In Focus | International Branch Campuses


– Hello I’m Stephanie Kim coming to you from the LG Digital Studio
at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. In focus today, international
branch campuses. I’m joined by Amol Dani, vice president and chief financial officer at Georgetown University
who also previously served as chief operating officer at Georgetown University in Qatar. Welcome Amol. – Thank you for having me. – Now for starters,
especially for those out there who may be unfamiliar with
international branch campuses. Could you first explain what they are? – Sure. International branch campuses or IBCs as they have come to be known are really outposts of the
home campuses of universities. So for instance when Georgetown University established its outpost in Qatar, it’s labeled as an
international branch campus. So it’s a foreign land. The one thing that I think people confuse international branch campuses with our franchising arrangements, I would say our IBCs are not
franchising arrangements, they are truly entities that are managed, controlled and owned by the university in their home location. So under a various kinds arrangements for international branch campuses, some of these operate in free markets, for instance in UAE or in Malaysia, where universities can choose
to open branch campuses. Some branch campuses are opened at the invitation of a local sponsor. Typically it’s the
government of the country that invites universities to start branch campuses in their countries. – Wow, interesting. So as I understand it, the
number of branch campuses or IBCs has increased tremendously
in the last decade or so. Why is this happening? And how does Georgetown’s campus in Qatar fit into this trend? – Right. International branch campuses
are a direct response to developing human capacity in countries that have fallen behind in
the Human Development Index. Countries that have typically
imported skills from outside. So let’s take for example the gulf states in the Middle East. They are all endowed with
great energy resources. One of the question that really comes in front of the leadership
of these countries is, what happens when the oil wealth dries up? What do the citizens turn to? And investing in developing human capacity was one way of framing how human capacity can be developed. So that’s where universities were invited to set up branch campuses. The other reason is in
some of these countries, if you think about it
women typically are either unable to or unwilling to travel to get education abroad. So setting up international
branch campuses really helps meet the needs of that
particular set of population. Whereas Georgetown in
Qatar was established again to meet the needs of
developing Qatari citizens to bring them into the leadership fold in the next generation. Over the last 12 years since
Georgetown has had its campus, we have graduated more than 300 students who have worked in almost
all different sectors of the economy. Some of them have even gone
on to pursue graduate studies especially doctoral
studies and we are hopeful that some of them will come
back and teach at Georgetown. – That’s really great,
thank you for sharing that. So then I’m curious to know specifically about the Georgetown campus
in Qatar and its relationship to Georgetown’s main campus
here in Washington DC. So in an operational sense,
how do they work together? And also how are they independent? – Yeah, Georgetown campus in Qatar reports to the Provost of the University
here in Washington DC. So the Qatar campus is an integral part of the main campus which
is part of the university. The one way the campus is independent is in terms of its funding source, so the Qatar campus is funded from a grant that was given by the Qatar Foundation. So it is completely independent of funding from the main campus. So it has that independence
but in terms of its policies and procedures, the Qatar campus is no
different than the main campus. It draws all of its
policies and procedures from the main campus and
to the extent it needs to be adapted for local purposes. There are some adaptations
that have been made so that they can be compliant with
local laws and regulations. Another unique aspect of insuring that the quality of education is the same is the recruitment of faculty. So all faculty that are recruited in Qatar are appointed by the Provost
who’s based in Washington DC. So it’s very integrated from
an operational perspective but there are some
independence in terms of the financial arrangements
that are in play. – So a follow up question to that, in terms of the faculty who are recruited and the students who come to the campus, where do they typically come from? And how might that be
the same or different than Georgetown’s campus
here in Washington DC? – Sure, so the one big
difference is our student body is pretty global in its representation. I would say a third of the
students are Qatari citizens. Roughly a third are students
who have lived in Qatar but are not citizens of Qatar,
they are expat families. And a third of the students
are recruited globally. So we focus our recruitment efforts, what I would categorize
in the eastern hemisphere but we do get the occasion
students from North America, from South America or from Africa. So that’s the student body. With respect to faculty, again our faculty are recruited globally. Most of our faculty do
come from the United States because of our historical alliance and our presence in the US. But increasingly we
have been hiring faculty from Europe as well. – So it really sounds
like a global campus. So my next question is
somewhat related to that. I mean today, we are in a very
interesting political era. Some might even call it tumultuous
here in the United States but of course also all over the world. And this political climate of course has effects on higher education. So with that said, what do you foresee are the future trends for international branch campuses in this rapidly changing higher
education landscape? – Yeah, I think there are
two parts of an answer. I think the first part is just focusing on what’s happening state side. I think state side, recruitment
of international students has become a challenge. With the changes to the
immigration policies, we are finding that students are waiting for a longer period, international students are
waiting for a longer period to know whether their visas
have been processed. And some universities are losing out as these students end up
going to other traditional, large educational sectors
like Canada or the U.K. So on the home front, that’s the challenge with international students recruitment. I’d say for the international
branch campuses, my opinion the future
lies in collaboration. So while at the start they
were invited to be independent organizations running their businesses, I think the next wave of
international branch campuses is really going to be
building local capacity. Which means bringing
what these institutions are known for but having
some way and some means of transferring the know
how in building capacity with the local higher
education institution. Now that is easier said than done. It needs a lot of collaboration, a lot of support, a lot of incentives. And I think it’s a multi decade process, it’s not something that can happen over short period of time. But I just cannot imagine that
international branch campuses will remain as independent
organizations in the countries in which they are serving
without having some impact on local institution building. – That’s really fascinating. A lot of institutional
building work ahead of us. – That’s right. – So thank you Amol for coming here today. It’s been a pleasure. And thank you everyone
out there for watching. Stay tuned for more from the LG Digital
Studio at Georgetown SCS.

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