A leading administrator who swapped the UK for Australia has warned that more talented staff will follow suit if British universities fail to ensure that higher education professionals feel valued. Tania Rhodes-Taylor joined the University of Sydney in February 2017 as vice-principal, external relations, having previously served as director of marketing and communications at Queen Mary University of London. She told Times Higher Education that she had found at her new employer that “there isn’t the same status divide [between academics and administrators] that there is in some institutions in the UK”. Rhodes-Taylor was among the attendees at the Global University Engagement Summit, held at the University of Melbourne last month, alongside other British higher education professionals who have moved to Australia in recent years. These included Nick Blinco, Melbourne’s vice-principal (advancement), previously director of engagement at the University of Birmingham, and Ken Sloan, deputy vice-chancellor (enterprise) at Monash University, a former chief operating officer at the University of Warwick. Rhodes-Taylor said that, while she had moved to Australia for what the job involved, not the title that came with it, “in the UK people from my background are only starting to make it on to university executives”. – Chris Havergal, Times Higher. Read more

Brazil’s study abroad market skyrocketed in 2016, increasing by 14 per cent, with more than 247,000 Brazilian students studying overseas. The Brazilian Educational and Language Travel Association (BELTA), recently released a survey that shows Brazil’s average-stay study abroad programs increased between 2015-2016. About 37.8 per cent of Brazilian students study abroad for two or three months, but 2016 saw a shift to longer stays.  What are Brazilian students studying?  Language.  Students particularly seek programs that give them language skills, in addition to opportunities for temporary work.  Top destinations for Brazilian students include Canada, the US, Australia, Ireland, the UK, and New Zealand. – Alyssa Walker, Masterstudies.com. Read more

A study by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) has revealed that planned changes to post-study work arrangements for international students could lead to a loss of jobs and investment in the US. Current Optional Practical Training arrangements allow international students in STEM fields to work an additional two years beyond the 12 months allowed under OPT. However, sources suggest the Trump administration could be poised to end STEM OPT. The NFAP study found 81 per cent of the country’s full-time graduate students in electrical engineering and 79 per cent in computer science are international students. The additional two years has proven vital for STEM students because it provides them with a chance to obtain H-1B status. NFAP executive director Stuart Anderson said international students are “key” to America’s future in science and engineering. “Countries with which the US competes for talent, such as Canada and Australia, make it comparatively easy for international students to work after graduation. Ending STEM OPT could have a negative impact on America’s position as a centre for innovation,” he said. – Kerrie Kennedy, The Pie News. Read more

Ireland’s government has announced a €47.5 million increase in funding for the higher and further education sector in its Budget 2018, a significant increase in financial support as the sector waits for a final decision on a funding model. The government will also make €310 million available by 2021 to address the infrastructure needs of the sector. The cost of infrastructure has long been a complaint of Irish universities, many of which have struggled financially over the past decade. Trinity, for instance, has long attributed the cost of infrastructure as the reason behind a string of deficits. The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, said “continuing investment in education remains a priority for this government”, adding that the sector was vital for the Irish economy. – Dominic McGrath and Kathleen McNamee, The University Times. Read more

Russia’s Minister of Education and Science, Olga Vasilyeva, is proposing to drastically cut the number of participants in the state’s ‘Project 5-100’ aimed at developing world-class universities – in order to improve its chances of achieving its objectives by 2020. Vasilyeva is seeking to redistribute RUB30 billion (US$524 million) – the remaining sum for the program – among six domestic universities, instead of the previously planned 21. At a meeting of university rectors of institutions participating in the ‘5-100’ program, the minister said: “We need to limit the number of universities participating in the program to only six. These higher education institutions should enter the world top-100 universities, in accordance with the order of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin [issued in] May 2012.” – Eugene Vorotnikov, University World News. Read more


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