New Sino-Foreign Fun

US and Russian universities in new Sino-Foreign ventures

Exciting news from Asia as not one but two universities announce new Sino-Foreign higher education institutions.

The new institute will hopefully be built on foundations other than sand

First up is the University of Pittsburgh which has recently held a groundbreaking for the new Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute:

Officials from the University of Pittsburgh and Sichuan University in China participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on July 2 at the Sichuan University campus in Chengdu to launch construction of a 100,000-square-foot building that will house the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute, a joint engineering institute to educate undergraduate students and foster collaborative research. The partnership between Pitt and Sichuan University was established in 2013. Pitt is one of only five U.S. universities to have entered into a large-scale partnership agreement with a Chinese university; the others are Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, New York University, and the University of Michigan. Sichuan University is the premier university in western China, located in Chengdu within the Sichuan Province, and it is consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in China. With emphases on advanced sustainable manufacturing and educational innovation, the institute will initially offer three undergraduate degree programs: industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and materials science and engineering. Students in the institute will be recruited from the United States, China, and possibly other countries, with the first class in fall 2015 expected to comprise 100 students. Enrollment is projected to grow to a final total of 1,600.

Not entirely clear why they only mention US partnerships in China and omit the first such venture, ie the University of Nottingham Ningbo China but it is interesting to note that the ultimate target enrolment is a pretty modest 1,600 students. And you’ve got to love the ground-breaking pic.

Then we have Moscow State University which is to create a joint university in Shenzhen free economic zone.

msu

A real building

Russia’s top university will open a branch in China, in the country’s rapidly developing Shenzhen free economic zone. The building will bring an iconic element of Moscow’s skyline to China.

On Monday, representatives of Lomonosov Moscow State University MSU, Beijing Institute of Technology and the local administration signed an agreement to create a joint university in Shenzhen.

The project is aimed at training skilled professionals in China using MSU’s advanced educational programs and standards.

Those behind the project believe graduates of the new university will be in demand not only in Russia and China, but everywhere around the world.

The construction of the university facilities, the campus and the operations of the academy will be funded from the Shenzhen budget.

It’ll be in an area with “excellent infrastructure and environment,” previously used to host the 2011 Summer Universiade, the project’s press-release said.

The numbers aren’t clear but the map of the projected campus looks pretty large. And if they do build a replica of that iconic MSU building then it should be an impressive development.

 

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Sino-Foreign Unity

Inauguration of Sino-foreign Cooperative Universities Union

Sino-foreign universities are still small in number. Since the establishment of the first Sino-foreign institution, the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, a decade ago, the number has grown though and npw six have come together to establish the Sino-foreign Cooperative University Union and Presidents Forum.

The event was a chance for the leaders of the six joint venture universities from across China to come together with representatives of the local and national government to witness the formation of the Union and participate in the inaugural forum.

University of Nottingham Ningbo China

University of Nottingham Ningbo China

The six international collaborative universities are Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, New York University Shanghai, Duke Kunshan University, Wenzhou-Kean University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen.

The inaugural meeting of Sino-foreign Cooperative Universities Union was hosted by XJTLU and a press release provided more information on the event:

Speaking during the morning’s Presidential Forum, Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU, welcomed the distinguished guests and highlighted the importance of the Union of Sino-foreign Cooperative Universities not only for its members but also for Chinese higher education. “It is time for us [the Union] to redefine education,” explained President Xi, citing the competitive advantages of student centered learning, innovative administrative structure and lack of historical burdens as the reasons why universities such as XJTLU will become leaders of the next generation of international higher education institutes.

XJTLU, host of the event

XJTLU, host of the event

Throughout the morning, senior representatives from the Union followed President Xi in giving speeches and introductions about their institutions to the audience. Members were then encouraged to raise questions and share ideas with one another in order to enhance the understanding of the issues faced by Sino-foreign Universities in China today.Professor Weiqi Shen, Vice-President of University of Nottingham Ningbo China, further developed the principles which set Sino-foreign Cooperative Universities apart from others in China, highlighting “high quality, openness, ‘hybrid vigor’ and legitimacy” in particular.

