WENR, January/February 2013: Americas
Internationalization Pays Off in Scientific Research
Science and engineering departments with doctoral students from several different countries tend to produce more publications and get more citations, a new study has found.
“Skilled Immigration and Innovation: Evidence from Enrollment Fluctuations in U.S. Doctoral Programs” argues that when scholars are drawn from across the world, they bring complementary skills and ideas that aid research. The paper’s researchers analyzed a database of American and foreign doctoral students at 2,300 science and engineering departments in the U.S. from 1973 to 1998. They looked at how many publications were produced each year and at the number of citations garnered by the papers.
If a department had 10 foreign students from five different global regions, it would on average produce 0.76 more publications and win 28.65 more citations a year than one where the international students hailed from just two regions, the research found. However, it does caution that the statistical evidence for this effect is “limited” and that problems with communication and coordination for students from across the world may offset some of the benefits of diversity.
The article, which was published in the December edition of The Economic Journal, finds that international students on scholarships contributed more citations to their department than those who had to pay full fees because entry standards were higher for those who won scholarships. This has implications for visa policy, the paper says. Rather than issuing visas to students who have “financial wealth sufficient to support graduate study and return home,” the authors argue that students should be allowed in to the U.S. based on their quality by looking at, for example, whether they have won a scholarship to a top-ranked course.
– Inside Higher Ed
December 14, 2012
Government Mulls Tighter Visa Regulations
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has issued a proposal to limit student visas to those attending institutions officially approved by provinces and territories from 2014. A monitoring initiative would also be introduced as part of the reforms.
The CIC says it has introduced the proposal as a means of curbing abuse of the country’s student visa regime, which currently has “gaps” that are being exploited, according to a 2011 evaluation of the CIC’s International Student Program. Under the proposals, the CIC would require visa applicants to provide evidence that they are genuine, while also making it easier for eligible students to obtain part-time work.
The biggest change would see CIC working with provinces and territories to designate which institutions are permitted to host international students. The CIC would also have the power to request evidence from study permit holders verifying their compliance with student visa conditions. Currently, foreign nationals need only demonstrate “an intent to study” and there is no requirement for them to actually pursue studies once in Canada – nor a system to track whether they do.
In another proposed reform, eligible international students would be able to work part-time off-campus without having to apply for a separate work permit. CIC says this will contribute to Canada’s appeal as a study destination. The new guidelines, released by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in late December, have been met with broad support from postsecondary institutions, but career colleges are reportedly less enthusiastic, as programs lasting less than six months would be automatically ineligible as students can study on tourist visas if in country for less than six months.
December 29, 2012
Canadian Overseas Campuses Enjoy Mixed Success
A recent feature in University Affairs looks at the differing fates of a number of Canada’s overseas branch campuses, beginning with a report of a recent convocation ceremony for graduating nurses at the University of Calgary-Qatar (UCQ). The ceremony was attended by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, wife of the ruling emir in Qatar, who has been instrumental in the success of the program.
The UCQ’s third convocation ceremony was held in November for a dozen students, all female, receiving their bachelor of nursing degrees. It marked a major turnaround for the Doha-based institution. Some 40 students have graduated since UCQ opened its doors in 2007, and 50 more are expected to do so next year. Enrollment stands at about 300 students and is expected to reach 400 next year, and early in 2013, the school plans to launch a master’s program.
Sheikha Moza has strongly supported women’s education and UCQ. One of the major obstacles U of C faced at the outset five years ago was a widespread perception in Qatar that nursing wasn’t an esteemed profession, but Sheika Moza has helped tremendously in reversing that mindset, according to university officials.
Other Canadian postsecondary institutions with overseas branch campuses have met with mixed success. A recent report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education said Canadian institutions face several challenges in operating offshore campuses, including stiff competition from U.S., British and Australian counterparts, high development and operating costs, and murky host country regulations.
The University of Waterloo recently announced that it is closing its campus in the United Arab Emirates next September, due to low enrollment. The Dubai-based campus has 140 students enrolled in first and second year programs, well below the projected 500 students. York University’s Schulich School of Business plans to build a business school in India, but has been frustrated by extended delays in federal legislation that would define rules for overseas campuses in India. Newfoundland’s College of the North Atlantic opened a satellite campus in Doha in 2002.
– University Affairs
January 9, 2013
Study Rates Universities, Finds Public Universities Strongest
A ranking of Chilean universities, published in late November, finds, unsurprisingly, that Chile’s higher education system is lead by its older “traditional” universities, while most other private universities lag behind.
Universidad Católica was ranked first among Chile’s 49 accredited universities by the Group of Advanced University Studies and El Mercurio. The ranking of universities is based on the quality of undergraduate teaching, and nine of the top 10 universities belonged to the Council of University Directors of Chile (Cruch), an organization comprising the country’s 25 oldest and most prestigious schools. Universidad Católica was followed in the ranking by Universidad de Chile and Universidad de Concepción. The top private university was Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, which ranked tenth.
The study rated universities on criteria such as the percentage of faculty with doctorates, the number of students per professor, student retention rates and standardized test scores.
– Santiago Times
November 30, 2012
New Accreditation Bill Put Before Congress
Education Minister Harald Beyer presented a bill to Congress in December that seeks to tighten the country’s academic accreditation system.
Under the provisions of the bill, universities would be accredited for a minimum of six years, as opposed to the current minimum of one year, while action would be taken against universities that do not request accreditation, a process that is currently voluntary for non-health education programs. Under the new law, unaccredited universities would not receive any public funding and their students’ degrees would not be recognized.
