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Civility in Academe, and the Lack of It

I want to return to the theme of civility that I addressed in a previous post.

Modern life can sometimes feel like the jungle. On the Internet, the sheer venom of online attacks is extraordinary to behold and also a bit depressing—people really think this way? The world seems a lot less hospitable, a lot bleaker.

Sadly, academe is not immune.

I have been reading John A. Hall’s excellent book The Importance of Being Civil: The Struggle for Political Decency. His thesis is that civil behavior that…

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Embracing the New Globalism: a Challenge to Rethink Study Abroad

The following is by William G. Durden, former president of Dickinson College. It is adapted from a speech he gave Wednesday at the Forum on Education Abroad’s annual meeting in San Diego.

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GlobeHigher education in the United States is not prepared to lead the future of study abroad.

It is mired in past assumptions and internal professional disputes disconnected from public demand and opportunity. And despite “cosmetic” tweaks to traditional programs,…

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Learning From the Southern Hemisphere

I recently visited Australia and Indonesia, both countries which—in their different ways—are pivotal for global higher education.

Australia is a complex system in which higher education has become a big business. It attracts a significant number of international students, especially from Asia, which generates some $6.8-billion dollars (Australian) a year, according to the Grattan Institute. That makes higher education the country’s fourth largest export earner.

Australia has pioneered new system…

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3 Ways to Help Make ‘Generation Study Abroad’ a Success

The following is by Mark Salisbury, director of institutional research and assessment at Augustana College, in Illinois.


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A Roanoke College student during her study-abroad trip to Fiji in 2012.

The Institute of International Education recently announced a new effort, Generation Study Abroad, to double the number of undergraduates going overseas annually by 2020. It seems to have once again ignited the passions of international educators and colleges.

I say “once again” because, intentionall…

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Controversial University Policies Undergird Protests in Venezuela

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Venezuelan police break up a student protest in Caracas on February 15.

In recent weeks, Venezuela has been roiled by student-led protests, and there’s no end in sight. At least 17 people have been killed, many of them university students, since demonstrations broke out in early February.

While the focus has been on the violent crackdown and the virtual standoff between the country’s new president and the young demonstrators, higher-education policies are a key part of the drama. The Venezuelan …

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Seeing Small Times: a New Frontier in Social Science

I recently visited the CERN research facility in Geneva, where a number of faculty members from the University of Warwick work. There, four great experiments spaced around the almost 17-mile ring of the Large Hadron Collider are being put to work on questions like what happened after the Big Bang. In such work it is normal to think not only in terms of large spans of time but also in picoseconds. Indeed, much of today’s science is conducted in the realm of the very small and sometimes vanishingl…

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The Rise of ‘Educational Sovereignty’

For the past several decades, many international branch campuses have operated without much oversight from their home countries and with a sense of diplomatic immunity in their host countries. Recently, however, some countries are following the lead of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore, and have created structures to regulate foreign education providers within their borders, often giving them special status in the national education system. But, as part of this development, we’ve no…

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The Need for a Global Association of Universities

The following is by Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, president of the International Association of Universities, and Eva Egron-Polak, secretary-general of the association.
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Nigel Thrift, vice chancellor of the University of Warwick, recently wrote that universities worldwide need to become better organized to represent higher education’s interests, and better self-regulated to avoid being managed by bodies outside the sector. Coming together to position univ…

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What the U.S. Can Learn From Affirmative Action in Brazil

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President Obama and other White House officials are looking for ways to get more low-income students into college.

Last month’s White House summit on low-income college students underscores a growing consensus in U.S. policy circles: that socioeconomic status should replace race as the basis for affirmative action. The new logic reflects both public opinion and recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings calling for greater scrutiny of race-based affirmative action.

However, it misses a key point. While u…

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At American U. of Afghanistan, a Day of Mourning, and a Renewed Sense of Mission

The following is by C. Michael Smith, president of the American University of Afghanistan.
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A memorial service was held on Sunday to honor two employees of the American U. of Afghanistan who were killed in Kabul.

On Sunday, the American University of Afghanistan held a memorial service for Alexis (Lexie) Kamerman and Alexandros Petersen, whom the university lost one week ago in an attack on a popular Kabul restaurant. The attack was notable for its brutality, …