Academic Freedom Media Review-November 13-19, 2010

photo: Chris Hildreth

Compiled by Scholars at Risk

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

Second Azerbaijani ‘Donkey Blogger’ Freed
Claire Bigg, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 11/19

Azerbaijani Activist Detained On Georgian Border
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 11/19

Nobel Winner’s Absence May Delay Awarding of Prize
Andrew Jacobs and Alan Cowell, The New York Times, 11/18

Law students march to support UP professors
ABS-CBN News, 11/18

SINGAPORE: Yale partnership to go ahead, NUS says
Stanislaus Jude Chan, University World News, 11/18

Law clinics that go beyond theory face attacks
Sarah Cunnane, Times Higher Education, 11/18

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Shaking up Poetry

Poetry Foundation iPhone appGive your iPhone a shake and explore the vagaries of love: its joys, passions, doubts, disappointments, insecurities, and finally the grief it too often brings. Or maybe when you have to spend just a little too much time home for the holidays, you’ll want to deliberately line up “boredom” and “family,” and read what comes up, both to kill time and to remind yourself that you are not the only one bored by your family.  You can combine subjects and emotions deliberately, or you can “spin” the wheels and see what comes up.  There are so many combinations to explore, it seems like you’ll never run out.

I’m talking about a new iPhone app from the Poetry Foundation called, quite simply, “Poetry”.  It makes exploring poetry fun. What I’ve been talking about above is a feature that lines up emotions and topics such as love, nature, family, work and play to give you a list of poems relevant to the combination. The poems are from different eras, but all are fairly short and accessible. And even if you don’t like poetry, I bet you are at least a little curious to read what well regarded, “serious” poets have to say about disappointment or blame and family or, even better, disappointment and love. That’s the stuff of standup comedy, not poetry, right?

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Comparing Global Medias

Today, via Geeky Mom Laura Blankenship, I discovered an article in TechCrunch, about a site that lines up the front page of CNN or other news sites with those of Al Jazeera, France 24, BBC, NPR, or several others, so that visitors may compare for themselves the differences between the stories covered, from which perspectives, to what degree of detail and whether or not it is through first hand reporting or some other source. Unfortunately, CNN seldom compares favorably, hence the URL for the site,

Sadly, the disaster which is cable news in this country is, in large part, media giving the people what they want and not, as some would believe, some vast elitist conspiracy to keep the masses hypnotized by mindless infotainment so they are distracted which they go about undermining the foundation of our society. If you need evidence of that, compare an hour of the domestic feed of CNN in the US to an hour of the feed on CNN International. The network caters to its international audience not just with an hour of news the focuses on international subjects, but with broadcasts that are more serious in tone, and that devote much less time to entertainment and puff pieces.
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Higher Education, Collaboration, and Education for the 21st Century


In a few days I am off to Morocco for a seminar at TALIM on higher education and employment in Morocco. But the job market in the United States is also very challenging of college graduates right now, and American educators may well be asking themselves if higher education in this country is adequately preparing students to enter the work force of the global era.

We still function in terms of national economies, but those economies are increasingly connected so that a crisis in one affects many others.  We also live in a world in which graduating students in America compete for employment, directly or indirectly, with their peers in Mexico, Morocco, India and Taiwan. And the whole lot of them are also competing with graduating students in Pakistan, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Israel and Poland. Continue reading

My Career in International Education, v 4.0

Globes in Chicago, by John LeGear

In 2005 the Association of American Colleges and Universities launched the “Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility” initiative. The mission statement for that initiative describes what should be one of the most important principles guiding higher education today. Shared Futures

is based upon the assumption that we live in an interdependent but unequal world and that higher education can help prepare students not only to thrive in such a world, but to remedy its inequities.

Higher education not only can prepare students to do those things, but it must, for their benefit, for the good of our nation, and because remedying inequalities is the right thing to do. Hence, as the statement continues, the academy

has a vital role of expanding knowledge about the world’s peoples and problems and developing individuals who will advance equity and justice both at home and abroad.

