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Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Volume 10, Issue 18; May 11, 2011

The Playing Field

Duke gets cold feet?

Abroad Perspectives

In India, failing numbers and growing fears.

Over The Counter

Obvious Research. Indian corruption.

Globe Tipping

Must-know travel sites

1) THE PLAYING FIELD – Duke gets cold feet?

More than a year after Duke University’s faculty approved the development of a new campus in the Chinese city of Kunshan, some professors are beginning to speak out against the project. Citing issues from cost estimates to academic freedoms, internet access to faculty involvement and buy-in, it seems this initially exciting new venture is raising more than a few eyebrows.

Although this campus is set to be Duke’s second major Asian foray – following a 2005 medical program partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Kunshan would be the university’s first attempt at a comprehensive degree-granting campus outside of the U.S. While Duke will again have a local partner university for the Kunshan campus, this partner will not play as active a role as NUS does in the Singaporean joint medical program. Instead, at Duke-Kunshan University, the U.S. campus would wield significant authority, the institution would grant Duke degrees, and Duke faculty would establish all the academic programs.

The plan is for the campus to initially house a few business programs, accommodating around 700 students for the first six years, originating mostly from China and surrounding countries – with the long-term goal of becoming a full-fledged university with international graduate and undergraduate programs. These details have been clear for more than a year, but suddenly, with the actual campus physically taking shape and discussions about academics and finance popping up more frequently, many faculty appear unsure of where the project is heading. Since the initial approval a number of rather significant changes have occurred – including a change in Chinese partner (from the originally identified Shanghai Jiao University to the slightly lesser known Wuhan University), and a massive raise to initial cost estimates (for the first five years of operation plus start-up costs, Duke’s commitment was originally set at about $11 million – as of March, those same costs are now up to about $37 million). And with Duke’s own home campus having already cut $125 million from its budget to deal with the economic downturn, it’s understandable a number of Duke faculty or more than a bit unsettled about where this newly needed money is going to come from.

Other concerns include how the university will deal with the Chinese government’s tight fist around internet usage – and how this will in turn affect academic freedom at the campus – as well as how many Duke faculty members will be willing to work at the new campus without major financial incentives.

Yet, despite all of the above, construction of the campus is still going ahead as planned… even before China’s Ministry of Education has actually considered Duke’s application.

Source: “Second Thoughts on China”. Inside Higher Ed, April 25, 2011.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/04/25/duke_faculty_express_reservations_about_chinese_campus_currently_underway

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – In India, failing numbers and growing fears.

India is currently home to 2,000 business schools – 1,600 of which are officially accredited – and their numbers are growing. Yet even at the top institutions, such as the government-funded Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), there are reports of a 25% shortage in faculty. In fact, the situation is so dire that the government has recently formed three review committees to address issues relating to the growth of the IIMs, including governance, faculty, and funding.

At many business schools, one solution is to solicit the help of industry experts as visiting faculty and guest lecturers. While at others, more students are being encouraged to take up doctoral research. The problem with this last attempted band-aid, according to many, is a general lack in quality, as well as motivation.

“The declining quality of research work and deteriorating research standards and infrastructure in the country are a cause of the concern,” reads a recent statement by the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India. “Inadequate infrastructure and lack of strong incentives to practice quality research are major causes of decline in interest towards research work. Administrate hurdles add to the already unfavourable environment for research.”

But whatever the reason, it seems that numbers do indeed support the belief that the current level of research in the country is insufficient – in quantity at least. According to a study conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, with consulting firm Ernst & Young, India has approximately 130,000 researchers. That’s a tenth of the number of researchers in the US, and only one-seventh the number in China.
For many, these shortages – in both researchers and in faculty – are problems feared only to get worse before they get better. Overlooking the possible benefits of the soon-to-be-implemented Foreign Universities Bill (which will allow foreign business schools to set up campuses within the year), many opponents to the bill believe it will lead to fierce and ultimately destructive competition between Indian and (far wealthier) foreign business schools, especially when it comes to faculty recruitment.

