By Harrison Howe
'In and Of the World'
NYU has plans to take over the world. No, not in any radical sense, but from an academic standpoint, the school is well on its way to becoming the first global network university. In 1831, NYU's founders sought to build a university 'in and of the city'; 180 years later, NYU President John Sexton refers to the university as one 'in and of the world'.
Ten international study centers, five added since 2004. New centers being targeted in Australia, Africa and Latin America. A campus opened in Abu Dhabi in 2010. Plans for another international campus, this one in Shanghai, in the near future. A planned campus in Washington, DC. A partnership with the University of the People in 2011. Over 40 percent of undergraduates studying abroad (more than any other university in the U.S.). Globally oriented undergraduate programs. All things considered, it's hard to make an argument against Sexton's assessment.
Some observers, and even some within NYU itself, feel the university may be moving too quickly. Some, for instance, fear that time is not taken to fully assess quality before another new project is begun. The university's Associate Director of Study Abroad's Student Services Department admits to 'mixed feelings' about how rapidly the study abroad program is growing. But when it comes to global expansion, for now things at NYU remain full steam ahead.
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University of the People and NYU: Perfect Together
NYU's latest endeavor is a partnership between the school and the University of the People, an online tuition-free (and currently non-accredited) learning institution providing opportunities for students around the world. In many cases, these opportunities are available to those who ordinarily might not have had the chance for such an education: earthquake victims in Haiti, refugees in Sudan, a large number of students in Nigeria and Vietnam.
In all, 1,000 students from 115 countries have participated in the online school's computer science and business administration programs. Beginning this year, promising students of the University of the People, after just one year of study, could be eligible to apply to NYU Abu Dhabi. They would also qualify for financial aid.
The collaboration seems a natural fit. Several faculty members and administrators from NYU have worked as volunteers for the University of the People since its inception in 2009. And in 2010, when Sexton met the school's creator, Israeli entrepreneur Shai Reshef, he knew immediately that NYU and the online university shared a common mission. 'I told him (Reshef) that we are so committed to his agenda that we have to be partners,' Sexton told The New York Times in June 2011.
And thus, another piece of NYU's global network puzzle fell into place.
OpenCourseWare (OCW) increases access to education around the world by providing free educational resources; hear about OCW opportunities at institutions such as Tufts University and University of California, Irvine.