IT in a global university

The first stream session I attended at Educause was given by New York University on the work they are carrying out to attempt to implement a global network university. NYU is the largest study abroad institution in the US with a presence in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. What they were striving to do was create a vertically integrated corporation – language which was rather at odds with the opening presentation from Collins which suggested that institutions should shy away from implementing business practices when most business are ‘average’. However, the focus was very much on the academic aims of the institution with seamless mobility of students, faculty and research at the top of the agenda.

The key to their programme was standardisation – the service in Abu Dhabi should be identical to that in New York. This is easy where the campus abroad is managed by NYU. However there are greater challenges where the NYU presence is hosted within another institution. In this case there is a need for greater partnership with the host institution (with the aim to deliver benefits to both) and strong identity management to ensure that only those that have the right to access NYU facilities can do so. Overall there is still much work to be done. The presentation highlighted the work that has been carried out between the New York and Abu Dhabi campuses. But these are only two campuses – there are at least eight others that also need to be brought into the fold before this can be deemed a successful project.

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