UTI va administra străzile care tranzitează campusul
Unul dintre proiectele pregătite deja de DSS este crearea unui centru civic al campusului între căminele T5-T6 şi T9, T10 şi T11, printr-un proiect de revitalizare urbană, care să fie pasul unei schimbări pe termen lung în campus
Primăria Municipiului Iaşi a aprobat în ultima şedinţă de Consili Local solicitarea Universităţii Tehnice „Gheorghe Asachi” din Iaşi de a prelua în administrare cele trei drumuri care tranzitează Campusul „Tudor Vladimirescu” – Aleea Prof. Vasile Petrescu, Alea Prof. Gheorghe Alexa şi Aleea Prof. Dimitrie Atanasiu.
Decizia Primăriei dă astfel undă verde pentru ca universitatea să poată moderniza zona respectivă, deblocând un proiect mai vechi de management al traficului şi al parcărilor. Universitatea s-a confruntat în ultimii ani cu o problemă din ce în ce mai mare legată de traficul auto în campus – numărul de maşini a crescut, inclusiv al maşinilor din afara campusului parcate în interior pentru lungi perioade de timp, iar cei aproximativ 1.000 de studenţi care vin cu maşina la Iaşi nu mai găsesc locuri de parcare în preajma căminelor. Mai mult decât atât, restul de 7.000 care tranzitează zilnic campusul nu au spaţii dedicate pe care să le folosească, trotuare sau alei, fiindcă nu au fost amenajate locuri de parcare şi sunt maşini pe tot spaţiul pietonal.
„Sper ca până la finalul anului universitar următor să ne putem bucura de noua înfăţişare a campusului”, a declarat prof. univ. dr. ing. Dan Caşcaval, rectorul universităţii.
De aceea, printr-un proiect ce a primit deja avizele necesare de la Primărie, universitatea doreşte, prin Direcţia Servicii Studenţeşti, să amenajeze zona din campus aferentă acestor străzi pentru a delimita locurile de parcare şi pentru a crea mai multe astfel de locuri, cât şi pentru a crea zone în care pietonii pot circula în siguranţă. Mai mult decât atât, universitatea va instala un sistem de management al parcărilor compus din şapte bariere, patru de intrare şi trei de ieşire, trei automate de plată, panouri informative cu locuri de parcare libere / ocupate şi supraveghere video. Accesul şi tranzitul autoturismelor vor fi libere, parcarea va fi contracost, studenţii vor beneficia de abonamente speciale, reduse, iar operatorii economici din zonă vor avea un număr limitat de locuri şi la un tarif diferenţiat de cel oferit studenţilor. „Vrem să avem un campus accesibilizat, dedicat pietonilor, dar şi studenţilor cu dizabilităţi, cărora le este în prezent aproape imposibil să ajungă de la cămin la facultate, neavând o alee special amenajată. Scopul nostru pe viitor este să putem construi o parcare supraetajată în care studenţii să îşi poată lăsa în siguranţă maşinile, iar campusul să devină pur pietonal”, a declarat ing. Bogdan Budeanu, directorul DSS Iaşi.
Unul dintre proiectele pregătite deja de DSS este crearea unui centru civic al campusului între căminele T5-T6 şi T9, T10 şi T11, printr-un proiect de revitalizare urbană, care să fie pasul unei schimbări pe termen lung în campus: să fie un loc în care periodic să poată fi organizate concerte susţinute de studenţi în aer liber, să fie amenajată o zonă pietonală cu mobilier urban unde studenţii să poată sta să studieze etc.
Student dumped in Britain by human traffickers wins deportation battle after tens of thousands sign petition
The 18-year-old, who could barely speak English when he arrived, has secured apprenticeship
A sixth-form student who was dumped in Britain by human traffickers as a child has won his deportation battle after his teachers and the local community rallied behind him.
Stiven Bregu was abandoned on a street in Keynsham, Somerset, near where the former home secretary Sajid Javid grew up, in the middle of the night with no money or possessions in 2015.
The 18-year-old, who could barely speak English when he arrived in the UK, has since passed his GCSEs and has won a place on an apprenticeship at a wealth management firm in Bristol.
But a week before his A-level exams, the Albanian teenager was told by the Home Office that his application to remain had been refused as his right to stay as an unaccompanied child ended at 18.
More than 90,000 people signed a petition, launched by his head of year at St Mary Redcliffe School in Bristol, to stop the extradition of the bright student.
The teenager appealed the Home Office’s refusal of his application and won the court hearing.
Rob Shaw, head of Year 13 at the school, who also co-ordinated the petition for the student, said: „I am delighted to tell you that he has been successful and has the right to remain in the UK.