These are fine and noble ideals, but they are also solidly rooted in reality. The United States finds itself involved in two wars at the moment, and neither is with a neighbor or even a nation in this hemisphere. The largest share of our foreign debt is owned by China. America is a nation addicted to television, yet only Zenith makes television sets in the US, maintaining one factory so that it is able to claim it is an American producer. Problems like global warming can only be tackled on an international scale, and when the mortgage crisis hit the banks in the United States, many of the world’s banks also felt the impact. The engine of globalization is, of course, technology, which makes it almost as easy to conduct business between Boston and Hong Kong (8,000 miles) as it is between Boston and Cambridge (next to one another).
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My Most Popular Tweets of the Last Seven Days

Here are my top 10 Tweets of the last seven days that contain links shortened using

  1. RT @florencedesruol English was the first #OpenSource language. Intriguing article on both English & concept of OpenSource
  2. Nation’s Largest Labor Union Group Creates Online Degree Programs
  3. Watching Young at Heart on PBS. So funny! And inspiring.
  4. Academic Tattoos-Scholars with tattoos relating to their academic research
  5. Offensive on so many levels. Pat Robinson says quake in Haiti result of deal with the devil.
  6. Check out the Crazy Heart trailer and The Weary Kind theme song.
  7. Democrats’ Senate supermajority may be at its end after Massachusetts’ special election, polls show If Brown wins,…
  8. Call for Sessions: Technologies & Pedagogies for Teaching Language, Cultures, and International Relations
  9. California Law Encourages Digital Textbooks by 2020
  10. Higher Ed Faculties Are Liberal Because Conservatives Don’t Seek Academic Careers, Study Finds Includes NITLE ACC Site

This evening I was happy to learn that the NITLE Arab Culture and Civilization Online Resource is once again publicly available, generously hosted by the Middle East Policy Council, a nonprofit organization that seeks to enhance American understanding of the political, economic and cultural issues affecting U.S. policy in the Middle East. I was principal editor of the site throughout much of its existence, and was very proud of the collaborative effort that went into building, launching, and nurturing the site throughout its life. At the time of its retirement it was registering thousands of hits on a daily basis.

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NITLE Programs This Week and Next



This is the NITLE Professional Development News that went out today. It focuses on my programs for the coming two weeks. They are going to be be keeping me busy. But they are interesting programs, so they should be fun.

Dear Colleagues,
As campuses continue to respond to the challenges of globalization as well as on-going economic restraints, I wanted to take a moment to call your attention to three upcoming NITLE programs relevant to both situations.

Using media elements with an international perspective to introduce complex issues such as research ethics can offer a new dimension to the lab-based science class, stimulating and enriching discussion. Faculty members in the natural and social sciences who want to integrate an international perspective into lab-based curricula in this way are encouraged to sign up for “Science and International Perspectives.” Continue reading

NITLE’s New Online Presence

Revised NITLE Site

Revised NITLE Site

Some of you may have already noticed, but NITLE’s web site has gotten a face lift or, more accurately, a radical redesign of the sort that would be worthy of an episode if anyone were ever to launch and “Extreme Web Makeover” series. I couldn’t be more pleased and I’m very grateful to the task force that coordinated this project for the new public face they have given us.

This is my personal blog and I don’t often use it to talk so much about work, but I can’t help myself, so let me point out just three things that, for me, are highlights of the new main site and its complementary presences.

I should point out that while we were asked for our opinions of the site at various points in it preparation, I was not part of the task force. So I am approaching the site as a user or visitor like you, not as a guide involved in its design who can tell you why things were set up the way they were. I am also expressing my opinions, which may not necessarily be representative of NITLE policy.

We might as well start at the main page. There is a lot of information presented on this page, and yet it is done clearly and in a manner that is easy to navigate and that quickly takes on into sought after information without multiple stops en route. If you are interested in something on the front page and you click on a link, more often than not you end up directly on a page containing the information you need, even if that click takes you out of the NITLE site.

That, in fact, is the other thing I like more about the front page. It sends a clear message from the start that NITLE is an organization that works in partnership with our participating colleges so the page itself presents a dialogue.

I also like that it brings together, right up front, all that is going on with NITLE. We’ve got some cool projects in the queue for the NITLE labs and we’ve got some good programming coming up, too. In the Daily NITLE Column you will find items from NITLE’s new blogs.

Liberal Education Today has been re-focused and revamped to become Liberal Education Tomorrow, fitting for a blog covering emerging technologies. Perspectives is geared toward the technology leadership at a liberal arts college. Techne, the one which I will be contributing to most regularly, is about integrating technology for teaching and learning at liberal arts colleges.

There are other things I like as well, but I said I would mention only a few. There are bugs and glitches, too. I’ve already pointed out two that are being corrected. But this is the world of information technology and everything is always a work in progress. That’s why things move forward at the pace they do. And that’s why we need you comments.

We’d all like to know what you think of these sites, so visit them and post your comments or contact our staff.