In the afternoon the Forum was joined by a senior delegation from the national Ministry of Education MoE, who travelled from Beijing to participate in the event. The Presidents listened to a speech given by Mr. Jianjun Cen, Director of International Cooperation and Communion Department of MoE who spoke about the important of the Union and the positive effects they hoped it would have on wider education in China.

The Union of Sino-foreign Universities intends to continue to explore issues of common concern by sharing experiences and best practices, and to find feasible solutions to these issues. It is intended to enhance communication among members but also to enable members to influence higher education development in China. Although the members are at different stages of development, together they are in a distinctive and potentiallly influential position. It will be interesting to see how the new Union develops.

Faking it: China’s Diploma Mills

Report Reveals 100 Fake Universities (and wild chickens).

A blog post last year noted the case of a non-existent university in the USA. Now there is an interesting report on China’s Diploma Mills which has shown up a large number of fake institutions in the country:

As China’s notoriously difficult college entrance exam, the feared “gaokao,” continues to be mired in controversy, some Chinese may be tempted to skip higher learning and just obtain a diploma from one of Beijing’s several fake universities. Human resources managers looking to hire from China, be warned: If you see a school like Capital University of Finance and Economics, Beijing Economic and Trade Institute or Beijing Foreign Trade Institute while reading over a resume, they’re fake.

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In China, these illegitimate schools are called “universities of wild chickens,” and refer to institutions that have deceptive names that are similar to real, well-known universities, the main difference being that the fake ones have no licensing that allows them to even accept students, let alone reward degrees. Still, that does not stop those students who scored poorly on their gaokaos from turning to these kinds of institutions to get a fake diploma.

Disappointing really and not good news for students. “Universities of wild chickens” does sound like a very appropriate name for these outfits though.

On the size of branch campuses

Biggest isn’t always best but it does tell you something

Looking at the latest University of Nottingham student statistics and the most recently published HESA data it struck me that Nottingham is now the UK’s largest campus university (ie if we exclude the Open University). However, it is important to understand that two of our campuses are not in the UK but in Malaysia and China. Both are integral parts of the University, they host University of Nottingham students who study on University of Nottingham degrees and are taught by University of Nottingham staff. And, as the recent QAA review of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China demonstrated, they do it all rather well.

Just to be clear about the numbers then. our latest figures show that we have the following number of students:

– University of Nottingham UK – 33,944
– University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) – 4,360
– University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) – 5,461

So nearly 44,000 students in total. Which makes Nottingham overall significantly ahead of the University of Manchester. Big deal you might say.

But the issue here really is about recognition that our campuses in Asia (and other UK universities who are more recent arrivals may say similar things) are integral parts of the University. The data on these campuses and other UK university students studying overseas is now collected by HESA and the only other source we have of overseas campuses from other countries is the OBHE survey, last published in January 2012.

This survey shows that two of the top 5 (in terms of size) offshore campuses of universities are in fact UNMC and UNNC. The OBHE top 10 is as follows:

Institution and total students

1 RMIT in Vietnam – 5,145
2 Monash University in Malaysia – 5,000 (approx.)
3 University of Nottingham Ningbo China – 4,536
4 AMA International University in Bahrain – 3,945 (2008-09)
5 University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus – 3,779
6 Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University – 3,240
7 Curtin University in Malaysia – 3,080
8 Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Botswana – 3,040
9 Wollongong in Dubai – 3,000
10 Monash University in South Africa – 2,685

Although accurate updated figures are hard to establish it would seem that as of now the top five is roughly the same but with Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University replacing AMA International in Bahrain and with UNNC still the largest UK branch campus. OBHE only has student number data for just over half of the 200 branch campuses it has registered – of the 77,448 students counted in 2010-11, just under 12% of these are University of Nottingham students.