„The Home Office now have two weeks to appeal the decision, but assuming that they don’t, Stiven will be able to start his apprenticeship.”
Mr Bregu was trafficked to the UK from Albania in order to escape a violent home life.
He enrolled at St Mary Redcliffe School four years ago, just three miles from where Mr Javid grew up, after he was taken into care by a foster family in Bristol.
He went on to secure his GCSEs and is awaiting his A-level results in biology, maths and chemistry.
On his future plans, Mr Bregu told The Independent: “The only thing that was basically holding me back was the decision from the Home Office. There was nothing else that would stop me pursuing a finance career.
„That just put a lot of pressure on my shoulders. It was stressful.
“The concern is still there but knowing I have everybody behind me makes a big difference.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have received the judgment and are considering it carefully before proceeding.”
Publicație : The Independent
Number of students offered degree place regardless of exam grades rises despite crackdown
Surge has sparked fears that students could become demotivated and receive lower grades
A total of 97,045 university applicants, who were yet to complete their qualifications at school or college, received an offer that could be considered unconditional, new figures from Ucas show.
Thirty-eight per cent of 18-year-old applicants from England, Northern Ireland and Wales received an offer with an unconditional element in 2019, compared to 34 per cent in 2018 and 1 per cent in 2013.
The rise in unconditional offers has sparked fears that standards could drop at universities and students could become demotivated in their final year of schooling and receive lower grades.
In April, then education secretary Damian Hinds, who called for a review of university admissions, wrote to the worst-offending universities urging them to stamp out “pressure-selling tactics”.
The minister condemned the use of “conditional unconditional offers”, where a university tells students they are guaranteed a place but only if they make it their first choice, adding institutions that adopt this practice could be fined or deregistered.
But the latest Ucas figures show that a quarter of school leavers received a “conditional unconditional” offer in 2019, compared with one in five last year.
Applicants from the most advantaged backgrounds were slightly more likely to receive a conditional unconditional offer than those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, the report says.
A previous Ucas report warned that applicants who hold an unconditional offer as their firm choice are “more likely to miss their predicted A-level grades by two or more points”.
Universities UK (UUK) launched a review into the admissions process this month following criticism.
Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation at the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator, said: “It is concerning to see a further increase in the rate of ‘unconditional’ offers made which actually come with strings attached.”
He added: “The danger of these conditional unconditional offers is that students feel pressurised to accept a place on a course which might not turn out to be their best option.”
Clare Marchant, chief executive of Ucas, said: “The use of unconditional offers remains a complex issue and continues to evolve.
“We look forward to working with the Office for Students and Universities UK (UUK) on their respective upcoming admissions practice reviews, to deliver meaningful recommendations.”
Alistair Jarvis, UUK chief executive, said their review into university admissions would bring together school, college and university leaders to ensure offer-making practices are “fair and transparent”.
He added: “There are clear benefits in universities being able to use a variety of offer making practices to reflect an individual student’s circumstances, potential and the context of their application, and to support different groups such as students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“An important principle of the UK system is that universities decide independently which students they accept; but with this comes a responsibility to explain why and how places are awarded, and to show the public and students why different types of offers are made.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “What sets the UK’s world-leading universities apart is our relentless focus on quality and this must be protected.
“There is a place for unconditional offers, however this data highlights the continued rise in their use and we know some students who accept unconditional offers can be more likely to miss their predicted A-level grades.”
They added: “Many institutions are already taking steps to address the rise in unconditional offers and we hope these efforts continue, with the figures showing a different picture next year.”
Publicație : The Independent
Let’s judge universities for their social impact, not graduate salaries
The government wants to link university funding to graduate pay. But why not reward work with local communities instead?
We have drifted into a university system in which economic growth is valued over everything else. In many universities, I would argue that this has overtaken the focus on achieving a positive impact on society. This marketised system risks becoming further entrenched if the Augar review of post-18 education is implemented, particularly through the focus on graduate salaries as a measure of a university’s success. It’s been suggested that to remedy this we should overhaul the university system entirely, but that’s not the only solution.
Universities are autonomous institutions in which academic freedom is the fundamental principle. In today’s world, in which half the nation attends a university, it is also clear that they carry a civic responsibility to engage with society – yet it’s hard to argue that either is the case in the UK anymore.
Universities now often have to mimic business practices in order to survive, and many end up spending millions simply to attract fee-paying students. Universities are forced to compete with each other to offer courses that provide “value for money”.
