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The University Magazine

RIT will operate new program in Dubai

Campus will open this year in the heart of a multi-billion dollar complex in United Arab Emirates

University Magazine - Spring 2008 Image
RIT Dubai will open this year in the Dubai Silicon Oasis headquarters, pictured here.

RIT is planting roots in the Middle East through a partnership with Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A new campus being built by Dubai is scheduled to open this fall. RIT will provide academic content, leadership and management of the university.

“Dubai is the perfect fit for RIT, given the university’s strategic plan to enhance global opportunities for our students,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “This will also strengthen RIT’s relationships and reputation with multi-national companies by being close to them wherever they are in the world and by providing those companies with a capable workforce already exposed to living, learning and working in a multi-cultural environment.”

Dubai, one of the seven Emirates and a major port on the Persian Gulf, has been  dubbed “Sudden City” by the media. The city is rapidly transforming into an international hub of commerce. Dubai leaders are also focusing on strengthening higher education in the region.

RIT Dubai will be a part of Dubai Silicon Oasis, a 4.5-square-mile complex that will include a high-tech park, housing, retail, banks and more. Dubai officials call the area the “world’s premier high-technology park for microelectronics and semiconductor research, development and production.”

University Magazine - Spring 2008 Image

RIT Dubai will be in the heart of the multi-billion dollar complex created by the Dubai government. Dubai will cover the cost of building a full-fledged campus, including academic center, living quarters and recreational facilities.

The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum, has established a $10 billion foundation to support human development in the Arab world. A major focus of this foundation is to provide scholarships to enhance higher education in the region. A magnet high school for science and technology is also expected to open in the Dubai Silicon Oasis next year.

RIT’s initial offerings will focus on part-time graduate students in fields such as electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, finance and service management. By 2009, graduate offerings will extend to full-time graduate students and include applied networking, telecommunications, facility management, and manufacturing management and leadership. In 2010, RIT Dubai will begin offering undergraduate programs to full-time students. Over the next decade, enrollment is expected to reach 4,000.

The partnership will create unique study and co-op opportunities for RIT students as well as significant opportunities for faculty exchange. RIT Dubai will also strengthen RIT’s relationship and reputation with multi-national corporations, which have established a strong presence in the Emirates and in Dubai.

According to Jim Miller, senior vice president, Enrollment Management and Career Services, “Dubai adds an important on-the-ground presence that complements our campuses in Croatia and Kosovo, as well as our programs in the Dominican Republic. These international initiatives build on more than 60 existing partnerships and agreements RIT has established with foreign universities, international organizations and governments agencies spanning five continents.”

Miller adds, “Currently, RIT enrolls approximately 1,500 foreign students representing 95 countries in undergraduate and graduate programs in Rochester. Over 900 additional international students are pursuing RIT degrees at existing international locations.”

University Magazine - Spring 2008 Image
Mustafa Abushagur

RIT leaders credit Professor Mustafa Abushagur, director of microsystems engineering, with leading the dialogue with Dubai leaders over the last two years. Dubai officials approached Abushagur after he delivered a lecture at a conference in Dubai. Dubai is developing a microelectronics industry, an area of expertise for RIT. Dubai officials visited RIT in February 2006 and Abushagur and other RIT representatives subsequently visited Dubai seven or eight times before an agreement was reached.

“This is a great opportunity for RIT to become a major provider of high quality educational programs in the global market,” explains Abushagur. “Dubai is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, with an ambition to become the center of education in the region. RIT Dubai will provide our students with an opportunity to experience being in an international setting among students from all over the world.”

Bob Finnerty ’07