBC, added: "When you look at a (university) website...half of it is public relations. We have to try to look good."

New Zealand

Plan to raise entry standards

New proposals aim to raise the bar for university entrance in New Zealand as part of a bid to limit domestic enrolments to match government funding caps. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority announced plans last week to make university entrance subject to passing a particular grade threshold, according to press reports. The authority said that 95 per cent of pupils who went to university straight from school would meet the proposed requirements. International students would not be affected by the proposed changes.

Japan

Study abroad to save the nation

The economic threat posed by Japan's ageing population must be countered by an increase in the number of students studying overseas, a professor has claimed. In an interview with The Japan Times, David Bach, a dean at the IE Business School in Madrid, warned that the country faced a deficit of citizens with the training to prosper as "global managers", which would worsen unless more students looked abroad. Arguing that Japan must bolster its international business expertise to remain a wealthy nation, he said: "That means understanding the world, and earlier generations of Japanese managers did that very well. They went to Europe, they went to the US, starting in the 1950s and the 1960s, learning and acquiring the skills, understanding the customers and going out in full force."

YOUR PERSONAL TOP 10

Times Higher Education's World University Rankings are now available for the iPhone on the App Store.

Use our app to create personalised rankings from detailed data on 400 institutions - reprioritise the criteria and filter the results by region, country, cost of living and tuition fees to build your bespoke league table.

The app also allows you to follow the development of new user-based popularity rankings and participate in live opinion polls.

This week, the top "most-short-listed" universities are:

1. Harvard University

2. Imperial College London

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4. Stanford University

5. University of Toronto

6. University of Cambridge

7. University of Oxford

8. University of British Columbia.

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