World Encompassed

November 2, 2007

Stanford questions rumsfeld fellowship
Stanford University's staff governing body was this week due to meet with the director of the university's Hoover Institution to discuss the controversial appointment of Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Secretary of Defence.

The institution made Mr Rumsfeld a visiting fellow, but some staff questioned his performance in Government and said the appointment could damage the university's reputation. The faculty senate asked John Raisian, the institution's director, to explain the criteria for the appointment.

New Zealand dispute culture criticised
Five of New Zealand's eight state-funded universities spent about £1 million on employment disputes last year, according to a trade union.

The Association of University Staff said it was concerned at the "adversarial approach they have taken to matters that should be resolved at a low level".

Academe may protect against memory loss
All those years of slaving over theses and books may be good for your health - but only up to a point, a new study has found.

Research from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York has found that spending more time in education can stave off rapid memory decline in people with dementia, but once memory loss begins it occurs at a faster rate in more educated people. The study found that rapid memory decline linked to Alzheimer's disease was delayed by about two and a half months for every extra year of formal education. But once the accelerated decline started, it occurred 4 per cent faster for every extra year in education.

Islamic studies centre launched in Australia
Three Australian universities have launched a new national centre for Islamic studies. Academics from the University of Melbourne, Griffith University and the University of Western Sydney will contribute to the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies, which has been given A$8 million (£3.5 million) in government funding.

California fires force campus closures
Several US universities were closed as firestorms raged in California. Pepperdine University closed for two days because fires shut roads into one of its campuses. San Diego State University cancelled classes, although it said the fire did not pose a threat, and opened one of its gymnasiums as a shelter for residents displaced by the blaze. The University of California, San Diego and the University of San Diego cancelled classes due to the air pollution caused by the fires, and California State University at San Marcos also closed for several days.

Illinois chalks up a successful campaign
Staff at a US university have resorted to a more down-to-earth communications technology in order to advertise one of the most up-to- date.

Concerned that students would not read official posters and letters requesting them to sign up for a new emergency warning system that uses text messages and e-mail, administrators at the University of Illinois scrawled the message on the pavement in chalk. The message, "Sign up now!!!" seemed to work as in the space of four hours 203 students and staff signed up compared with the 50-a-day average before the initiative, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Technology treasure trove for Illinois
Five computing and engineering giants have donated more than $420 million (£210 million) worth of computer equipment to prepare students at a US university for jobs in industry.

The hardware and software given to the University of Cincinnati includes versions of the technology that created the Flying Dutchman ship and tentacle-faced Captain Davy Jones in the film Pirates of the Caribbean . The equipment was donated by the consortium Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education, which includes Hewlett-Packard and Siemens PLM Software.

US launches joint project in China
A US and a Chinese university have joined forces to launch an American- style undergraduate institution in China.

The New York Institute of Technology and Nanjing University of Post and Telecommunications have worked together to open the school on NUPT's new campus. The centre will offer four degrees and eventually enroll 6,000 students. NYIT has supplied staff and courses. Students may receive degrees from either NYIT or jointly from both universities and have the opportunity to study either in China or in New York, visa arrangements permitting.

US Business endows minority programmes
A US university has received a $50 million (£25 million) donation for its School of Social Work.

New York University was given the money by alumni Constance and Martin Silver. It will provide financial help for students who plan to work with minority groups, a professorship researching poverty, and new initiatives on the study of poverty. The school will be renamed the Silver School of Social Work. The funds will also help start a new institute for poverty policy and practice.

Meanwhile, global investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings will donate $10 million (£5 million) to develop a business and economics school aimed mainly at black women. The donation will help create the Lehman Brothers Centre for Global Finance and Economic Development at Spelman College, which is intended to prepare more black women for Wall Street careers.

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