Berkeley Plans to Build a New Global Campus, 10 Miles From Home!

Dear Commons Community,

The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the University of California at Berkeley is planning to open a global campus just 10 miles from Berkeley’s main campus.  Under the plans, partner universities from around the world would set up academic programs at the new campus.  As reported in The Chronicle:

“The Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay, campus officials say, will offer a “global citizenship” curriculum—with a focus on topics like governance, ethics, health, and sustainability—for graduate students from the United States and abroad.

By situating the campus nearby—an unusual move in an era when many American institutions are building abroad—Berkeley hopes to establish partnerships with universities from around the world while preserving full academic freedom for its faculty.

It’s a hefty undertaking. The campus’s development manager, Terezia C. Nemeth, said it will take years—possibly decades—and hundreds of millions of dollars to fulfill the university’s vision. It’s unclear where the money will come from. Nils Gilman, an associate chancellor at Berkeley, said the university is pursuing a range of options, including philanthropic donations and federal and state funds. Partner universities would also bring their own money to the project.”

… Berkeley officials argue that there’s a compelling reason to put the global campus on American ground: the chance to create a true safe harbor with protections for academic freedom, human rights, political activism, and intellectual property.

Many overseas branch campuses have, in fact, been dogged by concerns over the academic freedom of their faculty members. In one high-profile example, professors at Yale University objected to an overseas partnership with the National University of Singapore, passing a resolution that expressed “concern regarding the history of lack of respect for civil and political rights” in Singapore.”

This is an interesting idea and maybe more practical than some of the branch campuses that other American colleges have developed in foreign countries.



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