International Research & Education in the News

Are American Students Lazy? [Inside Higher Ed]
1/4/10 Gather faculty members together and it’s not hard to get them talking about the ways students disappoint. They text in class, expect extensions for no good reason, and act surprised when they don’t earn A’s. But when it comes to work ethic and manners, are there some students who — on average — don’t disappoint? Kara Miller thinks so — and her comparison of American students (who continually disappoint) and foreign students (who don’t) has set off quite a discussion in Boston. [read the full article here]

Can American Research Universities Remain the Best in the World? [Chronicle of Higher Education]
1/3/10 Within the past century, and especially within the past 60 years, the United States has built the greatest system of higher learning in the world. What has made our universities so distinguished is not the quality of our undergraduate education. Other systems of higher learning, including our own liberal-arts colleges, compete well against research universities in transmitting knowledge to undergraduates. [read the full article here]

Less Politics, More Poetry: China’s Colleges Eye the Liberal Arts [Chronicle of Higher Education]
1/3/10 A mandarin silk jacket buttoned over his chest, Philip Webb paces theatrically across the classroom and informs his students they will each have 15 seconds to address the class on a topic—any topic. One by one, the 10 advanced English students at United International College rise and speak, their giggles giving way to excited outbursts. One reminisces about his hometown. Another discusses a favorite pop star. [read the full article here]

Making College Relevant [The New York Times]
12/29/09 The shift in attitudes is reflected in a shifting curriculum. Nationally, business has been the most popular major for the last 15 years. Campuses also report a boom in public health fields, and many institutions are building up environmental science and just about anything prefixed with “bio.” Reflecting the new economic and global realities, they are adding or expanding majors in Chinese and Arabic. The University of Michigan has seen a 38 percent increase in students enrolling in Asian language courses since 2002, while French has dropped by 5 percent. [read the full article here]

How to Thrive (or Survive) [Inside Higher Ed]
12/29/09 Sessions at the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting are planned so far in advance that some word choices may seem out of date by the time the meeting takes place. That was the case here Monday for a gathering of foreign language chairs and professors to consider “how departments can thrive in difficult times.” [read the full article here]

University Branches in Dubai Are Struggling [The New York Times]
12/27/09 The collapse of Dubai’s overheated economy has left the outposts of Michigan State University and the Rochester Institute of Technology in the United Arab Emirates struggling to attract enough qualified students to survive. [read the full article here]

Translation Takes Center Stage [Inside Higher Ed]
12/23/09 Translation is essential to allow most people to appreciate the literature that is produced in languages other than their own. But translation is rarely the focus of attention. This year’s annual meeting of the Modern Language Association, which starts Sunday, will attempt to change that, with more than 50 sessions on translation. The topics vary widely, with some focusing on specific languages, others on translations of particular authors [Chaucer, Kafka and Borges, for example], others on the role of translation and translators (exploring questions of how visible translators should be, or when new translations should be done). [read the full article here]

Russia(n) Is Back [Inside Higher Ed]
12/15/09 At the College of Holy Cross this year, language instructors had to scramble to set up a second section of introductory Russian — for the first time since the Cold War. Not only are more students enrolling, but different kinds of students. “Our core has always been those with a love of the literature and we are still getting them, but now we are getting students with all sorts of other interaction with Russian culture,” said Amy Adams, associate professor of Russian. [read the full article here]