At a time when Britain faces pressing social problems including growing inequality, the educational sector has an important role to play. The problem with the Augar recommendations is that they are a missed opportunity to provide a clear vision for how universities could do more to help confront societal challenges.
A new sector-wide strategic agenda focused on social impact could find genuine cross-party endorsement, unlike the divisive issue of tuition fees. But how would it work in practice? The government could introduce a new social impact survey of universities’ work in this area, perhaps by integrating it into an existing initiative that assesses the impact of their work, such as the research excellence framework. This would measure not only teaching and research, but also the other projects that students and staff engage in.
Two key measures would be the extent to which university projects engage with the public, and how successfully they focus on social challenges in the local area. The government could consider providing funding to universities which perform well to enable them to expand their work.
This may sound costly and impractical, but some universities are already doing it. King’s College London, for example, is currently conducting a survey of students and the public aimed at identifying its social impact. The survey uses the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a benchmark. One of the areas where the university is currently achieving the most is in addressing the air quality exposure of children.
The SDGs are 17 global policy aims adopted at a United Nations summit in 2015 which aim to solve the world’s biggest problems by 2030, and could provide a useful framework for a government-backed national survey scheme.
They are already transforming the way universities operate elsewhere. In Japan, Hokkaido University’s Graduate School of Infectious Diseases is using SDG3 – the goal on good health and wellbeing – to guide its research. In Ghana, meanwhile, All Nations University College’s work on empowering women through education is based on SDG5 on gender equality.
No matter what exact assessment methodology is used, the first step is to get social impact on the agenda in the UK. As Geoff Mulgan, chief executive at innovation agency Nesta, has pointed out, universities can benefit from being more “challenge-driven” and focused on real-life problems in their curriculum.
A century ago, when universities were only for the select few, it did not matter whether they prioritised scholarly freedom or benefited broader society. Now that they split the country into two camps, in terms of who goes and who doesn’t, society has a stake in the matter. With the next general election looming, it’s time the public demanded universities focus more on social impact. Only then will party leaders and vice-chancellors have to sit up and take note.
Publicație : The Guardian
Symbolically posh’ Bristol University expanding to wrong side of tracks
Proposed campus aims to pull in students from areas where only 8.6% of school leavers go on to higher education
In the well-heeled district of Clifton in Bristol, with its Georgian crescents and French brasseries, 100% of school leavers go to university. Yet in the southern suburb of Hartcliffe, the figures are the lowest in the country: only 8.6% make it there. This is the divided face of Brexit Britain.
Bristol University, part of the Russell Group and a favourite among private school students, has long been at the privileged heart of Clifton. But it has radical plans to pull in the deprived communities to the south and east: starting with a campus on what its management calls “the wrong side of the tracks”.
The university was one of the first to introduce “contextual offers” – lower grade requirements to students from a list of schools – back in 2009. Now it wants to go further by introducing flexible courses designed to appeal to people in deprived local districts, even if they haven’t performed well at school.
Guy Orpen, Bristol’s deputy vice-chancellor, says: “Overall this city voted against Brexit – 60% voted to remain. But in the peripheral suburbs like Hartcliffe they voted to leave. They’ve had a poor experience of the 21st century and I don’t blame them for being angry about how things have turned out.”
The new Temple Quarter campus will be built on the urban east side of Bristol Temple Meads station, on the site of a well-known local eyesore– a post sorting office that had lain derelict for 20 years. “People on that side of the city don’t have access to the city centre, and many kids will grow up never going there,” says Orpen. “Transport is fragmented and poor. Many young people don’t have a sixth form they can get to. It is just a few miles away from us in the west of the city but it is a different world.”
Bristol’s plans are not driven by altruism alone. In 2017-18 one third (34%) of its students were from private schools, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The Office for Students, the universities regulator, is leaning on institutions – especially those at the elite end – to demonstrate that they are targeting potential students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Bristol was the first university to announce plans to expand significantly when the government removed the recruitment cap in 2015. The new campus, which will house 3,000 students, represents a second big expansion. It will be eyed with trepidation by other nearby universities that already accept students – and their £9,250 a year fees – with lower grades.
Myla Lloyd, who had no A-levels when she started her foundation course at Bristol, on the site of the proposed new campus at Temple Meads Photograph: Sam Frost/The Guardian
The new campus will be next door to one of the most deprived areas of the city, Barton Hill. Unlike Hartcliffe, this is a mainly black and multi-ethnic district, with a large number of Somali residents. The council has calculated 46% of children are growing up in poverty.
Joanna Holmes, CEO of the Barton Hill Settlement, a community centre offering services from legal advice to bringing people together for barbecues, says that over in Clifton the university is unreachable in more ways than one. “It is symbolically posh,” she says. “This new campus feels like the university coming down the hill to the rest of us.”
