News in brief

June 2, 2011

United States

Rhoades trails back to Arizona

The highest-paid executive at the American Association of University Professors is to leave his post and return to his old job at the University of Arizona. Gary Rhoades, general secretary of the union, told students and staff at Arizona's Center for the Study of Higher Education that he plans to return as professor of higher education. Professor Rhoades took a three-year leave of absence to lead the AAUP, and faces losing tenure if he does not return within that time frame. His decision to depart follows a recommendation by the AAUP's executive committee that his contract should not be renewed. Professor Rhoades is the fourth person in seven years to have held the position.

Vietnam

Call of the suburbs

Two-thirds of the universities and colleges in Ho Chi Minh City are to be relocated to the suburbs, the Vietnamese government has announced. The decision was made to allow the institutions space to build new infrastructure and facilities suitable for a "modern education", according to the Vietnam News. The Ministry of Education and Training has asked city authorities to prioritise the development of public transport for students disrupted by the move. Government statistics show that there are 69 universities and colleges with a total of 516,000 students in the city. Plans to move the Technology University, Ho Chi Minh City University for Foreign Languages and Information Technology and the Hong Duc College for Nursing and Medical Skills were among the first to be approved.

Republic of Korea

Suicide watch

A leading South Korean university has expanded its counselling services following a spate of suicides, with four students and a professor among the dead. The move at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology follows a decision to scrap a controversial scheme under which academically successful students paid lower fees than those who did not score as well in their exams. The policy was blamed for putting undue pressure on students when they were already likely to be feeling stressed because of the exams themselves. In a statement released after the latest student suicide in April, the student council said: "Day after day we are cornered into an unrelenting competition that smothers and suffocates us. We couldn't even spare 30 minutes for our troubled classmates because of all our homework."

Australia

Rose-tinted results?

A positive analysis of student visa applications by the Australian government has been dismissed by industry experts, who say the situation is far bleaker than the report suggests. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship analysis shows that the number of applicants in March had risen 6.5 per cent compared with the same period last year, The Australian newspaper reported. However, Stephen Connelly, president of the International Education Association of Australia, said: "March application data are nothing to celebrate when overall the figures look like they have gone backwards three or four years." Officially, total student visas granted for the nine months to March were down 11 per cent from 2010, the newspaper said.

United States

Personal becomes political

The University of Vermont has put an end to a fundraising role held by the wife of the institution's president amid an investigation into personal relationships at the institution. The Burlington Free Press reported that an investigation has been launched into claims that Rachel Kahn-Fogel, wife of president Daniel Fogel, pursued the university's associate vice-president of development and alumni relations, Michael Schultz. The inquiry is looking into whether any of the institution's operations were affected. The newspaper said that Ms Kahn-Fogel's interest in Mr Schultz became known when his wife found unopened letters from the president's wife addressed to her husband. In a statement, Mr Fogel says that he supports the investigation, adding that his wife "has long been in treatment for serious mental health issues". InsideHigherEd reported that Mr Schultz once published an essay offering advice to presidential spouses. In it he wrote: "A good reputation is hard to earn but easy to lose."

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