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Archive for August, 2010

World-class?

We’re in the middle of ramadan, so there’s been a dearth of education-related news over here lately.  But something came through the ether today that I think is worth a read, particularly if you’re on the board of advisors at any of the recent tertiary ventures in the desert (KUSTAR comes to mind — there are no less than four references to ‘world-class’ on its About Page):

Nine common errors when building a new world-class university

References:

Salmi, J. 22 August 2010. Nine common errors when building a new world-class university.  Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved (23 August 2010) from http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/the_world_view/nine_common_errors_when_building_a_new_world_class_university

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I don’t really have anything new to report this week, as NYU Abu Dhabi hasn’t sent out another press release yet — unless you count the recent tidbit on the ‘leaning tower of Abu Dhabi’ posted on the Salaam blog.  As someone who has to drive past this architectural abomination on a pretty regular basis, it’s the last thing I want to read about, but if NYU and the rest of the UAE want to go on comparing it to the campanile at Pisa, they can go right ahead.  See for yourself:

Architectural Abomination

Architectural Beauty

Back to today’s post…

I had a quick look at the search terms that have pointed folks towards this blog over the past few months, and thought I would post them for all to see:

kustar salary 8
uaeu and chronicle 8
“chronicle of higher education” 6
hct sucks 5
nyu abu dhabi 4
hume, uae, chronicle 4
academics in the desert 4
uaeu “hume” 4
khalifa university salaries 3
kustar 3
http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/ 3
chronicle uaeu hume 3
salary zayed 17000 3
al hosn university chronicle 3
msu dubai 3
kustar allowance 3
abu dhabi nyu 2
“khalifa university” “per child” 2
“khalifa university” “allowance” 2
job cuts uae university 2
the national american university of rak 2
hct salaries 2
khalifa university salary 2
hume uaeu 2
daves esl cafe zayed university 2
eslcafe + khalifa university + 40000 aed 2
dave’s esl cafe alhosn university 2
“money proves elusive” hume 2
dave’s esl cafe hct 2010 2
tod laursen salary khalifa university 2
academics in teh desert 2
housing zayed university 2
laursen khalifa 2
salary package and uaeu 2010 2
msu dubai cancels class 2
nyuad 2
teaching vacancies iat uae 1
uaeu firing faculty 1
iat hct salary compare 1
the hidden gender gap in education in th 1
khda report 2010 of apple international 1
pay freeze uae universities 1
chronicle.com/article/money-proves-elusi 1
american university of sharjah faculty s 1
dave esl cafe forum khalifa university u 1
salary “khalifa university” 1
“abu dhabi university” ” per child” 1
aed job salary professor “zayed universi 1
kustar daves esl 1
uaeu hume chroncile of higher education 1

This isn’t really that interesting, but I thought I’d run a few numbers and see what is leading readers here — partly out of desperation for something to write about, and partly because this sort of information helps me decide what to write about more.  And the winner is…

Anything related to compensation.  35% of the time, search strings related to compensation (salaries and/or allowances).

The runner up appears to be a near tie between anything related to KUSTAR (32% of searches) and anything related to UAEU (30% of searches).  Note:  these include compensation-related queries, so don’t expect the numbers to add to 100%.

Third place is shared by Zayed University and NYUAD (each included in 8% of searches).

So what does this tell me?

In some ways, not that much — this blog is way below the radar with respect to established universities and places that have been all over the news, so I won’t show up on a search for anything related to NYU Abu Dhabi until several Google pages down from the top. Run a search on less written-up institutions, like the relatively new Khalifa University, and I’m more likely to be in the forefront.

But one interesting find is that many people appear to be searching for salary information.  What does this tell us?  One, the higher education (and non-TESL-related) market here is young enough that information on compensation is scarce.  Two, job candidates are really concerned about money — and not very concerned, it would seem, about, things like student attitudes/performance, grading pressure, or general academic culture.

While I don’t want this to morph into a blog specifically about compensation, I am interested in catering to the market, so if you’d like to (anonymously) contribute any information on your salary and benefit packages, I’m very happy to post it.

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Apples and oranges

Today in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Naomi Schaefer Riley discusses the ups and downs of start-up universities, once again comparing NYU Abu Dhabi to MSU Dubai:

The comparison with Michigan State is not perfect. It was receiving most of its funds from the home institution, and it is a less prestigious brand. (Riley, 1 August 2010)

The comparison, from my perspective, is far from perfect.  Whatever the potential problems may be at NYU Abu Dhabi, we need to cease comparing it to other branch campuses in the area (GMU RAK, MSU Dubai, RIT Dubai, for example) for one very important reason:  the students are likely to be completely different than those at any other American tertiary institution that has pitched a tent in the UAE (and by ‘American university’, I don’t mean American University of Sharjah, American University of Dubai, or American University of Ras Al Khaimah).

Although I don’t have data on the full-time student demographics at other branch campuses, it seems very unlikely that US citizens constitute anything approaching the 37% that they will at NYU Abu Dhabi.  So far, the only information I’ve been able to dig up on the student body at MSU Dubai is the university’s own claim that “MSU Dubai students are from North America to South Africa and beyond. The entering class represented citizens from 24 different countries” (MSU Dubai, n.d.).  To the extent there are Americans studying at RIT Dubai, it may be the case that they visit on a semester basis from the home campus in Rochester.  And as for the erstwhile students at GMU RAK, well…

If any readers have detailed information from reliable sources on the student body make-up at US branch campuses over here, please feel free to comment.  Until then, you’ll have to wait for ExpatAcademic to figure out how to make some discreet phone calls.

References:

Michigan State University Dubai. (n.d.) Frequently asked questions. Retrieved (17 July 2010) from http://dubai.msu.edu/faq

Riley, Naomi S. (1 August 2010). The lure, and the risks, of starting a university. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved (1 August 2010) from http://chronicle.com/article/The-Lurethe-Risks-of/123724/

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