In a statement sent to the recently held Educational Meet concerning the new bill, renowned writer and holder of the Tagore Chair for Indian Literature at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, U R Ananthmurthy, said: “All attempts to commercialise education should be resisted. Students and teachers must fight commercialisation. What the governments of today plan is against the spirit of our Constitution…This is also not Gandhian and goes against national struggle.” According to him, Indians should be encouraged not to “let any university by foreigners on our soil”. And he is not alone in expressing reservations against the Innovative Universities Bill – though not everyone agrees with his absolute ‘bar all foreign universities’ beliefs.

“There would be a certain amount of pressure on Indian institutions with the arrival of foreign schools,” concedes Ashok Kapoor, professor of communication and marketing at Gurgaon’s Management Development Institute. “However, this should motivate our schools to raise the bar and improve their standards.”

Sources: “India’s business school faculty crisis”. Cool Avenues.com , May 2, 2011.

http://www.coolavenues.com/b-schools/b-school-profiles/indias-business-school-faculty-crisis

& “Don’t let foreign varsities open branches here”. Indian Express, April 26, 2011.

http://expressbuzz.com/cities/bangalore/dont-let-foreign-varsities-open-branches-here/268977.html

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Obvious Research. Indian corruption.

T

Overseas, Overwhelmed©
A Bulletin for Canadian International Education Professionals
Volume 10, Issue 18; May 11, 2011

1) THE PLAYING FIELD – Duke gets cold feet?
2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – In India, failing numbers and growing fears.
3) OVER THE COUNTER – Obvious Research. Indian corruption.
4) GLOBE TIPPING – Must-know travel sites

1) THE PLAYING FIELD – Duke gets cold feet?

More than a year after Duke University’s faculty approved the development of a new campus in the Chinese city of Kunshan, some professors are beginning to speak out against the project. Citing issues from cost estimates to academic freedoms, internet access to faculty involvement and buy-in, it seems this initially exciting new venture is raising more than a few eyebrows.

Although this campus is set to be Duke’s second major Asian foray – following a 2005 medical program partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Kunshan would be the university’s first attempt at a comprehensive degree-granting campus outside of the U.S. While Duke will again have a local partner university for the Kunshan campus, this partner will not play as active a role as NUS does in the Singaporean joint medical program. Instead, at Duke-Kunshan University, the U.S. campus would wield significant authority, the institution would grant Duke degrees, and Duke faculty would establish all the academic programs.

The plan is for the campus to initially house a few business programs, accommodating around 700 students for the first six years, originating mostly from China and surrounding countries – with the long-term goal of becoming a full-fledged university with international graduate and undergraduate programs. These details have been clear for more than a year, but suddenly, with the actual campus physically taking shape and discussions about academics and finance popping up more frequently, many faculty appear unsure of where the project is heading. Since the initial approval a number of rather significant changes have occurred – including a change in Chinese partner (from the originally identified Shanghai Jiao University to the slightly lesser known Wuhan University), and a massive raise to initial cost estimates (for the first five years of operation plus start-up costs, Duke’s commitment was originally set at about $11 million – as of March, those same costs are now up to about $37 million). And with Duke’s own home campus having already cut $125 million from its budget to deal with the economic downturn, it’s understandable a number of Duke faculty or more than a bit unsettled about where this newly needed money is going to come from.

Other concerns include how the university will deal with the Chinese government’s tight fist around internet usage – and how this will in turn affect academic freedom at the campus – as well as how many Duke faculty members will be willing to work at the new campus without major financial incentives.

Yet, despite all of the above, construction of the campus is still going ahead as planned… even before China’s Ministry of Education has actually considered Duke’s application.

Source: “Second Thoughts on China”. Inside Higher Ed, April 25, 2011.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/04/25/duke_faculty_express_reservations_about_chinese_campus_currently_underway

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – In India, failing numbers and growing fears.

India is currently home to 2,000 business schools – 1,600 of which are officially accredited – and their numbers are growing. Yet even at the top institutions, such as the government-funded Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), there are reports of a 25% shortage in faculty. In fact, the situation is so dire that the government has recently formed three review committees to address issues relating to the growth of the IIMs, including governance, faculty, and funding.

At many business schools, one solution is to solicit the help of industry experts as visiting faculty and guest lecturers. While at others, more students are being encouraged to take up doctoral research. The problem with this last attempted band-aid, according to many, is a general lack in quality, as well as motivation.