“(The law) will make fundamental changes to the university accreditation system,” Beyer told local press. “This will allow us to have a much more reliable accreditation system than we have today.”
Beyer hopes to have the new system implemented this year.
– Santiago Times
December 3, 2012
Government Clamps Down on ‘Garage Universities’
Following decades without proper oversight, Ecuador is looking to tighten up regulations and remove so-called ‘garage universities’ from its higher education sector, beginning with the forced closure of 14 institutions last year.
The 1990s and 2000s saw a mushrooming of new, private institutions in Ecuador. Between 1992 and 2006, 45 of Ecuador’s 71 universities were created. In the complete absence of quality oversight, many of these were operated with little or no regard for standards, with the alleged backing of unscrupulous members of Ecuador’s National Congress.
Acknowledging the deficiencies of the system as it had come to be, Ecuador’s CONEA (Council for the Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education in Ecuador) undertook a comprehensive assessment of Ecuador’s higher education sector in 2009. More recently, CEAACES (Council for the Evaluation, Accreditation and Assessment of the Quality of Higher Education in Ecuador) reassessed the findings and followed up with its own national survey by a team of experts in 2011. Based on the findings of the CEAACES report, Ecuador’s universities were graded on a scale from ‘A’ to ‘E’. Those in category ‘E’ were ordered to make drastic improvements within a specified timeframe or face closure.
In April 2012, CEAACES made good on its promises and closed 14 universities. Those students studying at institutions required to close were all found replacement programs at alternative institutions. As it closes down underperforming higher education institutions, Ecuador is investing significantly in new ones, like the Universidad Regional Amazónica IKIAM, a major university complex which will be located in the Napo province to the East of the country.
– International Focus
International Enrollments at Community Colleges Drop 2%
A month after the release of the 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, the Institute of International Education released a special Open Doors Community College Resource, with data tables on more than five years of international education trends for community colleges, including top host and sending countries and campuses, fields of study and student characteristics.
According to the report, in 2011/12 the number of international students at community colleges increased by 5 percent over the past five years (since 2006/2007), but the latest figures also show a 2 percent decline in international students compared to the previous year. From 89,853 in 2010/11, international enrollments fell to 87,997 in 2011/12. Meanwhile, international students at associate’s institutions make up 11.5 percent of total international students studying in the U.S.
The data also show that more than half of the international students studying at associate’s institutions in the U.S. are from Asian countries. South Korea is about tied with China as the leading sender of students to U.S. community colleges, unlike the national trend for all institutions, where China is by far the leader. India is just the tenth largest source of international community college students, although second in the overall picture. The other countries in the top 10, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Nepal and Venezuela, are all higher on the list for community colleges than they are for total U.S. higher education.
In 2010/11, study abroad figures for students at community colleges showed a decline: dropping from 5,412 students in 2009/10 to 4,566 in the latest data.
– Institute of International Education
SAT Data Reveal 2013 China International Enrollment Trends and Recruitment Insights
Recent data from The CollegeBoard on SAT and AP test-takers around the world show that Chinese test numbers grew by almost 50 percent last year versus 2011, while the number of tests being sent to non-US schools also grew significantly across the world.
The data, published by Intead, a recruitment company, with permission from The CollegeBoard, show that 60 percent of Chinese test-takers come from the Beijing and Shanghai metro areas, and from the provinces of Jiangsu and Guangdong. However, six secondary regions in the less-affluent interior are showing the fastest growth in test-taker numbers: Jiangxi, Hainan, Henan, Sichuan, Hunan and Chongqing. These secondary markets might be considered less competitive to recruit in and hence more fertile ground, as most universities recruiting in China focus on the main east coast markets.
Chinese test-takers should be considered highly motivated to follow through and enroll as the exam, which is held six times a year, is only offered on the Chinese mainland to those at authorized schools, meaning most students have to fly to test centers in Hong Kong, Singapore and other locations in Southeast Asia. The new SAT data is a sign that booming Chinese numbers in U.S. undergraduate programs is set to continue. The number of Chinese students at US universities climbed 23 percent in 2012 – from 157,500 to 194,000, following a 23 percent rise the previous year.
The top 10 list of score-receiving U.S. universities is dominated by Big Ten schools in the Midwest. Intead commentary suggests that while this can be seen as a reflection of the brand appeals of these universities, it should also be noted that submissions do not reflect enrollment, just interest. The conclusion is that these schools are considered as solid choices, but frequently as the “safety” application among other more ambitious applications.
The top 10 receiving schools of SAT scores from China were: Illinois Urbana, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Berkeley, U. Washington, Penn State, UCLA, Ohio State, Purdue University, New York University.
$2 Million to Promote Study in China
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in January the launch of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which aims to expand opportunities for American students to learn Mandarin and study abroad in China. The foundation, housed at American University, in Washington, D.C., grows out of a U.S. State Department initiative to increase the number of Americans studying in China to 100,000 over four years. In 2010/11, the last year for which figures are available, 14,596 Americans studied in China, representing a 4.9 percent increase from the previous year.
“What we’re trying to do as a foundation is to create a permanent, independent infrastructure around supporting study abroad and the study of Mandarin,” said Carola McGiffert, president of the 100,000 Strong Foundation and formerly a senior adviser to the assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the State Department.
The foundation is being established with $2 million in seed funding — $1 million each from the Ford and Florence Fang Family Foundations. McGiffert said first steps will include launching a media campaign to promote study in China and raising funds for scholarships.
– Inside Higher Ed
January 25, 2013