Holmes’s settlement was actually set up by the university in 1911. The idea then was that Bristol staff and students would live there and spread enlightenment: it was a radically liberal community, supporting campaigns such as votes for women and feeding the families of local workers when they went on strike. But the relationship dwindled and the university hasn’t had anything to do with Barton Hill since the 1970s.
That is all about to change. In addition to the new campus, due to open in 2022, the university is planning a “micro-campus” in brightly painted shipping containers within the Barton Hill settlement for people who still find the whole idea of university a step too far.
It will have three containers in which to teach its students. Upstairs will be tiny bedsits for people who want to study but need a place with a stable low rent, or time away from complicated situations at home, to make that possible.
Holmes says people in her community aren’t short of aspirations. “A lot of our families have two adults working three jobs between them; working all hours of the day and night. They get basic qualifications and then drop out of the system because there is nothing that fits their lives. It makes it hard to break out,” she says.
“We are saying to local mums, ‘Don’t just do as many cleaning jobs as you can so your kids can go to university. You can go too.’”
Tom Sperlinger, professor of literature and engaged pedagogy at Bristol, has been tasked with finding ways of pulling people from deprived communities such as Barton Hill and Hartcliffe into the new Temple Quarter campus. He is working on a business case for a new flexible degree for local people. The plan is that you could take a short course in one of the Barton Hill shipping containers – or in the local library in Hartcliffe – and get 30 credits that count towards a degree.
Bristol’s Clifton campus is in an area where every school leaver goes on to university. Photograph: Alamy
“If you do that in your local library and find it’s achievable and not all that scary, it maybe seems less scary to think about going to the main campus,” he says.
Bristol has already experimented with access courses, which are not common in Russell Group universities. Ninety per cent of students on its year-long foundation programme in the arts and humanities don’t have A-levels – and the university says three-quarters of them go on to study a degree at Bristol or elsewhere. The course is publicised widely in local media and the university runs taster courses with community organisations, including Bristol Refugee Rights and the Single Parent Action Network.
Myla Lloyd was part of the first year of this foundation course in 2013 and now works for a local MP. “I got good results in my GCSEs, but my Dad passed away and that started a trajectory where everything was knocked off course for me,” she says.
She left home at 17 with no A-levels and worked mainly in coffee shops until she started the foundation course at 21, going on to gain a first-class degree in history of art at the university and says the foundation course changed her life.
Lloyd hopes Bristol’s new project will open up the university to local people who have found themselves shut out from education. “The university is this big fancy building and it must seem very far removed if you live on an estate in Hartcliffe,” she says. “People often can’t even afford a bus ticket to get into the centre. And if you haven’t ever been to a youth centre, let alone a museum, why would it occur to you to go to university?”
Publicație : The Guardian
Nurturing talent is complex – and it is not enough
Students’ talents wear many guises, depending on the person, the field and the judge. But instilling ethics is also crucial, says Howard Gardner
For those with educational responsibilities, how we choose and promote learners is crucial. In universities, if we are asked how we select our students, we typically say that it is a case of identifying and building on raw talent. But what does that really mean? And does it bear scrutiny?
Dating back at least to biblical times, our species has had a notion of talent. Speaking broadly, talent was something inborn – a gift from God or the gods that allowed its possessor to perform extraordinarily well. And barring extraordinary circumstances, talent was expected to be readily noticed, developed and publicly displayed.
If the talent appeared in an offspring of privilege, it could be readily nurtured. And if it manifested itself in an unexpected place, neighbours were expected to lend a hand so that the talent could partake of educational opportunities. And so it remains in certain spheres, such as sports or the arts.
With respect to academic talent, more technical means of identification were introduced in the past century. Even if they lived in remote surroundings, young people with a high IQ or an unexpectedly high SAT score (or its overseas equivalents) would have the opportunity to study at first-rate institutions of higher learning. And, if the stars aligned, they could undertake a career in teaching, research and scholarship.
I contend that we should think about this issue in a quite different way. Instead of asking “Who is talented?” or “What is talent?”, we should ponder “Where is talent”? In so doing, we need to consider at least three entities: the person, the domain of expertise and the field of judges.
Regarding the person, psychological testing has led us to think of intellect as being singular, of a piece. But we now recognise that there are various spheres of intellect – what I have called multiple intelligences. A person may be strong in language but not in mathematical thinking, or vice versa. And neither of those strengths or weaknesses predicts how the person will perform in an art form like music, or in understanding other people (often called social intelligence) or themselves (sometimes called emotional intelligence).
