The Emir of NYU

NYU president John Sexton has been promised a blank check to duplicate his university on a desert island in Abu Dhabi. The expansion will leave both campuses flush with petrodollars. But to many faculty, the deal amounts to a sellout.

Zvika Krieger in New York Magazine:

Nyudubai080421_1_250Within less than three years, NYU plans to more or less clone itself in Abu Dhabi, thereby becoming the first major U.S. research institution to open a complete liberal-arts university off American soil. It is a wildly ambitious project, far more grandiose than simply opening up a foreign branch or study-abroad program. Unlike any other major American university, NYU will treat its offshore campus as virtually equal to its New York campus. NYU Abu Dhabi students will be chosen by the same admissions procedure, and will graduate with the same degrees, as their Washington Square colleagues. Eventually, Sexton hopes that New York and Abu Dhabi will serve as two nodes for a global network of NYU programs and classes.

The financing of the deal is equally extraordinary. The city-state of Abu Dhabi, having already committed a $50 million “gift” (effectively a down payment) to the university, has promised to finance the entire Middle East campus and a good deal of NYU New York as well. “This is not just study abroad on steroids,” says Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, a professor of globalization and education at NYU. “This is really upping the ante. It will be a complete game-changer for higher education as we know it.”

More here.  [Thanks to Asad Raza.]