“The declining quality of research work and deteriorating research standards and infrastructure in the country are a cause of the concern,” reads a recent statement by the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India. “Inadequate infrastructure and lack of strong incentives to practice quality research are major causes of decline in interest towards research work. Administrate hurdles add to the already unfavourable environment for research.”

But whatever the reason, it seems that numbers do indeed support the belief that the current level of research in the country is insufficient – in quantity at least. According to a study conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, with consulting firm Ernst & Young, India has approximately 130,000 researchers. That’s a tenth of the number of researchers in the US, and only one-seventh the number in China.
For many, these shortages – in both researchers and in faculty – are problems feared only to get worse before they get better. Overlooking the possible benefits of the soon-to-be-implemented Foreign Universities Bill (which will allow foreign business schools to set up campuses within the year), many opponents to the bill believe it will lead to fierce and ultimately destructive competition between Indian and (far wealthier) foreign business schools, especially when it comes to faculty recruitment.

In a statement sent to the recently held Educational Meet concerning the new bill, renowned writer and holder of the Tagore Chair for Indian Literature at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, U R Ananthmurthy, said: “All attempts to commercialise education should be resisted. Students and teachers must fight commercialisation. What the governments of today plan is against the spirit of our Constitution…This is also not Gandhian and goes against national struggle.” According to him, Indians should be encouraged not to “let any university by foreigners on our soil”. And he is not alone in expressing reservations against the Innovative Universities Bill – though not everyone agrees with his absolute ‘bar all foreign universities’ beliefs.

“There would be a certain amount of pressure on Indian institutions with the arrival of foreign schools,” concedes Ashok Kapoor, professor of communication and marketing at Gurgaon’s Management Development Institute. “However, this should motivate our schools to raise the bar and improve their standards.”

Sources: “India’s business school faculty crisis”. Cool Avenues.com , May 2, 2011.

http://www.coolavenues.com/b-schools/b-school-profiles/indias-business-school-faculty-crisis

& “Don’t let foreign varsities open branches here”. Indian Express, April 26, 2011.

http://expressbuzz.com/cities/bangalore/dont-let-foreign-varsities-open-branches-here/268977.html

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Obvious Research. Indian corruption.

Two Yale University PhD candidates are studying corruption in India. To no one’s surprise, they are finding the only way to get things done – is either by bribe, or by threatening to expose a bribe.

The field experiment, which Leonid V Peisakhin and Paul Pinto conducted in Delhi slums, were based on slum-dwellers applying for ration cards. In cases where residents simply applied for ration cards though the regular system and waited, hardly anyone got the card, even in the 11 months of the study.

But for those who paid a bribe, they were successful. Also those who filed a Right to Information Act petition (RTI), were almost as successful as those who relented to corrupt officials and paid them. The RTI is a system which is intended to reduce corruption by allowing any Indian citizen to file a request to seek out a transparent response to the status of a given situation – in this case, the application for a ration card.

Source: “Don’t pay a bribe file an RTI application”. Times of India, May 2, 2011.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dont-pay-a-bribe-file-an-RTI-application/articleshow/8137899.cms

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Must-know travel sites

Tired of lengthy Google expeditions and trying to assess the level of legitimacy (versus potential dodgy sites) when it comes to internet travel searches? Consider this a remedy – eight tried-and-true travel sites to help you with everything from money conversions, to bus routes, to airport codes. Happy surfing!

vacationist.com To keep up to date with private flash sales on stays at some of the world’s most stylish and luxurious hotels.

hopstop.com Subway and bus directions for eight North American (including New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.) and two international (Paris and London) cities.

oanda.com Converts 164 different currencies from around the world.

Gotta go? Visit the bathroomdiaries.com to find public restroom locations in more than 120 countries.

Voyage.gc.ca/ (for Canada) OR travel.state.gov (for the US) are government-issued travel advisories, broken up by country, and covering everything from civil unrest to health concerns.

travelersnet.com Phone numbers for over 100 domestic and international airlines.

urbanrail.net Comprehensive subway maps for 250–300 cities worldwide.

world-airport-codes.com Searchable database of 9,000+ world airport codes.
Source: “Eight websites every traveler needs”. Travel + Leisure, November 2, 2009.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/tips/6654-seven-websites-every-traveler-needs

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