In short, individuals can have quite different intellectual strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, there are other issues of character, will and motivation that determine whether talents will develop and how they will be deployed.
Just as individuals can be intelligent in various ways, they can excel in a multiplicity of domains, spheres or sectors. Even within the academy, it takes quite different skills to become an expert physicist or chemist, as opposed to an esteemed historian or philosopher – let alone an outstanding lawyer, doctor, engineer or teacher. Each of these domains has its own set of requirements for training – and a still further set of skills and desiderata come into play when it comes to leadership or collaboration.
It is also important to bear in mind that these skills and desiderata change over time. Looking at institutions of higher learning, we might say that until the 20th century, skills in language were primary. In the 20th century, mathematical and scientific thinking became valorised. In our time, both computational and interpersonal skills are at a premium. And perhaps, looking ahead, as AI and deeper learning tools gain in power and versatility, we may look for yet different human skills – or perhaps human-cum-device skills.
In an ideal world, talent and expertise might speak for themselves. But in every sector of which I am aware, across the arts and sciences, there are individuals and rules that determine how talent is noticed and evaluated – and, therefore, who is given an opportunity, who is promoted and who is rewarded – and, conversely, who is denied those opportunities. Those rules, moreover, are highly time- and culture-bound. For example, while the field judging painting talent in the 18th century would have favoured realism, it would not have done so in the 20th century.
We would like to think that these judgements are entirely objective. But even when obvious favouritism and bias are eliminated, judges are rarely neutral: often, they favour individuals like themselves – or, in an effort to counter bias, they may go to the opposite extreme. Presumably, in the past, many potentially excellent students and scholars were overlooked, precisely because they did not resemble the archetypal talented young person.
So identifying and nurturing talent is not simply a case of looking for markers and pushing along those so marked. All three nodes of the talent triangle must be taken into account, and their interaction noted.
Moreover, our job as educators is not simply to identify and nurture talent. We need to do more. We need to form individuals who will use their talents to do the right thing. To do this, we must exemplify and reward the models of human behaviour and character that we desire in our future workers and leaders – and sanction those of which we disapprove.
History shows that talent devoid of ethical character may just as easily bring humanity to its knees in gas chambers as enable giant leaps for mankind in spacesuits.
Publicație : The Times
Jo Grady: universities can ignore their staff no longer
After the pensions strike, employees’ sense of ‘helplessness’ has ‘evaporated’, says incoming UCU leader
The new leader of the University and College Union is geared up to continue challenging the “apathy” that is the “oxygen of people who don’t want change”.
Jo Grady, who resoundingly won the UCU general secretary election in May and takes office on 1 August, has vowed to bring her front-line experience as a lecturer to bear as she represents the union’s 120,000 members across further and higher education.
Her predecessor, Sally Hunt, was a union official by background, serving as the UCU’s sole previous general secretary, having led predecessor organisation the Association of University Teachers since 2002, before retiring earlier this year because of ill health. So the victory of Dr Grady, who has taken an extended leave of absence from her role as senior lecturer in employment relations at the University of Sheffield to lead the union, represents a break with that recent past.
In an election that saw record-breaking turnout, Dr Grady beat union official Matt Waddup, the UCU’s national head of policy and campaigns, in the second round of voting.
High on Dr Grady’s agenda will be the pay and pension disputes, with potential strike action looming on both fronts in the new academic term.
The final 2019-20 pay offer was a 1.8 per cent minimum rise, climbing to 3.65 per cent for the lowest paid, falling well short of the UCU’s demand. Meanwhile, the Universities Superannuation Scheme dispute continues as the UCU and employers battle over who should foot the cost of increased pensions contributions.
“There are a lot of issues going on in HE at the minute: there is the looming chaos of Brexit and what that means for our staff and students; there is pay; and there’s pensions,” Dr Grady told Times Higher Education.
She believes her front-line experience in higher education will prove invaluable in her new role. As a lecturer, she has experienced what it is like to have to mark 250 essays in a three-week period, for example.
“You can’t inject that experience into somebody and them know what it is like, without working in the sector,” she argued.
Dr Grady, who was a founding member of the USSbriefs collective, said that university staff “rarely get asked what we think needs doing” in the sector.
Universities have “highly educated people whose careers are about solving problems and looking at evidence”, yet when it comes to decisions in their own institutions, their views often “just get disregarded”, she said.
Concerns facing higher education staff include not just pay and pensions, but also casualisation, precarity and workload.
The perception that staff just have to put up with these things and the feeling of “complete impotence” was challenged by last year’s USS pensions strike action, said Dr Grady.
