In recent years US universities have been diving into the Chinese higher education field by partnering with Chinese universities to create new joint venture Sino-US universities in China. From my field research interviewing students and professors at the NYU Shanghai and Duke Kunshan University campuses, I drew my main research questions: 1) What is the practical purpose of having JV Sino-US universities from the perspectives of the stakeholders – the home universities, governments, and students involved? 2) When we consider the ideal role and purpose of a university within society, what do these new transnational universities add to the conversation? I informed my research with the literature of international education, Chinese higher education, and critique of the modern Western university. From my research, I found that recruiting international students is a practical and value-laden challenge, and that the finances to support financial aid incentives may be an issue in the future. Concerning academic freedom, JVs have special privileges to operate in China with full freedom, but subtle issues of self-censoring or visas may still cause friction. Overall, these JV schools seem to suffer from the same issues that affect Western higher education in general, but they may be pioneers in re-evaluating liberal arts and discovering better ways to teach a broad range of students from different backgrounds.
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Thesis advisor: Dawson, Alexander
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