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Thursday, June 9, 2011
"If we want to build a good system, we cannot only rely on testing at the end of learning. Testing implies that the student has finished the educational system. The most important thing is not just to see the testing results, but to pay close attention to the educational process. The process of education is much more important than the testing."
"Education is not just about knowledge. It is also the process of socialization of the individual. There are other important elements such as social responsibility, personal potential in arts and the fine arts, how a student handles himself in relationships with other people, how students handle their work. Those kinds of skills and capacities are very important, sometimes even more important than subject testing."
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
- University of Bologna: This lauded institution has been in continuous operation since 1088, give or take a few years. For the longest time, they only offered doctoral degrees, though in recent times they expanded their offerings. Today, around 100,000 students spread across 23 different faculties at 8 different branches and schools — including an international location in Buenos Aires. Considering its Catholic roots, it probably comes as little surprise that University of Bologna receives accolades for its civil and canon law programs. Throughout its incredible history, the school has graduated such diverse cultural luminaries as Dante Alighieri, Nicolaus Copernicus, Albrecht D–rer and Umberto Eco.
- University of Oxford: As with many medieval universities, the exact date of founding remains largely unknown, though it's well known that teaching was going on in 1096. Although the oldest English-speaking school in the world (pictured), much of University of Oxford's wealthy intellectual legacy stems from massive influxes of Continental students and ideologies. Catholic orders, Renaissance beliefs and figures and scholars fleeing Nazism and Communism have all, at one time or another, flocked to this academic safe haven and eventually left their permanent mark. The year 1878 saw the landmark addition of the first women's college, with a second following a year later — and three more came shortly thereafter. Even today, it remains one of the world's most eclectic, prestigious and influential universities thanks to this diverse heritage.
- University of Salamanca: Spain's oldest university started offering classes around 1130, but never received a papal charter until 1218 and a royal charter from King Alfonso X until 1254. By 1255, it was able to refer to itself as a university thanks to the confirmation of Pope Alexander IV. Because of its age, this institution participated in its fair share of notable historical events, both amazing and absolutely terrible. For one, many of its graduates and faculty assisted the government in its unjust expulsion and torturing of innocent Jews. Geographers at the University of Salamanca also played an integral role in assisting Christoffa Corombo on his historic voyage attempting to discover a quicker trade route towards the West Indies. After his accidental landing in the Americas, the very same school that backed his journey would go on to debate the ethical and economic impact of interacting with its indigenous peoples.
- University of Modena: University of Modena actually spreads itself across the eponymous city as well as Reggio Emilia, with eight faculties comprising the former and four in the latter. The original campus was founded in 1175 by former University of Bologna educator Pillio of Medicina, but its original medieval structure fizzled out entirely by 1338. At that point, it ceased offering degrees and focused more on holding classes until funding forced the 1590 suspension. However, it revived itself in Modena around 1680 and eventually picked up its charter five years later. Today, both campuses host a total of around 20,000 students. Anyone visiting Modena needs to head over to the school and explore the Orto Botanico dell'Universit– di Modena e Reggio Emilia. This free botanical garden began as a small plot for medicinal plants, grew into an herbarium and subsequently expanded to its lush form locals and tourists currently enjoy.
- University of Vicenza: Many academics, unfortunately, consider the University of Vicenza one of the least significant surviving medieval schools. In spite of this mindset, however, it still deserves recognition for its age and endurance. It was founded in 1204 and received recognition as a stadium generale at some point in the 13th Century.
- University of Cambridge: The second-oldest stadium generale in the English-speaking world sprouted thanks to the first. Because of myriad disputes with faculty and townspeople alike, a small throng of Oxford intellectuals went on to found the competing university in 1209. Today, it is considered amongst the best institutes of higher learning on the planet, but it certainly took an interesting historical path to get here. On the orders of King Henry XIII, Cambridge disbanded its canon law program and dissolved any and all associations with Catholicism. As a result, classes shifted towards math, science, the classics and Bible — offerings which eventually inspired some of the most influential politicians, scientists, mathematicians, writers and thinkers of all time. Without Cambridge, there would be no laws of motion, atom splitting, unified electromagnetism, theory of evolution and natural selection, Turing machines or quantum mechanics. Nor would the electron, hydrogen or structure of DNA been discovered. Among a staggering heap of other accomplishments, of course.
- University of Padua: A 1222 split from the University of Bologna resulted in the creation of University of Padua, whose new students and faculty desired more flexibility and freedom. At first, it only focused on providing degrees in law and theology, though it expanded its offerings to include astronomy, rhetoric, medicine, dialectic, philosophy, rhetoric, grammar and philosophy by 1399. During and shortly after the Renaissance, University of Padua enjoyed recognition as one of the world's intellectual and research powerhouses, likely due to its closer affiliation with the Venetian government than the Catholic Church. Even now, the 65,000-student institution is oftentimes considered amongst the greatest institutes of higher learning in Italy.
