In an interview with the Cornell Daily Sun, Provost Ken Fuchs revealed plans to make the tech campus on Roosevelt Island, a 50-50 partnership between Cornell University and Israel’s Technion, even more of a “global institute.”
Over the next six months, he said, Cornell plans to start a search to find “at least one university from Europe and as many as two from Asia” to boost the applied sciences program’s prestige abroad.
“It’s a whole new model,” Fuchs said, adding that the campus will make Cornell the first American university to build a school in the United States with international schools. “We think about going elsewhere — there are many [American] universities that have campuses and partnerships overseas — but not about bringing [international universities] here to the U.S.”
The working motto seems to be “a rising tide lifts all boats,” something Cornell president David Skorton said at the press conference announcing Cornell-Technion as the winner of the fierce competition to build on city-owned land.
“If we have more partners in this innovation institute, it raises the reputation, the ranking, the visibility, the prestige of Cornell in the home countries of those universities, just as it would raise their own prestige,” Fuchs said. “If we had a university from Asia, they’re going to have visibility — that’s why they’d be eager to do it.”
Although the move may be aimed at ensuring a competitive applicant pool, Mr. Fuchs emphasized it was not designed to help Cornell shoulder than $2 billion price tag for the 30-year project. He did admit, however, that other schools will “certainly bring resources indirectly.” Considering that the city is only chipping in $100 million, every little bit helps.
According to Mr. Fuchs, this cosmopolitan twist has been part of the plan all along, despite the fact that this wasn’t discussed during the heated battle between Cornell and Stanford:
“If I remember correctly, in the agreement with the Technion we talk about creating a global innovation institute and inviting other members,” Fuchs said. “When anyone asks us about this, we certainly tell them.”
Ah, we see. It’s just that no one bothered to ask the right questions. Makes you wonder, what else should we be asking Cornell . . .