Archive for August, 2012

Banksters: The Scandals Continue

August 24, 2012

Extracts from INSEAD Knowledge – release:

By N. Craig Smith, INSEAD Chaired Professor of Ethics and Social Responsibility

Four years into the economic crisis, a Harris poll of U.S. adults in 2012 found that 70 percent believed “most people on Wall Street would be willing to break the law if they believed that they could make a lot of money and get away with it”. Despite efforts to regulate better behaviour in banking, there is ample evidence that little has changed.

The summer has seen one accusation after another suggesting banks still cannot be trusted, be it to adequately manage risk (JP Morgan Chase), to avoid money laundering by drug gangs (HSBC), to not violate sanctions against Iran (Standard Chartered), or to operate core banking activities without engaging in deceptive practices (Goldman Sachs) if not systemic corruption (Barclays).

The incubators…

…Finally, what about the role of business schools? Do they provide a training ground for this bad behaviour?

Luigi Zingales, a professor on the finance faculty at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, observed in a comment piece for Bloomberg (“Do business schools incubate criminals?”, 17 July 2012), that “We are dealing with a drop in ethical standards throughout the business world, and our graduate schools are partly to blame.”

He sees the banking scandals as the result of an “amoral culture that we—business-school professors—helped foster”.  He proposes that the solution should start in our classrooms, with ethics as an integral part of core MBA classes, something that happens only rarely today.

While there are notable exceptions, in too few schools is there any real attention to integrity and the role of values in business.  For all the promises of greater attention to business ethics, with the financial crisis seemingly over, it’s back to business as usual at B-School as well as at the banks.


Povl Tiedemann

August 2012




Nordic governments ponder benefits of expert input

August 19, 2012

By Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News

The Nordic countries are increasingly using academic experts as members of government-appointed committees mandated to advise on research into economic, societal and environmental issues.

The extent to which this influences research policy issues, and political and strategic government choices, may depend on whether the appointments are short term and ad hoc or part of a long-term strategy for governing research policy.

The rector of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Professor Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, last week suggested in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that Denmark could serve as a model for Swedish research.

“Long-term investments in research are the key for successful research,” she said. “Swedish research is suffering from splitting and short-term measures.”

Danish reforms involving university mergers, reorganisation of the ministry and a coupling of research and innovation policy are now producing results, Wallberg-Henriksson said.

An analysis by the bibliometric group at the Karolinska Institute in June showed that from 1995-2011, Denmark had more research articles ranked among the world’s top 5% than the UK and Sweden.

Last year University World News reported findings from the Nordic research coordination organisation Nordforsk that Danish researchers are cited 27% more frequently than the world average, compared with 13% for Sweden, 11% for Iceland, 8% for Norway and 5% for Finland.


Povl Tiedemann

August 2012

Interdisciplinary research is key to solving society’s problem

August 19, 2012

Extracts from DEA findings

All over Europe there is a wish to promote research and innovation that can help address major societal concerns, or “grand challenges” as called in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. The communication from the European

Commission on Horizon 2020 stresses that those challenges require that we bring together resources and knowledge from different fields, technologies and scientific disciplines.

We need to be better at getting the so-called “hard” sciences – the natural and technical sciences – and the so-called “soft sciences” – the social sciences and the humanities (or SSH, for short) – to work together.

The main conclusions in this study is evidence of a positive and significant relationship between interdisciplinarity and impact. In other words, the more interdisciplinary a publication is, the higher the level of impact it is likely to have.

Thus, at least in the three research fields examined, interdisciplinary publications appear to be rewarded, and not penalized, in terms of scientific performance.

Main conclusion 1: Danish research has high overall productivity and impact

Main conclusion 2: There is a potential for greater interdisciplinarity in Danish research

Main conclusion 3: There is substantial collaboration between the hard and soft sciences – but much of it is multidisciplinary rather than interdisciplinary

Main conclusion 4: Industry produces both high impact and highly interdisciplinary research – but not at the same time

Main conclusion 5: Interdisciplinarity is good for impact, but only within the hard sciences


Povl Tiedemann

August 2012

MOOC is the game changer in global higher education

August 12, 2012

Yes, MOOC is the global higher education game changer

By Simon Marginson, University World News

Free Massive Open Online Courseware – MOOC – is less than a year old but it is already clear this will be the game changer in higher education worldwide. Right now it is reverberating through the world’s universities like a tectonic shock.

The new paradigm, first developed in the northern autumn of 2011 by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig at Stanford University alongside Silicon Valley in California, will be as disruptive to conventional delivery in higher education as the internet is proving in terms of disrupting book publishers, newspapers, and stores such as Myer and David Jones.


