2009年12月27日 星期日

University Branches in Dubai Are Struggling

University Branches in Dubai Are Struggling

Ryan Carter for The New York Times

The Michigan State University outpost, in a building with other branches, is planning scholarship offering half-price tuition.

Published: December 27, 2009

The collapse of Dubai’s overheated economy has left the outposts of Michigan State University and the Rochester Institute of Technology in the United Arab Emirates struggling to attract enough qualified students to survive.

In the last five years, many American universities have rushed to open branches in the Persian Gulf, attracted by the combination of oil wealth and the area’s strong desire for help in creating a higher-education infrastructure. Education City in Qatar has brought in Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M and Virginia Commonwealth.

Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that make up the U.A.E. and the one that controls most of its oil, is still flourishing. And it is still generous in its support for the most ambitious American educational effort in the area, New York University’s liberal-arts college, which is scheduled to open there next fall with a highly selective class of 100 young students from around the world.

In Dubai, however, the timing for Michigan State and the Rochester Institute of Technology could hardly have been worse. Both started classes in August 2008, just before Dubai’s economy began to crumble. By this month, Dubai’s debt problems were so serious that Dubai World, a government-owned investment company, avoided a bond default only with a $10 billion bailout from Abu Dhabi.

Because most Dubai residents are expatriates, thousands of them left when their jobs disappeared, and the prospective college-student pool in the area has shrunk substantially. “Nobody could have anticipated the global meltdown, which has certainly had a negative effect on our student marketing,” said Brendan Mullan, executive director of Michigan State Dubai.

Michigan State, with only 85 undergraduates, is seeking to raise that figure with a scholarship offering half-price tuition to the first 100 qualified transfer applicants for the semester that starts next month.

“We’ve had close to 200 transfer applications, some from other universities in the U.A.E., but others from India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Oman,” Dr. Mullan said. “We are not compromising on quality, even if that means it takes us longer to gain traction here. We actually turned down 30 percent of our applicants last fall.”

Dr. Mullan said that while the break-even point for the campus was now expected to be five years, up from the original goal of three years, Michigan State was determined to remain in the Gulf.

“We still believe this is viable and valuable,” he said. “We’re not just going to be a teaching storefront here; we’re going to have significant research capacity, and our commitment to Dubai is unyielding.”

Rochester, which began only with graduate programs, accepted almost 100 students for this academic year. But Mustafa Abushagur, president of the Dubai campus, said it ended up with only about 50, spread among electrical engineering, computer networking, finance, and service and leadership studies. Rochester plans to start an undergraduate program next year, Dr. Abushagur said.

“Our plan for next year is 100 to 120 students,” he said, “which we think we can get, because we’ve studied the market very closely and we believe that as an institution, we can distinguish ourselves in certain programs that are in demand here.”

George Mason, one of the first American universities to open a branch in the United Arab Emirates, closed its Ras al Khaymah temporary campus in May, having never graduated a single student.

While the higher-education projects in Dubai face serious challenges, New York University’s plans in Abu Dhabi are moving ahead smoothly, with Abu Dhabi even going so far as to fly in top high school seniors from around the world for two days of meetings with those at the university.

“We’ve had a worldwide recruiting effort, identifying top candidates at high schools around the world,” said Linda Mills, the N.Y.U. senior vice provost overseeing the Abu Dhabi admissions process.

The cost of attending for a year, with tuition and travel and living expenses, is about $63,000, but Ms. Mills said students would get enough financial aid that no student would have to graduate with debt.

“We looked at the leading universities around the world,” Ms. Mills said, “and what we’re offering is on a par with Swarthmore, which I think offers the most generous financial aid.”

In fact, the head of the new Abu Dhabi campus is Alfred H. Bloom, the former president of Swarthmore, which has need-blind admissions, meets full financial need and, as of last year, replaced the loans in financial-aid packages with larger scholarships.

The admissions timetable has been somewhat different for the Abu Dhabi campus than the Greenwich Village one, with early-decision candidates having until Jan. 15 to accept a spot in the Gulf, and not expected to commit to Abu Dhabi without a visit.

Already, N.Y.U. has had more than 500 early-decision applicants for next year’s inaugural class, and has admitted students from Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, Ethiopia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Russia and Taiwan. About 100 have already been flown to Abu Dhabi for a visit.

“Everyone introduced themselves, in English and whatever language they wanted,” Ms. Mills said. “From French to Russian to Arabic to Hungarian, they’d say things like ‘I traveled 30 hours to get here,’ or ‘I’ve never been on a plane before.’ It was kind of a goose-bump moment.”

