Video: Jeffrey S. Lehman on higher education in China

Vice-chancellor of New York University Shanghai on academic freedom and ‘cosmopolitan spirit’

December 14, 2015

At New York University Shanghai, half the students are from China and half are from the rest of the world.

As a result, the institution – jointly established by New York University and East China Normal University of Shanghai in 2012 – faces a number of distinctive challenges.

Is the discussion of issues considered sensitive in China off the agenda? How does such a diverse student community work together in class? How do lecturers tailor their content for such an international student body?

Vice-chancellor Jeffrey S. Lehman sees many advantages to the institution's approach, which includes ensuring that every Chinese student has at least one non-Chinese room-mate.

“In the US right now, most campuses have tremendous diversity,” he says, but “many many students are not taking advantage.”

Instead, they spend their time “cloistered with students similar to themselves”, he continues “which is "terribly unfortunate”.

In this interview with Times Higher Education reporter David Matthews, recorded earlier this month at the THE BRICS and Emerging Economies Summit in Delhi, Professor Lehman discusses how his institution is tackling some of the more challenging aspects of being a university in China.

Watch the interview


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