Zane Schwartz is a student at the University of Toronto, news editor of The Varsity and one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20.
Along with Maclean’s editor Josh Dehaas, U of T studentSarah Rankin, and student activist Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Schwartz was a panelist at the Worldviews 2013 conference: Global Trends in Media and Higher Education, hosted by U of T June 19 – 21.
If you take a look at Canada’s J-Sourcejournalism website, under the “business of journalism” category, you would quickly conclude that journalism as an industry continues to decline. On the site you’ll find article after article on media layoffs, buyouts,dropping advertising revenue, the shuttering of regional and ethnic newspapers, and on and on (and those examples are from just the last six weeks). However, journalism programs at colleges and universities are a growth industry, said Janice Neil, an associate professor of journalism at Ryerson University and editor-in-chief of J-Source.
Last week the University of Toronto hosted the 2013 Worldviews Conference from June 19-21. The topic of this year’s conference focused on the global trends of higher education and the role of the media in portraying topics such as the popularity (and unpopularity) of MOOCs, international education, academic freedom, and student activism. For me, it was a unique opportunity to engage with journalists who cover some of the hottest topics in higher education, and to attend the keynote addresses led by prominent thinkers, like Sir John Daniel, Chad Gaffield, and Andrew Keen, just to name a few.
Universities determined to rise up international rankings are increasingly ‘playing’ the methodology, Shaun Curtis of the University of Exeter in the UK told the “Worldviews 2013” conference last week. One way is to seek support from colleagues in other institutions who are answering rankings questionnaires, and another is to game the data.
Some universities, said Curtis, who is director of ‘International Exeter’, were encouraging people to support their institutions in reputation surveys. Recently he received an email from a colleague at a partner university reminding him that a rankings questionnaire was on the horizon.
Singapore’s first US-style liberal arts college in collaboration with Yale University, set up at the National University of Singapore (NUS), has selected its first cohort of 157 students to start in August – after sifting through 11,400 applications from over 130 countries – the college announced last week.
This was more than the 150 students initially planned. Around two-thirds of the first cohort are Singaporean, with the rest from 25 countries, Yale-NUS said.
As universities recruit more international students, they need to work out their media messaging about the benefits for local and national communities, as well as their campuses, the “Worldviews 2013” conference in Toronto heard.
Views differed as to whether universities should sell the economic benefits, or use the media to promote wider cultural and social advantages. Both could help or hinder the integration of international students.
Getting to understand people should be the most critical business strategy in higher education today, Chad Gaffield, one of the speakers at the Worldviews 2013 conference, has said.
The two-day conference, which started on Thursday, is holding in Toronto, Canada.
At the conference, prominent thinkers in media and higher education have been engaged in debates and conversations on how media coverage of higher education is changing in a dynamic global landscape.