Curbing climate change: Why it’s so hard to act in time

Curbing climate change: Why it’s so hard to act in time

This summer I worked on the Greenland ice sheet, part of a scientific experiment to study surface melting and its contribution to Greenland’s accelerating ice losses. By virtue of its size, elevation and currently frozen state, Greenland has the potential to cause large and rapid increases to sea level as it melts. When I returned, […] … learn more→

As the Ivy League goes…so goes American Higher Education?

As the Ivy League goes…so goes American Higher Education?

Brandon Busteed, the executive director for education and workforce development at Gallup, wrote a stimulating and thought provoking op ed earlier this month. The article’s title captured Busteed’s summary opinion: It’s Time for Elite Universities to Lead in Non-Elite Ways. Mr. Busteed argued that America’s colleges and universities have traditionally followed the lead of America’s […] … learn more→

Using education as catalyst for children in need

Using education as catalyst for children in need

In first-world countries, students tend to take education for granted. For most children in these countries where wealth is more abundant than in many other parts of the world, going to school is as normal and as much a part of daily life as getting up, brushing your teeth and getting dressed. Unfortunately, there are […] … learn more→

Why white supremacists shouldn’t be banned

Why white supremacists shouldn’t be banned

Today’s decision by the University of Florida to ban rental of space for an event by white supremacist Robert Spencer is a threat to free speech on campus, and the reasoning behind it poses a danger to a wide range of speech. University of Florida president W. Kent Fuchs justified his decision based on “continued […] … learn more→

Play with your data

Play with your data

Data analysis can be pretty scary.  That moment when you realise that making sense of the stuff you’ve so painstakingly generated comes down to you – just you.  Well, relax. It’s not just you that has to leap into the unknown. We all put ourselves on the line when we make decisions about definitions, scales, […] … learn more→

Is self-promotion hurting scholarship?

Is self-promotion hurting scholarship?

This summer two distinctive educational initiatives have been thrust into the limelight. First came the  that China’s Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College has developed a degree programme for aspiring influencers; the curriculum includes modules on “aesthetic cultivation”, “make-up modelling” and “public relations etiquette”.  Then, US technology magazine The Vergeprofiled the LA-based SocialStar Creator Camp, a 10-day programme that promises […] … learn more→

UK: Going through university clearing? Then make sure you do these four things

UK: Going through university clearing? Then make sure you do these four things

Every year, in August, thousands of students in the UK receive their A-level results and discover whether or not they have got the marks needed to take up a place at their chosen university. If they fail to make the grade – or exceed them – students telephone university clearing centres, to try and find […] … learn more→

The end of South African universities?

The end of South African universities?

Jonathan Jansen, vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State in South Africa until a year ago, has written a book on the country’s higher education sector. As by Fire – The End of the South African University is one of a number of recent books that set out to make sense of the current […] … learn more→

“Sexually harassing” test question = 504 day investigation

“Sexually harassing” test question = 504 day investigation

I can’t emphasize enough how scary it is to work in higher education. Granted, if you’re an administrator, you’re guaranteed pay raises and advancement no matter how poorly you do your job, but if you’re an academic, you’re on eggshells all the time. The reason for this is our systems are loaded down with bureaucrats […] … learn more→

Don’t let those ‘sticky words’ confuse your thesis examiner

Don’t let those ‘sticky words’ confuse your thesis examiner

I’m a good friend to have if you are in the business of examining theses as you can probably imagine. A large number of my academic friends have called me up for expert advice on acceptable style, structure and tone. Some eight years ago now, my good friend Dr Scott Mayson rang me up about […] … learn more→