NPR’s All Things Considered ran a brief piece yesterday about the failure of Michigan State’s experiment in the UAE: “Michigan State To Close Dubai Campus.” Reporter Larry Abramson noted that
… many observers say growth in overseas campuses will continue. The Middle East and Asia have lots of young people clamoring for higher education. Western schools, for their part, want the prestige of an overseas presence.
New York University is banking on that as it opens a highly selective honors campus in the UAE in September.
Oddly, this statement was followed by a talking head not from NYUAD but from SUNY Albany. (I wonder how many listeners didn’t realize that there was a difference?)
In any case, what Abramson fails to note is that NYUAD is not catering to students from the Middle East and Asia in particular. As NYUAD’s press release about its inaugural class indicates, our “150 students” hail “from 39 countries on six continents.”
The President of Michigan State University, Lou Anna Simon, Ms. LOU ANNA SIMON (President, Michigan State University) noted that MSU failed to get the 100-15o students per year that it needed to be “financial viable”: “We were running about a third of that.” In contrast, NYUAD’s first admissions season has been more successful than anyone could have foreseen, thanks to its crackerjack admissions team working in tandem with officers from the IIE:
Overall, 189 students were accepted out of 9,048 applicants worldwide (an acceptance rate of 2.1 percent). NYUAD had initially sought an entering class of 100 students, however the combination of a remarkable candidate pool, with a 79.4 percent yield — the percentage of those admitted who have committed to attending this fall — produced a class 50 percent larger than anticipated.
NPR conveyed a more complete sense of NYUAD’s mission in a piece from All Things Considered that ran in May and featured NYUAD Vice Chancellor Al Bloom: “Life On An American Campus In The UAE.” Last summer, NPR interviewed John Sexton about the idea of the global university and NYU’s plans in Abu Dhabi.
You can read transcripts of those stories on NPR’s site and also listen to the audio on your browser or by downloading mp3 files.
I’m glad that NPR’s show has clarified the misconception. It is well and truly a Global university.