2009年12月22日 星期二



2009年12月20日 星期日



When GCube, the insurance services provider, had to cover a claim to replace wind energy equipment last year, it found a way to put the damaged parts to use. GCube donated the turbine to Laramie County Community College in Wyoming. The used but working equipment was valued at $600,000 but the donation was part of a long-term company initiative to give engineering students hands-on eperience of wind energy technology.

The college, could not have afforded to buy the kit itself. Just bringing the 36-tonne unit to campus, installing it and building a catwalk around it so that students could learn how to maintain it, has cost the college more than $100,000 (€68,000, £62,000).

As schools across the US start to build renewable energy programmes, hands-on experience is increasingly sought after. The Obama administration has pledged to pour funds into renewables, with an economic stimulus package that includes $56bn in grants and tax breaks for US clean energy projects over the next 10 years and a budget of $15bn a year to fund renewable energy programmes such as biodiesel, ethanol, solar and wind energy, as well as hybrid vehicles.

In response, schools across the US are looking at ways to prepare students for the industry. Universities and business schools are broadening traditional curriculums to take in issues that arise from the world's attempts to move away from fossil fuels and embrace alternative sources.

Pennsylvania State University does so through courses in its environmental and renewable resource economics department. Stanford University's global climate and energy project works to find solutions to how to supply energy to meet the needs of a growing world population while protecting the environment.

At the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, Praveen Kumar, executive director of the Global Energy Management Institute, last year started trying to capitalise on Houston's standing as the world's energy capital with an increasing number of workshops, seminars and courses touching on renewables.

Given all the energy talent in the city, the school is able to pull in speakers and guest lecturers from across the industry. UH is using a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to research the commercial viability of pyroil, a biomass-based fuel, to develop a course on the economic aspects of biofuels. It held the country's first graduate course in carbon trading, in co­ordination with the university's law school, given all the legal issues still to be resolved.

Earlier this year, the school offered a course dedicated to working with companies to design renewables-based business plans for its applied finance projects class. “It's been a great experience for all of us,” Prof Kumar says. “We will do it every summer.”'

Next year, UH will move such occasional courses on to the core curriculum, with three or four regularly scheduled courses touching on renewables and carbon markets.

While the US has been moving toward renewables for several years, he explains there is a time lag in higher education. “You want to make sure you have a framework you can give to the students.''

John Butler, academic director in the Energy Management and Innovation Center in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, says: “To get a new course offered is very hard.” For that reason, the university offers practicums as a way to get around the formality of creating a new course. These project-based courses change topics from year to year and are a good way to get into alternatives.

In addition, the university uses alternative energy companies or issues as examples or case studies in a variety of classes. For example, students in the school's marketing class will be focusing on companies marketing green products.

“It's going to be hard to talk about running a business without talking about energy in general and sustainability specifically,'' Prof Butler adds.

The school offers its MBA students electives in Clean Technology and Energy Finance that incorporate renewables. He expects that at some point, the school will offer a class focused entirely on alternatives.

For the past three years, Kyriacos Zygourakis, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University, has co-taught a course called engineering sustainable communities.

It examines the US's dependence on fossil fuels, whose production will eventually peak, and the effort that is required to scale up renewables to replace them. “Students learn how to systematically analyse these issues,” says Prof Zygourakis.

This year's final project was to see how Rice University could meet its goal to become carbon neutral. “No single solution can provide the answer,” he says. He admits some students are shocked at discovering how hard meeting that goal will be.

“My goal is to make the students understand the complexity of these problems,” adds Prof Zygourakis. “Hopefully they can contribute to the solution.''

去年,当保险服务提供商GCube不得不接受一项替换风能 设备的索赔时,它找到了一种利用坏损设备的方法。GCube把涡轮机捐赠给了怀俄明州的拉勒米县社区学院(Laramie County Community College)。这台仍能工作的旧设备价值60万美元,但此次捐赠只是GCube向工程专业学生提供风能技术实践机会的长期举措的一部分。


随着美国各地的学校开始开设可再生能源项目,实践经验变得越来越吃香。奥巴马(Obama)政府承诺要向可再生能源大举投资,经济刺激计划中包括未 来10年为美国清洁能源项目提供560亿美元的拨款和税收减免,并将每年拨出150亿美元的预算,用于为生物柴油、乙醇、太阳能和风能等可再生能源项目和 混合动力车提供资金。