“That idea of helplessness evaporated. People would rediscover their courage, or maybe just find courage they didn’t know they had and remember what it was that brought them into the sector,” she added.
“Apathy is the oxygen of people who don’t want change, and any apathy that had been breeding was just blown away by this tornado of events.”
Dr Grady made a pledge during her campaign – which she “will stand by” – to donate some of her general secretary’s salary (£94,545 a year, plus London weighting) to the UCU’s Fighting Fund, which is used to support members when they are on strike.
“I think as general secretary if you are then seen to be actively encouraging the use of the fund and donating some of what is a very big salary to it, I think that’s quite an important tone to set.”
Dr Grady will be touring UCU branches in September and October as part of the union’s USS, pay, equality and anti-casualisation campaigns.
Dr Grady grew up in a “working-class household” in Wakefield in West Yorkshire and was the first in her family to go to university.
“I think I was actually the first person in my family to do A levels. Both my brothers are tradesmen, so the idea of going to university was not something that was discussed in the house just because there wasn’t a legacy of it,” she said.
She was “brought up in a community and, particularly, a family where you are encouraged to work really hard, but also a community that builds everybody up”.
“You have a lot of high self-esteem and confidence in your own abilities; but also the way in which I have worked has always been collaborative so you are building things together,” said Dr Grady.
In that spirit of collaboration, she messaged supporters recently, telling them that “although the election is over, we will need to stay organised and keep working together if we are to achieve what we want, both inside and outside UCU”.
Publicație : The Times
Trump renews amorphous free speech threat to campuses
US president’s agitations seen as having political rather than practical goals
Donald Trump is amplifying his amorphous threats to cut off federal aid to colleges deemed to be failing to protect free speech – but the practical impact of the threats may be secondary to their political impact, ahead of next year’s election.
In his most recent blast at academia, the US president promised a cheering crowd of teenage conservatives that he would tie the $35 billion (£28 billion) in annual federal spending on university research and other grant aid for higher education to compliance on free speech.
“Any college that refuses now to respect your First Amendment rights will be asking for billions and billions of dollars, and they won’t be getting it,” Mr Trump told a conferenceheld by the right-wing student organisation Turning Point USA in Washington on 23 July.
Mr Trump first raised that idea back in March, embracing the long-standing tool that federal policymakers use to impose their will on states: conditioning federal dollars on cooperative behaviours.
Common examples in higher education include laws requiring universities to obtain accreditation and to avoid gender-based discrimination to remain eligible for billions of dollars in student loans and grants.
But presidents do not generally have the ability to impose such conditions unilaterally without the support of Cprongress.
Beyond that hurdle, as many individual states are discovering, there are big questions about whether free speech violations on college campuses are so widespread that new laws are required, and about how best to write rules that will help more than they hurt.
About a third of all states have enacted such measures, incited by Mr Trump and other political conservatives complaining that college campuses are liberal bastions that shout down conservative speakers or prevent them from even appearing.
The problem is real and goes beyond partisan exaggeration, said Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The group, also known as FIRE, is a 20-year-old lobby group advocating a non-partisan approach to protecting free speech rights on university campuses.
Yet many states are having trouble reaching a productive balance, Mr Cohn said. Some, he said, are unwisely requiring colleges to impose mandatory suspensions and expulsions for broad categories of disruptive behaviours towards speakers.
Such policies can remove from colleges the ability to make important case-by-case and person-by-person distinctions about what was actually done, Mr Cohn said.
Actions such as displaying protest signs or shouting briefly are and should be generally protected, while a sustained action to drown out a speaker should not be, he argued. For free speech defenders in many states, Mr Cohn said, these prescriptive codes are “too rigid and likely to be abused in the other direction”.
States are being helpful, however, when they force colleges to halt the practice of “free speech zones”, Mr Cohn said. Such zones often confine unpopular voices to locations on campus outside the places where they are likely to be heard, he said.
States also can help by making institutions liable for damages in such cases, Mr Cohn continued. Otherwise, he said, students need to sue individually, and the length of time courts typically take to adjudicate complaints can often mean that juniors and seniors will graduate and lose legal standing before they can obtain a verdict.
The fact that an executive order on the subject likely would be unenforceable or subject to court challenge has little importance to Mr Trump and his right-wing admirers, said Larry J. Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia.
Mr Trump rarely seeks the attention of anyone beyond the hard-core conservative groups that he is now seeking to energise for a strong electoral turnout in next year’s presidential election, said Dr Sabato, founder and director of his university’s Center for Politics. And campus free speech has become a hot-button issue for sections of the right, where colleges are viewed as hotbeds of liberal bias.