Looking at the data in the 2012 survey on some of the other branch campuses often cited as examples of significant global activity, it is clear that they are much smaller operations. For example:

  • Sorbonne in Abu Dhabi – 606 students
  • UCL in Kazakhstan – 140 students
  • Carnegie Mellon in Qatar – 280 students
  • NYU in Abu Dhabi – 307 students
  • UCL in Qatar – 2 students

Others often referred to such as Duke Kunshan and NYU Shanghai do not formally open until later this year.

So, the University of Nottingham is the biggest UK campus university and is the UK university with the biggest international campus. Just to help with the sense of scale of operations, if UNNC were in the UK it would be around 120th largest HEI, slightly smaller than Cranfield and the University of Chichester but still larger than around 40 other UK HEIs, including SOAS, Abertay and Queen Margaret University. And combined UNMC and UNNC are bigger than around 60 UK HEIs and would be roughly 100th largest.

Just to add at a bit more perspective here UNMC is only 13 years old, UNNC has yet to celebrate its first decade. Both campuses have grown extraordinarily quickly and both have significant profiles in their host countries.

One more statistic. For every one of the last five years 100% of UNNC graduates have secured jobs or progressed to further study, many of the former to multinational companies with operations in China, many of the latter to leading universities around the world. It’s a KPI to be proud of.

This is the future. Significant and large multinational, multi-campus operations. Several other UK universities followed Nottingham’s lead in Malaysia. Others are now looking at China. The UK remains second only to the US (or third if we count France’s ESMOD’s 12 overseas fashion schools) in the number of branch campuses overseas according to OBHE. I’m sure it will continue.

Progress Claimed for Duke Kunshan University

Duke still sounds upbeat about its China campus.

The Chronicle’s Duke section has a report on what sounds like some modest progress with the development of the new Duke Kunshan University in China:

Considerable progress is being made on the campus of Duke Kunshan University, Provost Peter Lange said at Wednesday evening’s Duke Student Government meeting.

Lange updated the Senate on DKU as that campus comes closer to finishing construction and opening to students. Next week, he will be submitting an establishment proposal to the city of Kunshan that will outline the plans that Duke intends to take after construction is completed. He said there has been some feedback from students concerned that DKU construction is depleting funds that could be allocated to the arts and sciences at Duke.U154P5029T2D540617F24DT20121221174344

“Undergraduate financial aid is costing us a lot of money and causing a squeeze in the arts and sciences funding, not DKU,” Lange said. “DKU is just a drop in the bucket.”

He estimated that Duke will be required to pay about $5.5 million each year to keep DKU running. This small fraction of Duke’s total expected expenditures in the next five years, he noted. To date, the University has raised between $6 and 7 million dollars for DKU.

“No top quality university pays for itself with tuition,” Lange said, adding that Duke will pay 50 percent of the operational costs of DKU, and the city of Kunshan will contribute the other 50 percent.

Whilst it is, of course, interesting that the $5m plus running cost is “just a drop in the bucket” for Duke, what is more significant is that it does appear that the new institution has suffered from significant delays in construction and formal approval for its establishment is yet to be granted. More recent reports don’t add a lot in the way of positive news for the new university.

UK HE in China

QAA Review of Transnational Education in China.

Back in 2012 the QAA surveyed all UK higher education institutions in order to find out details of their TNE activity in China. The QAA review includes detailed reports on 10 UK universities and divides HEIs’ TNE activity into a number of different types. For the purposes of the survey, TNE was divided into the following categories:

• A: branch campus
• B: partnership
• C: distance learning through flexible and distributed learning (FDL).

Category B (partnership) was further sub-divided into:
• B1 – students in China follow a programme leading to an award from the UK institution, sometimes completing the whole programme in China, but sometimes transferring to the UK to complete parts of the programme
• B2 – students start by following a programme offered by the partner, but later transfer (under an articulation agreement) to a programme at the UK institution, but with an entitlement to advanced standing on academic grounds.
Thus, under B1 students do not change their programme, although they may change their location of study, whereas under B2 students change both their programme and their location of study.

