Global Network University

analyzes academic issues regarding portal campuses and the implementation of the Global Network University initiative

Co-Chairs: Awam Amkpa & Arvind Rajagopal (fall)
Members: Mark Alter, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Jeff Goodwin, Katherine Hurbis-Cherrier (spring), Martin Klimke, Nancy Van Devanter, Daniel Zwanziger

N/C-FSC Representatives: Amy Becker, Mary Killilea, Vincent Renzi

Agenda Items

  • GNU Finances
  • Monitoring critical issues
  • Study away sites and partnership with home department/school
  • Role of Global Liberal Studies
  • Read more on Faculty in the Global Network


The FSC-GNU Committee (now jointly convened with the C-FSC) has over the last year met to deliberate on the role of faculty in various aspects of the GNU and the global network’s goals of enhancing the capacity and quality of knowledge production and dissemination within NYU. The committee has also focused on the development and management of coherent curricula structures that buttress faculty governance. As indicated in our preliminary report to the FSC on December 11th 2014, our committee has established two important relationships—one with the appointed advisory committee on the GNU, and the other with faculty governance structures at NYUAD and NYUSH. These consultative relationships continue to foster better communication and offer broad means for pursuing a coherent campaign of faculty advocacy.

The idea of the Global Network University takes NYU into an uncharted territory within which we have confronted, or contended with differences in the worlds of scholarship, teaching and research, and will continue to do so. While we fully recognize the GNU’s promise for promoting our university’s academic mission, a key faculty concern and matter of vigilance centers upon the question of academic freedom: how is such freedom advanced, rather than hampered by the university’s broader spheres of operation? Faculty are committed to freedom of inquiry and expression as well as to shared governance in our institution across the multiple locations where its vision of excellence and exchange in the realms of knowledge production and dissemination has unfolded. Our innovations and institutional enhancements should, in our committee’s opinion, remain true to these principles.

In this report we will highlight some observations, make some recommendations and propose a motion we hope the FSC will further develop.


  • We observe and commend the detailed work and recommendations by the GNU Advisory Committee.
  • The issue of connectivity and its translation into the academic culture of the GNU continue to challenge our institution. We support the assertion by the Provost that:

“The processes that govern searching, hiring, reviewing, and tenuring faculty at the portal campuses embody University – wide “core and essence” principles that ensure appropriate input by the leadership of NYU, the leadership in NYU Abu Dhabi, and the leadership in NYU Shanghai. These principles, which must be reflected in school-level processes, focus on points of “both/and” decision-making, that is, points at which both an approval by the portal campus and New York are required.”

We continue to hope the connectivity promised by the GNU also warrants ensuring the basic rights and responsibilities of faculty at the Portal and academic sites to further enhance this important goal. Collaborations and interactions among the sites guarantee our academic standards as well as enhance each section of the university.

A more overtly developed and strategically integrated university with distinctive and connected portals and academic sites will go a long way in stemming ‘silo’ mentalities across the university. Such mentalities, if allowed to proceed unchecked, will have a direct impact on shared governance and create obstacles to the movement of faculty, student and ideas across portal sites.

  • Our committee recently received a recommendation for deliberating on the idea of a ‘GNU faculty’ designation from the GNU Advisory Committee. We support the idea, raised questions on governance issues, and have recommendations on the topic. We have reservations about the limited scope of the proposed designation, and have developed a set of recommendations to complement the concept. We will state these shortly.
  • Fair Labor Conditions
    While we observe the complex and unusual contexts within which NYU has to function in different parts of the world, we continue to be concerned that fair labor conditions are not fully met in all places in which NYU has operations. The recently released Nardello report on the labor conditions during the construction of the Saadiyat campus of NYUAD, while highlighting clear and groundbreaking achievements for 65-70% of the workforce in terms of labor practices and benefits, also illustrated several troubling shortcomings with regard to an unduly complex compliance regime that led to the de facto exemption of a third of workers from the compliance regime, miscommunication and lack of clarity among the key parties, as well as failures to deliver on promises in the area of recruitment fees and passport retention policies.
    The committee welcomes the NYU’s institutional response and the plan to compensate workers that were either exempt or not covered by the labor standards and strongly supports a timely implementation of Nardello’s recommendation.

The committee also applauds the comprehensive and multi-faceted efforts by NYUAD faculty, staff and students that have, in cooperation with its administration, led to the creation of a robust labor committee and compliance infrastructure over the past year to build a truly inclusive community after the move to the new campus and the end of the construction phase.
The committee will continue to deepen the dialogue with the various faculty labor committees both in NYUAD and NYUSH and we would recommend the establishment of a similar committee in NYUNY. In addition to these local bodies, we would also propose a more integrated university-wide forum whose mandate goes beyond advisory roles and which would help predict, trouble shoot and forestall the variety of challenges across all of NYU’s portals and sites.

