Good evening and welcome. I am happy to return to China to discuss with you the definition of what it takes to be a 21st-century, global university.
We live in a world where our partner is not necessarily just our neighbor anymore. Today, our “partner” can be an entire neighborhood. An entire province. An entire nation.
As the forces of globalization keep us more interconnected than ever before, we have a responsibility to improve the quality of higher education available to all young people around the world. All global citizens must be able to learn about other cultures, languages, and international challenges.
We must redefine what it takes to prepare our students for tomorrow by taking note of how technology allows us to redefine the global university. This is not just a moral responsibility, but a valuable challenge in preparing tomorrow’s leaders for the global knowledge economy.
Education can bring the world to students—it can also bring students to the world, giving the previously disenfranchised a voice on the world stage. Technological advances not only augment the quality of education we can deliver, they also increase the accessibility of this education. They allow us to make connections with more and more people. They allow us the opportunity to seek out talented individuals from distant communities and nurture that spark of scholarship within them to create a culture of educated world citizens.
We hope to break down the walls that lie between an eager student and the knowledge she seeks to gain.
Currently, only 2% of higher education students take the opportunity to study outside their home country. However, last year in the United States, nearly 128,000 of those students were Chinese — the highest number of any country. China surpassed India as the largest source of international students studying in the United States. This represents a 30% rise in the number of Chinese students in America since the previous academic year.
The growth of China’s economy – and the surge in Shanghai real-estate prices – has helped create 700,000 new millionaires and a middle class of more than 300 million. It is clear that the rise of education in Asia is no accident. It reflects policies that recognize the close link between the quality of education and strong growth in the economy. It also reflects a sense of open-mindedness, as Chinese parents see the value of a global education, and Chinese students are open to a broader scope for their education.
It’s not hard to see why more and more Chinese families want their students to gain access to English language instruction and to collaborate with American students and faculty. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, part of the appeal of the American degree is the growing diversity of majors and curriculum plans available at colleges in the United States.
We have a history in China. Last year, NYIT celebrated eleven years of offering academic programs in China. This spring, the first cohort of undergraduates at NYIT-Nanjing will graduate with degrees in business administration, communication arts, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science.
Your students have added value to our university through their rigorous academic preparation. They have added value to our university through their motivation to contribute to the global knowledge economy.
Our Chinese graduates are fast-becoming key contributors to the fields as diverse as business, engineering, media, and communications.
They are mavericks.
They have embraced NYIT’s commitment to innovation through cross-continental, multidisciplinary study, and close relationships with our faculty.
NYIT’s New York name may be a calling card to opportunity across the world, but NYIT represents more than New York. This is not a single, bilateral relationship.
While emphasizing the appeal of the American higher education model, we hope to also encourage more American students to immerse themselves in Chinese culture while completing their undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies.
New York Institute of Technology is expanding its pioneering global model by planning the NYIT Asia Center in Beijing, China. The NYIT Asia Center in Beijing would house four interdisciplinary Centers for Global Health, International Business, Global Education, and Science & Technology. The centers would collaborate with all of NYIT’s campuses, and plans to sponsor annual conferences linked to their work.
While NYIT will maintain its program sites in China, The Asia Center will serve as local a hub for the university.
Confucius said that “It is better to take a journey of 10,000 li than to read 10,000 books.” In more than ten years as NYIT president, I have opened campuses in five countries. All programs are taught in English by NYIT professors. The curriculum mirrors that of NYIT's programs in the United States.
Our university’s mission is to provide students with skills that reflect the demands of a global culture:
an understanding of technology and its practical applications;
the ability to identify problems and devise solutions in real-world situations;
an interdisciplinary, team-oriented approach to new challenges.
Students at NYIT are collaborating by videoconference, instant message, and email to democratize access to quality health care while populations grow. They are grooming a more sustainable planet even as demands for energy increase. In every discipline at NYIT, we encourage students to look beyond the limits of today’s technology as they consider solutions for tomorrow’s big problems.
We believe that the success of a university should not be measured solely by what it gives students: we measure success by what NYIT students give back to the world.