Category C (FDL) was divided into:
• C1 – students follow a programme of the UK institution without the assistance of any support centre in China
• C2 – students follow a programme of the UK institution with the assistance of a support centre in China that is approved by the UK institution.

Campus at University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Campus at University of Nottingham Ningbo China

The report reveals that UK universities are extremely active in China:

The survey found 70 UK institutions with provision in China falling into one or more of the above categories. Collectively, these institutions reported 275 distinct relationships with 186 separate Chinese institutions. The total number of students studying in China through UK TNE was recorded by the survey as 33,874. In addition, there were 5,392 students studying in the UK, having transferred from a partner institution in China. Of the many different programmes being offered through UK TNE in China, 42 per cent are in the Business and Finance subject areas, and 19 per cent in Engineering. The survey found most of the TNE to be located geographically in the major urban centres of China’s eastern seaboard: Beijing, Shanghai, Ningbo (Zhejiang province),

The number of these institutions reporting TNE in each category is shown below.

table TNE

The University of Nottingham’s presence in China is the only one here identified as a branch campus (although the number of students here is rather out of date, it’s now over 5,600). The full report on the University of Nottingham Ningbo China can be found here and is highly complimentary both about the development itself – “an impressive achievement” – and the quality of the student experience.

Overall though there is a huge amount of activity by UK institutions and it comes in a wide variety of forms. Much of interest therefore in the QAA’s review.

High Speed HE: China Expands Abroad

A Chinese University Expands Into Malaysia.

Very fast indeed

Very fast indeed


The New York Times has a fascinating piece on a Chinese university expanding into Malaysia:

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia said that the Selangor branch would initially take in 10,000 students, reported Bernama, the Malaysian state news agency. The student body would be divided into thirds, consisting of Chinese nationals, Malaysians and others.

The Malaysian campus, which will have five faculties and about 700 teaching staff members, is projected to cost 600 million Malaysian ringgit, or almost $200 million.

Ter Leong Yap, chairman of the luxury property developer Sunsuria and a Malaysian-Chinese business leader, helped fund the campus, the Malaysian state agency reported. The Chinese institution already has some ties to Southeast Asia: Its founder, the Xiamen-born businessman Tan Kah Kee, set up numerous schools in Singapore in the early 20th century.

The primary mode of instruction will be English, though there will be a department dedicated to Chinese language and literature.

It’s a massively ambitious project. Having an initial intake of 10,000 students would be extraordinary. I’m sure it will take them a few years to reach that number but nevertheless it would be an incredibly rapid growth plan. In a UK context such an institution would be medium-sized but it is worth remembering that it took more than 25 years for the universities founded in the 1960s to reach this kind of size.

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus


The new institution would also be double the size of the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus which itself has not been slow in expanding to 4,500 students in just over a decade. If it does go ahead though you do feel that China will make sure it does deliver this growth. And then there will be even more competition for the other international universities already operating in Malaysia.

Mapping global student mobility

A new interactive map

University World News has a piece on a new UNESCO interactive map on global student mobility which shows the inflows and outflows of mobile students across the world.

East Asia and the Pacific is the largest source of international students, representing 28% of the world’s 3.6 million mobile students in 2010. Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have the most mobile students, and several countries have more students abroad than at home.

These facts are highlighted in a new “Global Flow of Tertiary-level Students” interactive map published by the UNESCO institute of Statistics (UIS) in Canada last month.

“The surge in internationally mobile students reflects the rapid expansion of enrolment in higher education globally, which has grown by 78% in a decade,” says the UIS, which defines ‘internationally mobile students’ as those who have crossed a national border to study or are enrolled in a distance learning programme abroad.

Some of the data seems a bit strange though. For example, it seems that the UK sends no students at all to China (which cannot be the case) and sends the same number of students to Malaysia as to the Vatican.

It’s a really good piece of work and quite diverting. What will be even more interesting is mapping changes in these student movements over time.

Culture Clubs

US builds up cultural presence in China

Perhaps slightly surprising news from Inside Higher Ed on the establishment by the US State Department of “American Cultural Centres” in partnership with Chinese universities.