“This is just Trump showing the flag once again and saying, ‘I’m on your side,’” Dr Sabato said. “What does Trump have to lose? He’s not going to get many votes from faculty and students in 2020 anyway.”
The Trump administration, meanwhile, does not appear to be consulting with higher education leaders as it considers its options. The leading higher education lobby group, the American Council on Education, criticised Mr Trump’s plan in March as “unnecessary and unwelcome, a solution in search of a problem”. A spokesman said that the group has had no updates since then.
Publicație : The Times
German ‘universities of excellence’ party, and self-promote, hard
The live unveiling of Germany’s Excellence Strategy institutions is greeted by champagne, confetti and a changing of attitudes
On a Friday afternoon, university presidents, city mayors, senior managers, academics and students waited nervously on campuses across Germany. Champagne was on ice. Confetti cannon were primed. TV cameras rolled.
In silence they watched on 19 July a live-stream from Bonn of Anja Karliczek, federal minister for education and research, reading out the names of Germany’s 13 “universities of excellence” – a coveted status that comes with extra collective funding of €148 million (£132 million) a year, not to mention priceless bragging rights.
At the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, one of 19 applicants in the running, onlookers wiped sweat from their faces and anxiously patted their legs as Ms Karliczek listed the winners in alphabetical order.
Eventually she reached “K” and announced “…Das Karlsruher Institut für Technologie”. The crowd erupted into a cheer, hands above their heads, as though celebrating a goal for the German football team. Besuited university dignitaries hugged and punched the air.
Since Germany launched its Excellence Strategy in 2005 (then known as the Excellence Initiative), this live unveiling of the results – nicknamed the ExStra-Finale by the education journalist Jan-Martin Wiarda – has become a fixture in the German higher education calendar. The Excellence Strategy, now in its third iteration, aims to “strengthen Germany’s position as an outstanding place for research in the long term and further improve its international competitiveness” (the scheme also funds “clusters of excellence” as well as individual universities).
While the Excellence Strategy’s extra funding is actually quite limited – an additional 2 to 3 per cent on top of normal budgets, estimated Günter Ziegler, president of the Free University of Berlin (FU) – its deeper impact is arguably to have seeded a culture in which self-promotion is encouraged.
Some university Twitter feeds were awash with videos of jubilant, cheering crowds. Press releases happily proclaimed their universities “excellent”. The rectorate of the University of Bonn and the city’s mayor paraded through the city centre on an open-top bus to celebrate their triumph.
In the capital, four institutions – the FU, the Humboldt University of Berlin, the Technical University of Berlin, plus the Charité university hospital – entered together as the Berlin University Alliance. Celebrating their success, 500 guests danced to the music of no fewer than five DJs, with a couple of university vice-presidents and the city’s state secretary for science and research taking to the decks.
“We had a lot of fun, and we were celebrating into Saturday morning,” said Professor Ziegler.
He insisted that the party would have gone ahead even if the alliance had been unsuccessful (the event was billed as “champagne or mineral water”). More important are the institutions’ joint plans, he said.
The live results do not come as a complete surprise for everyone, explained Dieter Lenzen, president of the University of Hamburg – he was informed of Hamburg’s success a few hours before the official announcement.
Still, university heads have to prepare to commiserate as well as celebrate. “I’m nearly 72 years old, so I know anything can happen,” he said. “I had two speeches in my pocket” – one for success, one for failure, he explained.
Excellence status allows Hamburg to finally be taken seriously by the city’s elite, Professor Lenzen said. Since it was founded in 1918, the university has been long overlooked by a merchant ruling class that thought trade more important than higher education. “Starting today, I never again want to hear Universität Hamburg is ‘at best average’. That is now proven to be straight-up ‘fake news’,” he said in a statementcelebrating the win.
But winners necessitate losers. At the University of Stuttgart, the team who bid for excellence status watched in disappointment as Ms Karliczek failed to read out the institution’s name, lamented rector Wolfram Ressel.
They then headed to a beach-themed party put on for them by students. “In the beginning, the atmosphere was a bit down. But after some beers everybody laughed,” he said. Stuttgart’s bid, though unsuccessful, was nonetheless a unifying exercise that prompted faculty and students to promote the university and jointly plan for the future, he said.
The competition has indeed changed the culture of German universities, said Professor Lenzen, but he added two caveats. Only 50 to 60 universities out of about 400 actually compete, he pointed out. And this new hierarchy has not itself created differences between universities; rather it has merely brought them out into the open, doing away with the previously prevailing fiction that all German universities were comparable, he argued.
