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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
"Gimme your money." "Gimme your money..." "Gimme your goddamn money!" 
10th-Feb-2008 12:00 pm
Accordion
I have no illusions about my MA program's relatively open admissions policy. Academic quality and networking potential nonwithstanding. If you're willing to pay, they'll take you. (Of course, once you're in, if you want to graduate with more than a gentleman's C B+, you're going to have to work your butt off. At least on the grad school level, NYU is, in the words of an MHC classmate from Japan who characterized American colleges and universities thusly: "Easy to get into, hard to get out of.")

Seems, however, that NYU is good at soaking more than just its run-of-the-mill students for every last penny. As per the New York Times feature:
When John Sexton, the president of New York University, first met Omar Saif Ghobash, an investor trying to entice him to open a branch campus in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Sexton was not sure what to make of the proposal — so he asked for a $50 million gift.

“It’s like earnest money: if you’re a $50 million donor, I’ll take you seriously,” Mr. Sexton said. “It’s a way to test their bona fides.” In the end, the money materialized from the government of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates.
And if you ain't gonna pony up, NYU doesn't want to know you:
Three years ago, Mr. Ghobash, the Oxford-educated investor from the United Arab Emirates, heard a presentation by a private company, American Higher Education Inc., trying to broker a partnership between Kuwait and an American university.

Mr. Ghobash, wanting to bring liberal arts to his country, hired the company to submit a proposal for a gulf campus run by a well-regarded American university. American Higher Education officials said they introduced him to N.Y.U. Mr. Ghobash spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the company’s fees, talked with many N.Y.U. officials and paid for a delegation to visit the emirates before meeting Mr. Sexton, the university president, in June 2005.

Mr. Sexton said he solicited the $50 million gift to emphasize that he was not interested in a business-model deal and that academic excellence was expensive. Mr. Ghobash declined to be interviewed. But according to American Higher Education officials, $50 million was more than Mr. Ghobash could handle.

So when the agreement for the Abu Dhabi campus New York University was signed last fall, Mr. Ghobash and the company were out of the picture, and the government of Abu Dhabi — the richest of the emirates — was the partner to build and operate the N.Y.U. campus. The Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi made the gift in November 2007.
*sighs* Lovely, huh?

To be perfectly frank, I'm not yet convinced that all this isn't just primarily a multi-billion dollar gambit to up NYU's prestige...and generate yet another potential cash cow. Obviously, many American students will jump at this summer/semester/year abroad opportunity that will allow them to go someplace "different" without ever having to leave NYU's safe, all-American bubble, and rich locals are sure to be beating down the gates so that they can get an "authentic" American degree (from a reasonably prestigious school)--and at American prices--without having to go to America.

Not to mention that the university will likely be hard-pressed to match the experience of its Manhattan campus. Especially if it depends primarily upon guest lecturers. (I'll bet that $50 million is going partly toward bribes grants and scholarships open to extant NYU faculty and graduate students who might be convinced to look favorably on a temporary Lawrence of Arabia-esque life.) Besides, what I overhear from undergraduates leads me to believe that their education is rather assembly line in nature, but there is a wealth of value-added bonus opportunities to be had simply because of where the school "happens" to be. The latter I don't see students getting in the desert.
Comments 
11th-Feb-2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
I'm amused that he isn't afraid to admit he asked for 50 mil upfront^_^
11th-Feb-2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
I don't know exactly how this stuff works, but he probably wasn't allowed to keep that big of an exchange of funds secret anyway.

Given that an NYU education at Abu Dhabi is likely to cost as much as one in NYC, I don't see why one might as well not just go to NYC. ^^; Unless your intended major has something specifically to do with Arabic or Middle East area studies, or something...
11th-Feb-2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
The Sorbonne has a branch in Abdu Dhabi too.

I bet a lare percentage of students will be female.
11th-Feb-2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
I bet a lare percentage of students will be female.

Why? Because Mommy and Daddy won't let them go all the way to the Big Bad United States(tm)?

Though, ironically, my program is over 90% female here in NYC. Supposedly it's even more so in the undergrad division. Apparently, Media, Culture, and Communication is for sissies or something. ^^;;;;;;
(Screened comment)
11th-Feb-2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
For the quality of the education or the American degree? :P
11th-Feb-2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
Presumably both^^
(Screened comment)
11th-Feb-2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Apparently, Media, Culture, and Communication is for sissies or something. ^^;;;;;;

You know, at my university, the undergrad program for something similar was filled with guys, mostly athletes... It was viewed as an easy major.
11th-Feb-2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
It was viewed as an easy major.

I don't know if it's viewed as an easy major here too or not...of the three components, Media and Culture are probably more difficult than Communication alone. But I know they have the undergrads reading Habermas and Derrida--which would be pretty scary if you're just a jock. :P
11th-Feb-2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
Ours had that media production component/film making component where I think they were mostly training people to do production stuff. It was less theoretical.

My sister said Northwestern was pretty much the same way. The smart jocks did something else though, like engineering.
11th-Feb-2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
Besides, what I overhear from undergraduates leads me to believe that their education is rather assembly line in nature

My dad talked of huge lecture halls packed with students and professors just rambling away at the front.. Much different than FDU with its small classes and professors who actually remembered your first name ages after you actually had a class with them..

I’ve noticed ads for American universities with branches overseas, and usually their requirements for a professor appear to be much less than what they’d be demanding back home ^^
11th-Feb-2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
My dad talked of huge lecture halls packed with students and professors just rambling away at the front..

The big universities are all like that, I should think.

I've never really had the experience of an impersonal lecture classroom format...and of course grad school classes are small. I still try to keep in touch with a handful of my undergraduate professors.
11th-Feb-2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
I only had one big lecture hall class like that at Fairleigh, a freshman introductory engineering course, and never again after that.. But FDU has 3 campuses in NJ that each acts like its own small university so nothing ever felt big.. Well, until they announced that everyone would be in a combined graduation ceremony at Giants Stadium ^_^;; I skipped it…

I think all those American University of ____ schools are run by universities here, Syracuse University (I think) is one I’ve seen a lot..
11th-Feb-2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
The big universities are all like that, I should think.

My brother had problems with that when he transferred. He went from a class with a max of 40 to a science class with 350 people for the lecture and 30 for the lab. It is one of the reasons why the local high schools urge to the border line college ready students to do a community college for the first two years. Some of the academic counselors see sending kids to cattle call classes where you never meet the professor personally as a sure recipe for failure.

've never really had the experience of an impersonal lecture classroom format...

I had a film criticism class where it was a required communication class that also qualified as a gen ed AND was 300 level to help you get enough classes at the level. I believe it had 300 to 400 students and was held in a large lecture hall. The professor would lecture for 30 to 45 minutes and then we'd watch a film. The class met once a week. We were graded on four papers and a final exam. :/ I got a B in the class but it was awful. I think I talked to a TA/GA only twice that whole class.
11th-Feb-2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
He went from a class with a max of 40 to a science class with 350 people

>_< My biggest ever class was still under 100.. 350 is ridiculous, you could just watch it on TV and have the same level of personal involvement…
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