“Their primary purpose is to expose Chinese audiences to the depth and breadth of U.S. culture,” said Erik W. Black, an assistant cultural affairs officer at the American embassy in Beijing, which administers the grants. Colleges that have received them have used the funding to create resource centers or reading rooms, host visiting faculty lectures on American cultural topics, and sponsor arts programming.


This looks like a direct response to the significant spread in universities around the world of Confucius Institutes, supported and funded by the Chinese government. There are now well over 300 of these and, as can be seen from the Hanban website, they have a wide reach:

Over recent years, the Confucius Institutes’ development has been sharp and they have provided scope for people all over the world to learn about Chinese language and culture. In addition they have become a platform for cultural exchanges between China and the world as well as a bridge reinforcing friendship and cooperation between China and the rest of the world and are much welcomed across the globe. Through the joint efforts of China and the Confucius Institute host countries in addition to the enthusiasm and active support of people all over the world, by the end of 2010, there have been 322 Confucius Institutes and 369 Confucius Classrooms established in 96 countries. In addition, some 250 institutions from over 50 countries have expressed requirements for establishing Confucius Institutes/Classrooms, amongst them some of the world’s top universities.

Confucius Institutes/Classrooms adopt flexible teaching patterns and adapt to suit local conditions when teaching Chinese language and promoting culture in foreign primary schools, secondary schools, communities and enterprises. In 2009, Confucius Institutes/Classrooms around the world offered 9,000 Chinese courses of a multitude of styles, with a total enrollment of 260,000, a 130,000 strong enrollment increase from the previous year. More than 7,500 cultural exchange activities took place, involving the participation of over 3 million reaching double the participation figures of the corresponding period of the previous year.

Recognising the imbalance in public engagement levels in China’s favour the US has been looking for ways to make a greater impact in the East. One major operation was formally launched back in 2010 with the “100,000 Strong Initiative” which aims to encourage many more Americans to study in and learn about China:

The 100,000 Strong Initiative is transitioning into an independent, non-profit organization external to the State Department. Updates on the Initiative’s programs will be provided by the new non-profit organization soon. Citing the strategic importance of the U.S.-China relationship, in November 2009, President Barack Obama announced the “100,000 Strong” initiative, a national effort designed to increase dramatically the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially launched the initiative in May 2010 in Beijing. The Chinese government strongly supports the initiative and has already committed 10,000 “Bridge Scholarships” for American students to study in China.

This initiative seeks to prepare the next generation of American experts on China who will be charged with managing the growing political, economic and cultural ties between the United States and China. The initiative also seeks to develop specific opportunities and funding sources for underrepresented students to study in China.

The American Cultural Centres look like the next stage in this development:

The State Department’s request for proposals implicitly poses the Confucius Institutes as a model for the kind of university-to-university collaborations it is hoping to promote: “The PRC’s creation in the United States of multiple university-based ‘Confucius Institutes’ has increased the level and quality of the study of Chinese language and culture in the U.S,” the document states. “Though China as a national policy requires the study of the English language broadly among its students, there is no equivalent mechanism for increasing understanding and appreciation for the strength and diversity of American culture and society. While hundreds of affiliation agreements between U.S. and Chinese universities have promoted academic cooperation, the sharing of technical expertise, and U.S. study of China, they have done little to help address the overall level of misunderstanding of U.S. society and culture.”

The funding available is limited and is essentially pump-priming to support new and existing partnerships between US and Chinese universities. According to Inside Higher Ed there around 20 of these so far and they come in different forms:

Ohio State University used its $100,000 to create a resource center at Wuhan University, with which it has had a 30-year relationship. The center, housed in Wuhan’s foreign languages building, includes a lounge, kitchen, and resource library, complete with a large selection of American cookbooks. “We see it as a place where not only Wuhan faculty, but people from Hubei province and the city of Wuhan, can come and interact with people from Ohio State on a regular basis,” said William Brustein, Ohio State’s vice provost for global strategies and international affairs.