“In the end there is more balance than change,” said Peter-André Alt, former president of the FU and now head of the German Rectors’ Conference. A handful of German universities have made strides in boosting their reputation internationally – he mentioned the Free University, the Technical University of Munich and LMU Munich – but the country’s system is still one of “distributed excellence”, with no one institution at the peak of international rankings. Public opinion is of the belief that “they should not aim at a comparable situation as the US”, he said.
As the then president of the FU, Professor Alt remembers the months of nervous tension before the previous ExStra-Finale in 2012. After the FU’s win in that round, the party went on until midnight, he recalled: “For an academic party, it’s quite long.”
Publicație : The Times
Classement de Shanghai par disciplines: les universités françaises brillent en sciences naturelles
CLASSEMENT – Le classement des universités par discipline souligne cette année encore la difficulté des établissements français à se démarquer même si les formations en sciences naturelles sortent du lot.
Alors que le très attendu classement de Shanghai devrait sortir mi-août, le palmarès des universités mondiales par discipline en 2019 vient d’être dévoilé. Un classement qui livre son lot d’enseignements concernant les universités françaises…
La France à trois reprises sur le podium
Une fois la lecture du classement de Shanghai par discipline achevée, impossible de ne pas constater les nombreuses similitudes avec l’année précédente. La France, comme chaque année, parvient difficilement à tirer son épingle du jeu. Elle arrive toutefois à se hisser à trois reprises sur le podium: l’université de Montpellier occupe la première place en écologie pour la deuxième année consécutive, l’université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines est encore en deuxième position en sciences de l’atmosphère et la Sorbonne en deuxième position également en mathématiques. C’est en sciences naturelles que les établissements français se font donc remarquer.
En mathématiques, les formations françaises se distinguent, derrière la Sorbonne, qui arrive en deuxième position après l’université américaine de Princeton, se trouvent: l’université Paris-Sud (cinquième), l’École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (27ème), l’université Paris-Dauphine (28ème) et l’université Paris Diderot (29ème) complètent ce top 5.
En océanographie, la France enregistre une progression fulgurante: elle occupe la troisième place cette année contre la 32ème en 2018. Par ailleurs la France gagne une place en physique: l’université Paris-Sud, 10ème l’an dernier, est 9ème cette année. Autre bémol, en médecine, la première université française est inexistante avant le 35ème rang mondial, et il s’agit encore de l’université de Paris-Sud.
Entrée de l’université Grenoble Alpes en étude des minéraux
L’Université Grenoble Alpes est certainement l’une des surprises de ce classement par disciplines. Elle fait son entrée dans le classement de Shanghai en ingénierie des minéraux (mining and mineral engineering). L’an passé, seule l’université de Lorraine représentait la France dans ce domaine. Elle occupait la 24ème position. Cette année, elle occupe la 19ème position et l’université Grenoble Alpes la 51 ème.
Autre nouveauté: le positionnement des cursus français en économie. Malgré la présence de seulement deux écoles tricolores dans le top 50: l’université Toulouse 1 et la Paris School of Economics, il est important de souligner la belle progression de Toulouse 1 qui passe de la 49ème à la 21ème position cette année.
La France peine à trouver sa place dans d’autres disciplines. En droit par exemple, aucune formation de l’hexagone ne figure dans les 200 premières classées.
Hégémonie des États-Unis
En ce qui concerne les formations étrangères, la suprématie des États-Unis se dessine une nouvelle fois: sur les 54 disciplines recensées, les formations américaines prennent 35 fois la première place. L’université d’Harvard se démarque cette année encore avec 11 formations à la première place, ce résultat est cependant moins exceptionnel par rapport à l’an passé où elle en comptait 17. La Chine suit de loin, avec 11 formations en tête de classement.
Les sciences sociales et humaines écartées
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) établit chaque année, depuis 2003, un palmarès d’établissements d’enseignement supérieur, très attendu par les universitaires. Il s’appuie sur certains critères bien définis pour parvenir à une sélection: le nombre d’anciens élèves et professeurs ayant remporté un prix Nobel ou la médaille Fields, le nombre de chercheurs les plus cités dans leurs disciplines ou ceux d’entre eux ayant publié dans des revues scientifiques ciblées. C’est donc un indicateur tourné vers la recherche plus que vers la qualité de l’enseignement.
D’après une étude menée en 2015 par l’établissement Campus France, qui promeut à l’étranger l’enseignement français, l’une des limites de ce palmarès réside dans son attachement aux «sciences dures» au détriment des sciences sociales et humaines.
Publicație : Le Figaro