Colleges don’t generally plan academic programs to respond to breaking news. But in the last few years, a handful of US highered institutions have offered multisession “pop-up courses” that faculty can design quickly for students who want to earn credit for studying events in real time. “Given the rate at which things are changing in the country right now, we can’t always reflect those changes efficiently enough in our curriculum,” said Karen Talentino, vice president for academic affairs at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. “Like many schools, we were dealing with issues of diversity and inclusion on campus, and we needed some way to pull people together to let them talk about their concerns and emotions.” In spring 2017, about 100 students at St. Michael’s took pop-up courses titled ‘Black Lives Matter and ‘White Privilege’. Students also analyzed one another’s online profiles in a course called ‘Living in a Digital World’ offered by the college’s IT department. – Matt Zalaznick, University Business. Read more

Better maternity leave could boost British productivity by encouraging qualified women to stay in the workforce, according to researchers who found universities with the most generous maternity leave employed twice the number of women professors compared with those offering the least. Vera Troeger, a professor of economics at Warwick University, said her research found that the universities with the best maternity leave policies were better able to retain qualified women who went on to become professors and receive higher pay. But universities that offered much shorter periods of paid leave were more likely to see qualified women staff leave after having children, disrupting or even ending their careers – Richard Adams, The Guardian. Read more

Education New Zealand, along with the NZ Film Commission, has partnered with production studios Universal Pictures, MRC and Hungry City Ltd on the upcoming feature Mortal Engines to promote the country’s creative arts education to overseas students. “We aim to build international awareness of New Zealand’s strengths in the creative arts principally in the tertiary and vocational education sectors involving universities, ITPs and private providers,” ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson said. “We want to build New Zealand’s reputation in the creative arts by linking to an industry that is growing and always looking for talent.” – Anton Crace, The PIE News. Read more

A new ¥800 billion package announced by the Japanese government will enable students from certain low-income households to be eligible for free education at national universities and reduced tuition costs at private universities, two-year colleges and vocational schools from 2020. The grants, or scholarships as they are called, are intended to reduce the problem of low-income students defaulting on loan repayments. Loans are currently the main way for cash-strapped families to finance college education. Suvendrini Kakuchi, University World News. Read more

Ireland’s Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, and the Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, have released the review for the Allocation Model for Funding Higher Education Institutions and the Higher Education System Performance Framework for 2018-2020. The framework states the government’s ambition to become the best higher education system in Europe and position Ireland as Global Innovation Leader by 2026. Higher levels of funding would be granted to courses more expensive to run, STEM courses in particular. Bruton said it was “all about incentivising colleges to give more of what’s important”. Funding will also be allocated based on the performance of departments and distribution of additional funding based on research achievements will be doubled. – Sinead Barry, Trinity News. Read more

Famed value investor Bill Miller has pledged to donate US$75 million to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Philosophy in what is being touted as the largest-ever gift to a university philosophy program. Miller is a former Hopkins philosophy graduate student. He is best known in the investing world for beating the Standard & Poor’s 500 index for 15 straight years while working at Legg Mason from 1991 to 2005. “I attribute much of my business success to the analytical training and habits of mind that were developed when I was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins,” Miller told the university. – David Carrig, USA Today. Read more


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