It’s a fascinating development and one which may help to redress the balance in time. Assuming that is that they are doing a little more than just sharing recipes.

New Branch Campuses in China

Some new Branch Campuses on the way

The University of Nottingham admitted its first students in China back in 2004, establishing the first Sino-Foreign University in China and then opening its campus, pictured above, in Ningbo in 2006. There are now over 5,500 students following University of Nottingham degrees at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. Since then others have followed, employing different models at different scales and with various partners.

An earlier blog post covered the general expansion of branch campuses. Now Hanover Research has a piece on prospective branch campuses in China. It reports that the the Observatory of Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) has identified at least seven branch campuses currently being planned for mainland China – accounting for approximately one-fifth of all branch campuses slated to open through to 2014. All are from western universities, with five from the United States and two from the United Kingdom. The article actually lists seven US universities:

  • New York University
  • Duke
  • George Washington U
  • Berkeley
  • Kean (which seems to be the most advanced)
  • Missouri St Louis with Missouri U of Science and Technology

The piece doesn’t name the UK universities but I have a pretty good idea about one of them.

Some more details of the OBHE report can be found in a University World News story on the topic and some surprising information about Chinese university opening a European branch featured in an earlier blog post.

On the real bottom line

Transnational initiatives pay dividends far greater than a share of the overseas student market

Times Higher Education carries this piece (by me) on the real value of international activity:

The British Council has predicted that most universities in the West – with the exception of some in Australia – will recruit markedly fewer international students in the years ahead than they have done in the past decade.

Its recent report, The Shape of Things to Come, recommends that universities set up more overseas branch campuses and institutional partnerships rather than relying on attracting students to the UK.

The University of Nottingham has many years of experience in this area. We set up international campuses in Malaysia in 2000, and then in 2004 became the first institution to establish a Sino-foreign university in China.

In May, David Willetts, the universities and science minister, invited universities and banks to a round-table meeting to talk about establishing international branch campuses. This was seen, by some at least, to be a response to the impact of visa controls on international student recruitment to the UK. It was also suggested, rather cynically, that it was a good way for cash-strapped universities to make money in the wake of overseas student recruitment problems arising from the government’s immigration policy

 

The piece is linked to this year’s International Leadership Conference: Managing Global Universities taking place from 29 October – 1 November 2012 at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China.

Campus at University of Nottingham Ningbo China


The conference, which takes place annually, has previously welcomed delegates from the UK, Denmark, China, Colombia, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the US and Belgium. The event is designed for senior leaders to discuss and share best practice on important topics around the internationalisation of higher education. Including the real value of international higher education activity. Do come – we would really like to see you there.

Are US universities retreating from international ventures?

It seems there is a “new caution” for US universities overseas

Seattle P-I has a piece on what looks like a slowdown in the international activities of US universities:

High-profile and expensive failures of Middle East branch campuses run by Michigan State and George Mason were a wake-up call. Suffolk University recently closed a campus in Senegal after concluding it would be cheaper just to bring the students to Boston. The University of Connecticut dropped plans for a campus in Dubai amid criticism of the United Arab Emirates’ policies toward Israel. Plans for a University of Montana campus in China never panned out, and Singapore’s government shut down a Johns Hopkins University biomedical research center.

Even elite schools still pushing forward, like Duke, Yale and New York University, have faced resistance from faculty concerned about finances, quality and whether host countries like China, Singapore and the UAE will uphold academic freedom.

The result: a new era of caution, particularly toward a model that once looked like the wave of the future. Some experts say branch campuses — where a U.S. university “plants a flag,” operates its own campus and awards degrees in its own name — are falling from favor.

“The gold rush mentality of the 2000s is over,” said Jason Lane, a professor and co-director of the cross-border education research team at the State University of New York-Albany. His data show 60 U.S. institutions with 83 overseas campuses in 39 countries. But the number of new international branch campuses peaked at 11 in 2008 — just before the financial crisis — and only four have opened since.

