HE News Brief 26.11.2012

  • UK: First for-profit British university
  • Saudi Arabia: Research chairs are suffering
  • Singapore: Demise of an offshore campus
  • UK: No-exam university courses fuel degree inflation
  • Taiwan: NTU takes over the HEEACT ranking

The College of Law, a for profit orgnisation run by a venture capital turned into the University of Law, making it the first for-profit university in UK. The announcement was made as part of a controversial government plan to create more diversity in the higher education system. The university has also created a £200m endowment fund to boost access to law courses among students from poor backgrounds.

Research chairs in some Saudi government universities are suffering a financial crisis because of their sponsors’ lack of commitment,Some research chairs were created after sentimental promises rather than scientifically determining the need of their existencetotal number of research chairs in Saudi Arabia is 221. The study claimed that none of these chairs came out with results as planned. In fact, individuals sponsors account for 56 percent of the chairs.

Full Story: Arab News

Tisch Asia, a graduate film and creative arts school in Singapore that is a branch of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, this month announced that it would close, possibly in 2014. There are important implications for Western-style fine arts education’s transferability to Asia, and more specifically the viability of branch campuses in Singapore.However, after years of financial problems since it opened in 2007,The losses at Tisch Asia were reportedly huge – a cautionary tale for others thinking of setting up in Singapore to mint money and enhance their international reputation.It is important to note that the cost of Tisch in Singapore was not cheap – it is almost the same as New York With tuition fees close to S$55,000 (US$45,000), Tisch Asia has for some time had difficulty attracting local students.Another problem was the lack of relevant industries in Singapore itself.

Students are being awarded degrees in academic subjects without sitting any examinations during their three years at university.Hundreds of courses in British universities are now 90 to 100 per cent coursework, with first and second year exams and traditional finals abolished in subjects as wide ranging as history, English, psychology, philosophy, media, American studies, childhood studies, and business management.Research indicates that students prefer coursework, regarding it as “fairer” than exams. And there is evidence to suggest that coursework marks are a better indicator of the long-term learning of course content than exams.But studies also show that students tend to get higher marks from written assignments than from exams leading to ‘degree inflation’.

Full Story: The Telegraph

The National Taiwan University has taken over the baton from HEEACT to publish a ranking of top 500 global universities, by six fields and 14 subjects. The methodology is broadly based on evaluating scientific paper performance through 8 different indicators such as H index in last 2 years, no. of highly cited papers in last 11 years,average number of citations in last 11 years etc. Harvard, John Hopkins and Standford University makes the top 3 in the respective order.