宾夕法尼亚州立大学(Pennsylvania State University)这样做,是通过环境和可再生资源经济系的课程。斯坦福大学(Stanford University)的全球气候和能源项目致力于找到解决办法,研究如何在保护环境的同时,供应能满足日益增长的全球人口需求的能源。

在休斯敦大学(University of Houston)的Bauer商学院,全球能源管理学院(Global Energy Management Institute)执行董事普拉文•库玛(Praveen Kumar)去年开始尝试利用休斯敦作为世界能源之都的地位——越来越多涉及可再生能源的工作室、研讨会和课程在这里举办。

鉴于休斯敦能源人才众多,该校有能力从整个行业吸引来演讲人及嘉宾讲师。休斯敦大学正利用与美国国家可再生能源实验室(National Renewable Energy Laboratory)的合作关系,研究基于生物材料的燃料——皮罗伊的商业可行性,以开发一门有关生物燃料经济方面的课程。该校拥有美国首个碳交易研究 生课程。鉴于有众多法律问题有待解决,这个课程是与该校法学院合作开办的。




得克萨斯大学(University of Texas) McCombs商学院能源管理和创新中心(Energy Management and Innovation Center)学术主管约翰•巴特勒(John Butler)表示:“推出一门新课程难度很大。”因此,该校推出了一些实习课程,以绕过开办新课程的手续。这些基于项目的课程每年都会变换主题,是一种 了解替代能源的好方法。



过去3年,莱斯大学(Rice University)化学和生物分子工程教授克里阿克斯•扎古拉克斯(Kyriacos Zygourakis)一直在合作教授一门称作工程可再生社区的课程。





2009年12月16日 星期三

European Commission v Microsoft Co.就反壟斷案剩餘事宜達成和解

盟委員會(European Commission)週三同意與微軟(Microsoft Co.)就反壟斷案剩餘事宜達成和解﹐從而使十年來圍繞微軟壟斷業務活動的較量告一段落。

歐盟委員會同意不再追究微軟是否非法濫用其在網絡瀏覽器市場的壟斷地位﹐而不處以罰金。相應地﹐微軟承諾在銷售自身瀏覽器Internet Explorer的同時也銷售競爭對手的瀏覽器﹐該承諾具有法律約束力。

歐 盟委員會之前指控稱﹐微軟通過在佔據支配地位的Windows操作系統中捆綁Internet Explorer瀏覽器來壓制競爭對手﹐並阻礙技術創新。歐盟委員會要求微軟向歐洲Windows用戶提供瀏覽器選擇頁面﹐此舉旨在提高競爭對手瀏覽器的 市場佔有率﹐其中包括Mozilla的Firefox﹐谷歌(Google Inc.)的Chrome、蘋果公司(Apple Inc.)的Safari以及Opera Software ASA的瀏覽器。

歐盟委員會之前還指控微軟未充分披露信息﹐妨礙了 Office套裝軟件及其他產品與競爭對手軟件的兼容。歐盟委員會表示﹐如果微軟與競爭對手分享技術信息﹐使它們的產品與一系列微軟軟件(包括 Windows、Exchange電子郵件系統及Office套裝軟件)更好地兼容﹐則該委員會將不再進行與此案相關的調查。


2009年12月10日 星期四



2009年12月2日 星期三

Former Siemens boss agrees damages

Former Siemens boss agrees damages

Ex-Siemens chairman Heinrich von Pierer has agreed to pay his former
employer 5 million euros in damages. Pierer still denies any personal
involvement in Germany's biggest ever bribery scandal.

The DW-WORLD Article

European campaigners strive for corporate justice

World in Progress | 02.12.2009 | 17:30

European campaigners strive for corporate justice

Amid the ever-growing number of grievances related to questionable corporate practices, corporate social responsibility or CSR is taking on increasing significance worldwide.

There are many definitions of the term, but it broadly describes the manner in which companies manage business practices to create a generally positive impact on society at large.

The European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) brings together national platforms of civil society organizations including NGOs, trade unions and academic institutions promoting corporate accountability from across Europe. The Brussels-based ECCJ believes that owing to the global reach of European companies, it is crucial to make them legally accountable for their operations outside the European Union.

Deutsche Welle asked the ECCJ’s Paul de Clerck what progress had been made on this front since the turn of the century when CSR began emerging as a major issue in the EU.

Interview: Ranjitha Balasubramanyam/Paul de Clerck