- University of Naples Federico II: Unlike the other historical universities listed here, this one never affiliated itself with any religious institution. Rather, it received its initial patronage from Emperor Frederico II in 1224, making it the oldest state school in the world. Curiously enough, however, its most famous alum made a name for himself as one of the foremost Catholic theologians. St. Thomas Aquinas likely formed many of his influential religious theories based on his exposure to classical philosophy, letters and political science at University of Naples Federico II.
- University of Siena: Established in 1240, University of Siena funded itself on taxes levied upon individuals and families renting living quarters to citizens. By 1252, Pope Innocent IV was declaring that teachers and students alike would be exempt from taxes, forced labor, night watchman duty and military service — particularly those involved with Latin, medicine and the natural sciences. Following a giant influx of University of Bologna faculty and students angered with a young man's death sentence, the institution in Siena swelled significantly, even enjoying stadium generale status. While it may not have played a huge role in Italian history, the school did witness major power switches in the region and hosted many extremely vocal demonstrations against Risorgimento.
- University of Coimbra: Portugal's oldest university is a public school founded in 1290 following the approval of King Dinis. It actually started out in Lisbon before the 1308 move to Coimbra — a result of tensions with Pope Nicholas IV, the citizenry and the students. The core curriculum originally offered classes in the arts, canon law, law and medicine, which remained intact during the transition. In 1338, King Alfonso IV brought the school back to Lisbon, where it stayed until 1537 when King Jo–o III sent it to Coimbra permanently.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Applicants from other states or countries made up 18.1% of the 72,432 students admitted to at least one of the nine undergraduate University of California campuses, up from 14% last year and 11.6% in 2009, data show.
The University of California's recent decision to boost its enrollment of out-of-state students for the extra tuition they pay was evident in the higher number of non-Californians offered freshman admission for the fall, according to data released Monday.
Applicants from other states or countries made up 18.1% of the 72,432 students admitted to at least one of the nine undergraduate UC campuses, up from 14% last year and 11.6% in 2009, the figures show. The trend was most dramatic at UC Berkeley and UCLA, where 31.2% and 29.9% of freshman admission offers went to non-Californians.
But fewer out-of-state than in-state students typically accept their UC offers. Officials said they expect the systemwide enrollment of non-California freshmen this fall to end up below 10%, the maximum set by the UC regents in December when they moved to boost the proportion of such students from 6% now. Out-of-state students pay $23,000 more annually than in-state students, money the cash-strapped system says it needs.
Overall, 68.2% of all the 106,186 applicants to UC were accepted by at least one of the campuses to which they applied, a slight increase over the 68% of the year before. However, more students than ever were denied admissions at their first- and second-choice campuses.
"Because of these dire financial circumstances, our campuses have had to make very difficult decisions to turn away highly qualified students who they know would thrive and contribute greatly to the life of their campuses," said Pamela Burnett, UC's interim director of undergraduate admissions.
More than 12,700 students turned away at other UC campuses will be offered a spot at the university's 5-year-old Merced campus, even though they did not apply there. That way, Burnett said, UC will honor the goal of the state's master plan for higher education, which calls on the university to admit all academically eligible applicants, generally in the top 12.5% of high school graduates based on grades and test scores.
Combined with enrollment cutbacks at Cal State campuses and community colleges, UC's push to enroll more out-of-state students threatens to diminish opportunities for Californians, according to William Tierney, director of USC's Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis.
"We are moving in the opposite direction of where we need to go," Tierney said. "We need to be increasing capacity and participation in higher education, and the public sector is decreasing that. I understand why they are doing it, but it's not in the best interest of the state."
UC officials said they expect enrollment of California freshmen to stay nearly the same in fall 2011 as it was last year, about 32,600. They also emphasized that public universities in Michigan, Virginia and Colorado enroll more than 30% of their undergraduates from beyond their borders, triple UC's goal.
UCLA and UC Berkeley once again were the most selective UC campuses. UCLA accepted 25.3% of its applicants and UC Berkeley, 25.5%. Next were UC San Diego, with 34.1%; UC Irvine, 45.5%; UC Santa Barbara, 45.7%; UC Davis, 46%; UC Riverside, 62.2%; UC Santa Cruz, 67.9%; and UC Merced, 78%.
Admitted students have until May 1 to decide whether to attend, and some students may later switch campuses if they are offered admission from waiting lists. About 16,500 UC applicants were wait-listed for at least one campus this year, up from 10,700 in 2010, when the university first used the lists.
Among ethnic groups, Asian Americans continued to make up the largest share of UC admission offers, with 36%, up from 35.4% last year. White students remained at 30.6%, and Latinos increased to 26%, up from 23.3%. African Americans made up 4.1% of the accepted pool, compared with 4.2% last year.
Written by Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
Posted by Lindy Kahn, M.A., CEP for Kahn Educational Group, LLC
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