President’s Update – December 20, 2004
Vancouver Branch Campus
Dear Members of the University Community,
More than four years ago, an FDU team traveled to Australia to begin researching the development of a network of branch campuses to serve international students. As many know from the presentations made to the University constituencies over the past three months, the purpose of that trip was the review and evaluation of Central Queensland University, which had successfully established five of these branch campuses. A Board of Trustees Strategic Task Force was subsequently formed to conduct a lengthy planning process, which included the feasibility of replicating this model in the United States and the consideration of several locations for such a campus.
On December 15, the University moved a step closer to the objective of establishing a branch campus in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, when the Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the following actions:
- To begin the process of securing the necessary approvals to offer degree programs in Vancouver;
- To begin the process and take the appropriate actions necessary to establish a not-for-profit corporation in Vancouver; and,
- To spend up to $1.5 million spread over two fiscal years to develop the Vancouver campus and to recruit the initial class of international students.
The resolution also sets a target date for the opening of the branch campus of February 2006.
Building on our mission and tradition of educating world citizens and extending our global reach, the Vancouver branch campus will attract international students from throughout the world. Financially, the campus is expected to raise significant revenue that can support the continued growth of all of our campuses.
Vancouver was selected for several reasons. First and foremost, basing a campus outside the United States is more consistent with the University’s global mission. With its location close to the United States and near the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is well positioned to attract international students, particularly those from Asian countries. There also are few American universities competing in the area. In addition, the cost of living – and the cost of providing programs – is significantly lower than in the United States. Finally, international students will benefit from less intensive Visa requirements in Canada. We believe this will be a tremendous opportunity for international students to enjoy an affordable program while gaining the prestige associated with a high-quality curriculum from an American university.
I want to extend my appreciation to all of the individuals who worked so hard for so long to bring the initiative to this stage. Director of the School of Psychology Christopher Capuano led the academic subcommittee of the Board of Trustees Task Force and Executive Vice President Carl Viola led the administrative subcommittee. They were joined on the Task Force by Metropolitan Campus Provost Joseph Kiernan, Senior Vice President for Finance/Treasurer Sheldon Drucker and Professor of Political Science and History Samuel Raphalides.
There is a great deal left to accomplish if we are to meet the February 2006 target date. The presentations to the various University constituencies resulted in support for the concept, but raised a number of important questions regarding development of the campus.
Most groups emphasized that the administration had to carefully consider how the Vancouver campus should be funded. The groups indicated that if a decision were made to fund the initiative using University operating dollars it would be essential that no other major institutional priorities be ignored or delayed. In addition, there must be substantive faculty planning and input concerning the academic programs to be offered at the branch campus prior to finalizing the launch of the campus. This process must be open and inclusive of key departments, schools and other appropriate faculty bodies.
The Task Force will continue to lead this initiative. I recognize the importance of the issues raised by the various constituent groups. I assure you that the issues raised by faculty and staff will be addressed as we develop the application for licensure in British Columbia, identify physical space for the campus and develop the University FY06 budget. I have asked Dr. Capuano to expand the membership of the academic subcommittee to include members of the faculty from different schools and departments. Likewise, I have asked Carl Viola to expand the membership of the administrative subcommittee to include individuals from the key support areas that we will need to establish and support the new campus, such as admissions, registration, marketing and public relations and information systems.
The establishment of a branch campus in Vancouver has the potential to significantly benefit our University. The location is right, the enrollment patterns of international students are right, but the success of the campus depends on careful, thoughtful planning and action. Many individuals across the University will be involved.
I ask faculty and academic leaders to work with Dr. Capuano to ensure that the right programs and courses are offered and that the quality of all program offerings is up to the standards of our New Jersey campuses. I also ask academic support personnel who will be working to establish support services to ensure that these offerings mirror the quality of services on our New Jersey campuses.
With your support, this initiative will play a pivotal role in the continuing development of Fairleigh Dickinson University.