Caution is certainly advisable. However, the real caution here is against a view of internationalisation of university operations which sees it as a “gold rush”. No institution should see developing a presence in another country as an income generating activity as a response to a time of financial challenge. Whilst some universities have been extremely generously supported by host governments, most notably NYU and the Sorbonne in Abu Dhabi, for most the dowries are much smaller. And, as previously argued here, internationalisation, and the establishment of an international campus in particular, is a long game. There are no get rich quick schemes here. The article goes on to note that:

Instead, schools like UCLA and the Universities of Michigan and North Carolina have opted for more of a soft-power approach — a range of partnerships often starting on the departmental or school level where the home university is less invested but also offering an easier exit strategy if things go south.

But surely such partnerships are part of the everyday life of internationally engaged universities – it’s not about choosing one strategy over another but rather different facets of a genuine approach to international partnership. Again, this is about building long term and enduring partnerships which will, ultimately, be of benefit to all.

Global Graduation Ceremonies

Graduation – anytime, anywhere

It is, in the UK at least, near the end of the season for graduation ceremonies. But as Nigel Thrift observed in a recent piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education there are likely to be ceremonies taking place across the globe, year round.

Graduates are getting younger every year...

Thrift notes that

the globalization of higher education means that it can no longer be assumed that all graduation ceremonies take place in one place. Making ceremonies in places which were not designed for the purpose can be a real challenge and simply having robes to hand does not work.

Probably, at some point during the year, somewhere in the world, there is a graduation ceremony taking place. At one time, it looked like these events might become a thing of the past but the apparatus of gowns, music, certificates, photographs, and films now just seems to keep on expanding. One for the anthropologists to explain.

It is perhaps strange how the traditions of the graduation ceremony have survived and indeed flourished across the world. However, as noted above, globalisation means that a lot of universities are now organising ceremonies in different parts of the globe. Wherever in the world the ceremonies are though they remain a major logistical exercise and a lot more effort than simply having the robes to hand (although that in itself can have a major impact on travelling staff luggage allowances).

At the University of Nottingham we have summer and winter ceremonies out our UK, China and Malaysia campuses (I think nearly 40 a year in total) and, despite all following the same rubric, they each have a distinctive character. And it is fair to say that the dress code in both China and Malaysia, where it tends to be a little bit warmer at this time of year, is generally rather more relaxed than in the UK. Perhaps a bit too relaxed at times – I do think we should draw the line at flip flops.

A new ranking for China’s universities

According to a recent report on a ranking by the China University Alumni Association, Shanghai’s universities rank second in the country behind Beijing in educating future billionaires:

The ranking analyzed the educational background of nearly 2,500 of China’s billionaire based on five domestic and overseas rich lists between 1999 and 2010.

“The report aims to encourage college students to set up their own enterprises and provide guidance to them,” said Zhao Deguo, editor in chief of the association’s website.

Peking University, Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University took the top three spots in the ranking with 79, 70 and 66 billionaire alumni respectively.

Shanghai’s Fudan University was in the fourth place with 46 billionaires. Jiao Tong University and East China Normal University made up the Shanghai top three with 25 and nine billionaires respectively.

It’s a little cruder than the UK’s graduate employment survey but does at least take a long term view. Let’s hope that no-one decides it would be good to include this in the new Key Information Set.

A more detailed commentary on the report appears here.

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Lots of Students in Higher Education

Latest HESA data: Lots of students in Higher Education Institutions 2008/09

The newly released Students in Higher Education Institutions 2008/09 publication from the Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that there were 2,396,050 students in higher education in the UK in 2008/09. Of these 2,027,085 (84.6%) were UK domicile students, 117,660 (4.9%) were from other EU member countries and 251,310 (10.5%) were from non-EU countries.

There are some interesting headlines in here. International student (ie non-EU) student numbers have grown 9.4% over the previous year, outstripping the growth in home student numbers which increased by 3.2%.

Students from China and India accounted for nearly one third of all non-EU domicile students at UK HE institutions in 2008/09. The table below shows the growth in numbers of students from the top ten non-EU countries of domicile from 2007/08 to 2008/09:

Further details available via HESA.