UA 'Micro-Campuses' to Expand Education Access Abroad

UA 'Micro-Campuses' to Expand Education Access Abroad

By David MillerStudent Affairs and Enrollment Management
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Brent White, seated at left, attends the signing of the agreement that created UA Phnom Penh at the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. (Photo courtesy of the American University of Phnom Penh)
Brent White, seated at left, attends the signing of the agreement that created UA Phnom Penh at the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. (Photo courtesy of the American University of Phnom Penh)
Unlike international branch campuses, which typically require significant investment in costly new infrastructure abroad, micro-campuses are mutually beneficial partnerships with local universities. (Photo credit: John de Dios/UANews)
Unlike international branch campuses, which typically require significant investment in costly new infrastructure abroad, micro-campuses are mutually beneficial partnerships with local universities. (Photo credit: John de Dios/UANews)
Brent White
Brent White

With two existing partnerships and 11 more just announced, the University of Arizona is introducing "micro-campuses" abroad – a new model to provide international students with access to University of Arizona degrees in their home countries.

The UA now has 13 micro-campuses in 10 countries and has publicly launched a Global Micro-Campus Network. The network will be capable of educating more than 25,000 international students abroad, and is projected to grow to more than 25 university partnerships within three years.

"The University of Arizona is re-envisioning what it means to be an international university in a digital age," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "This unique model creates access to the world-class UA educational experience and will have positive impact for faculty and students at our main campus and at campuses around the world."

The new micro-campuses and the partner universities represent a prestigious group throughout Asia, the Middle East and North America. They are:

  • UA Amman at Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Jordan
  • UA Bandung at Telkom University, Indonesia
  • UA Beirut at Lebanese International University, Lebanon
  • UA Hanoi at Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • UA Hualien City at Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
  • UA Manila at De La Salle University, Philippines
  • UA Puebla at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico
  • UA Shanghai at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, China
  • UA Sharjah at the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  • UA Shenzhen at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China
  • UA Taipei at Soochow University, Taiwan

The UA offers degrees in business administration, civil engineering and law at its two existing micro-campuses, UA Qingdao at Ocean University of China, and UA Phnom Penh at the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The UA anticipates that future degree programs at new UA micro-campuses will include degrees in the health sciences, social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, engineering and education, subject to approval by the Higher Learning Commission and local regulatory bodies.

Upon HLC approval, the UA will begin offering programs at the 11 new partner universities in the spring and fall semesters of 2018.

"As one of the world's leading research institutions, the UA will embed research of micro-campuses themselves directly into the model," said Andrew Comrie, UA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "The data we gather will go into quality control and to ensuring positive student outcomes, faculty collaboration and meaningful community impact."

"Together, the University of Arizona and its international partners are answering the call for globally accessible degree programs, creating one of the world’s most affordable, accessible and expansive networks for collaborative higher education," said Brent White, UA vice provost of international education.

Unlike international branch campuses, which typically require significant investment in costly new infrastructure abroad, micro-campuses are mutually beneficial partnerships with local universities.

With a micro-campus, the partner university allows use of its physical campus and classrooms, and provides a designated space for the UA, which alleviates the need for new infrastructure and allows the UA to focus instead on delivering high-quality education in collaboration with the partner university.

"The micro-campus model cracks the code. It infuses novel partnerships, cutting-edge content delivery and access on a grand scale by combining our highly regarded technology platform with location-based instruction," said Melissa Vito, UA senior vice president for student affairs, enrollment management and strategic initiatives.

Because micro-campuses are financially self-sustaining, they also promote long-term internationalization, providing a platform and physical location for faculty training, service-learning, internships, and other forms of engaged learning.

Also, the network opens educational and engagement possibilities for domestic UA students by allowing them to travel and study between Tucson and micro-campus locations – while remaining in their UA degree programs.

Beyond fostering international education, micro-campuses can also act as hubs for joint faculty research and grant proposals.

"One of the greatest strengths of the model is that it encourages multicountry collaborations," said Randy Burd, associate vice president for global research alliances. "Instead of numerous one-to-one partnerships, the micro-campus network connects a web of partners. The effect is therefore collaboration instead of competition, and the creation of potential connections and projects between partners."

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