Povl Tiedemann

August 2012

The rise of the multinational university

August 9, 2012

By: Geoff Maslen, University World News

More than 200 degree-granting international branch campuses of universities are now located in foreign countries. But a new report says some universities are considering transforming the branch campus model into fully fledged multinational universities “by slicing up the global value chain in ways akin to multinational corporations”.

Prepared by Sean Gallagher and Geoffrey Garrett from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney Business School, the draft report says many of these universities are focusing on China because of its scale and rapid development, and on Singapore because of its aggressive government policy and high level of development.

By 2020, the report says, the world’s four largest countries in terms of population – China, India, Indonesia and the US – will account for more than half the global population of university-aged young people.

It says that with foreign students typically having to meet at least three times more of the cost of their tuition than domestic students, “the revenue implications of the export model are profound”.


Povl Tiedemann

August 2012

Open On Line Courses versus Branch Campuses

August 6, 2012

Could MOOCs lead to the decline of branch campuses?

By Rahul Choudaha, University World News

Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs – offer a low risk, low cost way of reaching international students. Will they replace branch campuses? Established branch campuses are unlikely to die out any time soon, but newer versions may need to take developments in internationalisation into account.

MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – have been in the news for their potential to be revolutionary within the learning space, with significant interest coming from outside the US. For instance, nearly three-quarters of Coursera’s course-takers are international students.

Could the growth of MOOCs then lead to the decline of branch campuses?

Branch campus unsustainability

While there are successful examples of foreign branch campuses like the University of Nottingham in China and Malaysia, there have also been embarrassing failures, such as Michigan State University in Dubai and the University of New South Wales in Singapore.

More recently, we have been observing a new wave of interest from big names like New York University in Abu Dhabi and Duke University in China. Overall, a growth in demand for branch campuses exists.

However, this growth may be unsustainable.

Philip Altbach, in “The Branch Campus Bubble?”, highlights various issues relating to enrolment, academics and funding, which put the quality and sustainability of branch campuses under the scanner.

Even domestic branch campuses in the US are in decline.

Jay A Halfond, dean of Metropolitan College and extended education at Boston University, notes: “The barriers, risks and costs are now too high for aspiring, reputation-conscious research universities to casually compete for local students in far-off settings – unless they choose to do so through distance learning.”

Branch campuses are infrastructure-intensive efforts with high financial and reputational risk, which could become increasingly unsustainable.

The MOOCs breakthrough

With an innovative, adaptive, high-quality learning opportunity offered at a low-cost, MOOCs are on the cusp of making a big breakthrough. As Tom Friedman correctly notes in The New York Times: “Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary.”

MOOCs have the capability to overcome several barriers, including cost, reach, scalability, flexibility and reputation.

At no marginal cost for ‘recruiting’ new students from China or Turkey, a reputable institution could deliver courses in a flexible manner to a large number of students without decreasing the quality of learning offered.

This would put competitive pressure on institutions to justify their cost structures and the value of their credentials in times of decreasing resources.

MOOCs will also attract ‘glocal’ students with global aspirations and local experiences. ‘Glocals’ represent the segment of students who typically seek transnational education, including international branch campuses, twinning arrangements and online education.

For example, more than 113,000 students studied wholly overseas for a UK qualification through ‘distance, flexible or distributed learning’ in 2010-11. Likewise, more than 28,000 international students were enrolled in Australian offshore programmes through distance learning in 2010.

So, online learning is not new, but having the reputable brands like MIT and Harvard offering free or low-cost learning opportunities is what’s game-changing.


Povl Tiedemann

August 2012

Internationalisation in higher education – Rhetoric versus Reality

August 1, 2012

Extracts from release in University World News – By Hans de Wit, director of the Centre for Higher Education Internationalisation at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, and professor of internationalisation at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences:

In 1998, Philip Altbach and Patti McGill Peterson wrote a critical assessment in Change with the title “Internationalise American Higher Education? Not exactly”. They observed a discrepancy between the optimistic rhetoric of internationalisation and the reality of significant constraints.

Nearly 15 years later, the third study Mapping Internationalisation on US Campuses by the American Council on Education (ACE), which studied 1,041 institutions, confirms that this tendency is still prevalent in US higher education. According to the report, Altbach and McGill Peterson’s observation is still valid today, in particular with regard to the issue of student learning.

It states: “Although many institutions indicated that the curriculum has been a particular focus of internationalisation efforts in recent years, overall this is not reflected in the general education requirements that apply to all students.”

These findings coincide with the results from the third Global Survey by the International Association of Universities (IAU) in 2010.

Also in that survey, one can note a strong difference between what institutions say about the importance of internationalisation and its priority in practice – in particular where it concerns the curriculum – not only in the US but also in other regions.

So, this discrepancy is clearly not a purely American problem, but an issue that applies also to Europe and other parts of the world.


Povl Tiedemann

July 2012