WENR, April 2015: Americas


French Business School to Open Brazil Campus

French business school, SKEMA [1], recently announced that it will open its first campus in Latin America near Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, Brazil. In partnership with Fundação Dom Cabral [2] (FDC), ranked as Latin America’s best business school by the Financial Times Executive Education ranking last year, SKEMA will begin teaching its first 100 students in September.

In a statement, SKEMA said it chose Belo Horizonte, the third most economically important city in Brazil, because it offers a “burgeoning economic context.” FDC, which also has strategic partnerships with INSEAD and Kellogg, will be sharing its facilities with SKEMA. Located 20km from Belo Horizonte, this opening will be SKEMA’s sixth campus following its previous expansions from its three locations in France – Lille, Paris and Sophia Antipolis – to Raleigh in the U.S. and Suzhou in China.

The PIE News [3]
March 18, 2015


14 Everest College Campuses Closed

The government of Ontario has shut down 14 campuses of Everest College, whose U.S.-based parent company, Corinthian Colleges, collapsed last year while under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Education.

In February, the regulator that oversees Everest revoked the chain’s license to operate. The National Association of Career Colleges, a nonprofit group that represents career colleges in Canada, told the CBC that it hoped to work with the province to limit the damage to the more than 2,400 students who attend Everest institutions in Ontario.

CBC [4]
February 19, 2015


Three Initiatives to Build Academic Cooperation with the United States

Mexico is the United States’ third-largest trading partner, but its ninth-largest source of international students [5] — and the 15th most popular destination for Americans studying abroad [6]. As for research collaboration, National Science Foundation statistics [7] show that just 1.6 percent of all scientific articles coauthored by U.S. and foreign researchers involve a scientist from Mexico, well below the percentages for Britain (14.1 percent), China (13.7 percent), Germany (13.3 percent) and Canada (11.8 percent).

Currently, three overlapping governmental initiatives are underway to try to stimulate an increase in academic mobility and scientific collaboration between the two neighbors. The U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research [8] (FOBESII), officially launched last May with the goal of promoting greater academic cooperation. This program exists alongside President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which aims to dramatically expand student mobility between the U.S. and Latin America as a whole, and the Mexican government’s Proyecta 100,000, which promotes U.S.-Mexico two-way exchange. The Mexican government awarded 7,500 Proyecta 100,000 scholarships for short-term intensive English study in the U.S. last year.

joint year-end statement [8] on FOBESII’s progress in 2014 highlights achievements, including a reported near doubling in the number of Mexican students coming to the U.S. — attributable in large part to the Proyecta 100,000 scholarships — and the expansion of relationships between the National Science Foundation and its Mexican counterpart, the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).

In 2014, the Mexican and U.S. governments held six workshops under the FOBESII umbrella and have devised a 72-point action plan focused on four main areas: academic mobility, language acquisition, workforce development and joint research and innovation.

Inside Higher Ed [9]
February 27, 2015


Paraguay Attracts Students from Angola and Brazil

Thousands of Brazilian and Angolan students are heading to Paraguay for graduate studies at scores of private Paraguayan universities, even though the academic standards of some colleges are being questioned by education officials. Most graduates from these countries share the same goal: to earn a specialized diploma faster and less expensively than in their own countries, opening the door to advancement in public sector employment.

There is high demand in Brazil for graduate studies, but public universities there cannot meet demand while private options are expensive when compared to Paraguay. In Angola, where Portuguese is also the official language, students face a similar situation, and the African country’s cultural connections to Brazil draw many students to South America who then choose Paraguay because the cost of living and college fees are lower.

The flow of students is being boosted by international education agreements that bring roughly 2,000 Brazilian and 500 Angolan students to Paraguay each year, Migration Directorate figures show. To earn a master’s degree in any of the disciplines offered by more than 50 private universities in Paraguay costs an average of $3,900. This new and booming higher education business has resulted in a mushrooming of private universities in Paraguay’s capital, although not all of the institutions offering master’s and doctoral degrees are accredited by the government, Salvadora Gimenez, director of Universities and Higher Education Institutions, told EFE.

In the first four years after enactment of “very permissive” legislation in 2006, Gimenez said, more than 30 new universities appeared without being required to submit their curricula and abide by the rules in effect under previous regulations.

EFE [10]
February 2, 2015

United States

Grade Inflation Continues Unabated

Despite stagnant academic performance, more students than ever before are receiving higher grades than they should, according to a recent article in The Atlantic that discusses America’s problem with grade inflation. The trend is raising ethical questions and marks a 180-flip from a few decades ago, when the opposite problem – grade deflation – plagued many colleges.

“Students aren’t getting smarter,” said Stuart Rojstaczer, a writer and former science professor who calls himself the country’s “grade inflation czar.” Rojstaczer’s website, GradeInflation.com, compiled Grade Point Average data from more than 230 American universities. These studies corroborate the inflation, showing that the growth rate started to escalate following the Vietnam War.

Average college GPAs in 2006 were much higher than they were in 1930, according to a study of more than 160 colleges and universities that was published in the Columbia University-based publication Teachers College Record [11]. Unlike average GPAs overall test scores have remained relatively steady over time, demonstrating that the grade inflation is artificial. Graduate literacy has also kept constant; the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that average literacy hasn’t changed since 1992.

The Atlantic [12]
January 13, 2015

U.S. Universities Lead World Ranking of Patent Applications

Nine U.S. universities and university systems led among academic institutions ranked by number of international patent filings in 2014, but institutions in other countries are quickly expanding their patent application numbers, according to a report [13] released in March by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Among total patent applications from both academia and industry, for example, U.S. filings increased by 7.1 percent compared with 2013, while China’s increased by 18.7 percent.

Last year, 215,000 international patents were filed, a 4.5 percent increase from 2013. The three most prolific applicants were telecommunications firms, two from China and one from the U.S. In the educational realm, the University of California system led with 413 applications, placing 47th overall. The next eight positions were also U.S. universities:  MIT (234 patents), the University of Texas system (154), Harvard (147), Johns Hopkins (135), Stanford (113), Columbia (112), Caltech (103), and Penn (94). Other countries represented among the top 20 universities included South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Denmark, and China.

The Scientist [14]
March 23, 2015