MSU board gives go-ahead to pursue degree/research programs in Dubai

Contact: Terry Denbow, University Relations, (517) 355-2262,

May 18, 2007

EAST LANSING, Mich. — In an action described by Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon as “transformational for a university with an expanding ‘world-grant’ mission,” the Trustees of MSU today unanimously endorsed development of undergraduate and graduate degree programs and research activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The resolution endorsed the administration’s efforts to develop such programs with terms and conditions “satisfactory to the president.” Simon said that “other U.S. institutions are likely to follow MSU’s path.”

In Dubai, Dr. Ayoub Kazim, executive director of Dubai International Academic City, said, “We are delighted to know of the positive actions taken by the MSU Board of Trustees in moving forward with negotiations to establish MSU degree and research programs in Dubai International Academic City.”

“For a ‘world-grant’ university to have positive engagement and impact in the Middle East, a strong presence in the educational hub of Dubai is important in the years ahead,” Simon said. “The mutual opportunities are many and impressive, not only for MSU but more widely for business and other institutions in Michigan. There are strong indicators that collaborations can have lasting regional impact for education, research, and service.”

MSU Provost Kim Wilcox said final arrangements must fit with MSU academic priorities, standards, and expectations. He said MSU will have full academic authority and quality control over courses and programs, and that MSU’s regular course, program, degree, and admissions requirements will be maintained.

John Hudzik, vice president for global engagement and strategic projects, who has led discussions on campus and in Dubai, said there are strong mutual interests between MSU and Dubai International Academic City, with common interests in a wide array of academic specialties, “from engineering to biomedicine, from business to communications, from the environment to the family – and many more.”

Hudzik said a group of deans and associate deans from five MSU colleges – Eli Broad College of Business, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Social Science – traveled to Dubai this spring to evaluate the possibilities for MSU programs and research. In all cases, he said, they were very positively inclined. He said arrangements must be financially solid with potential for revenue enhancement as a criterion.

“We believe there is minimal potential for financial downside, and substantial potential for the upside,” Hudzik said.

Hudzik added that with the board resolution passed today, “we’re on an accelerated track,” and that over the next few months the administration will develop a “full, formal, and firm” plan.