The GNU Representative from NYUAD will give a brief report on how the faculty is responding to the subject of labor conditions as well as share a summary response to the recent Nardello Investigative Report.

We refer you to NYUSH website information on the same remit and processes being put in place about labor issues. ( )


We observe NYU’s construction projects will be long term and call for ‘labor’ to be a well supported object of scholarly inquiry across the GNU.

The Sites committees

  • Course Approval and Hiring Processes for the Academic Sites
    We applaud the impressive procedures for engaging departments and schools in the Square with the academic sites. We however note fundamental shortfalls in the procedures outlined.
    Firstly, the procedures are somewhat ahistorical and they do not sufficiently articulate the genealogies of each site and their possible relationships with current iterations of global education even when suggesting better strategies for ensuring wider departmental participation. NYU Paris and NYU Madrid are cases in point. Departmental and programmatic oversights are indeed most important but they should engage more firmly with the histories and residual developments of the sites.
    The provision of greater opportunities for the circulation of students among New York, NYUAD and NYUSH in the sites has not been fully addressed within the ‘connectivity principle’ of the GNU.
  • Our committee sought information on labor laws relevant to faculty hiring at the academic sites so that we can develop a common understanding of the basic rights of such faculty consistent with NYU's traditions and make appropriate recommendations to the FSC’s Governance committee.


The FSC-GNU committee recommends the following:

  • A revision of the Faculty Handbook to recognize NYUAD and NYUSH as well as the academic sites as parts of NYU, and to accord them the same rights and responsibilities under a common Faculty Handbook.
  • We affirm the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the GNU that a new faculty designation called ‘Global Network Faculty’ be developed. Our position, however varies from that of the advisory committee in that we propose that such a designation be awarded as an added value to the status of faculty hired at Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and New York.
    The designation should reflect the recipient’s scholarship and teaching profile, and serve to connect portals to each other as well as sites, thereby illustrating the circulation of people and ideas, and promoting collaborative curriculum development across the university.
    We strongly recommend that the designation ‘GNU Faculty’ be granted post-tenure in cases of tenure track faculty. In cases of long-term contract faculty, it should indicate recognition of such faculty during re-appointment. The conferment of the status should be collaborative between schools, portals and approved by Deans and Provosts. If deemed necessary, rankings through Associate to Full GNU Professorship should be considered to reflect a broad spectrum of faculty.

    The review process and grievance procedures for GNU Faculty/ Professorships should be similar to that of other faculty positions.

    We recommend that GNU Faculty/ Professors should have voting rights and governance responsibilities in the units they serve. They should, like other faculty, play roles in the academic lives of their collaborative units.

    A critical mass of such faculty (GNU Faculty) will constitute a core group that would continue to endow and sustain the principles of connectivity, collaboration and exchanges across the university.

    The GNU Faculty/Professorship should be distinguishable from the already recommended ‘Joint Faculty Hires’ between portals.

    The GNU Faculty/Professorship should not replace the principle of collaborations between departments and schools in hiring, retaining and developing faculty within the GNU. Rather, it should enhance a broad spectrum of collaborations among NY, AD and SH.

    The Faculty Handbook should include the status of GNU Faculty/Professorships under a category describing the GNU and its faculty governance structures and review processes.

  • Our committee deliberated on the need for a Vice Provost for GNU Academics as an extension of the Advisory Committee’s recommendation for a ‘GNU Dean’. Such a person should work with a faculty advisory committee. We believe GNU curriculum, faculty movements, hiring and review processes and grievance procedures should be the focus of such a position.
  • We strongly recommend a review of GNU administrative personnel with clear designations and mandates that reflect an organic university administration.
  • We recommend a significant information hub that includes information on processes and procedures for faculty research, travel and collaborations across the GNU.
  • Academic Freedom: The FSC-GNU committees have consulted with all elected representatives at NYUAD (FCSC as well as Senators) who have collectively confirmed that until now there has been no infringement of their academic freedom as they discharge their duties and continue to engage in diverse forms of research. We hope this continues and hold strongly to the assertion of the president and provost that NYU is fully committed to the principles of academic freedom foundational to our educational mission.
  • We join the Advisory Committee on the GNU is recommending an “Inter-Portal Faculty Forum” to provide a context for sharing information and developing strategies for faculty governance between the Portals.

The recent Nardello investigative report should be an opportunity for a commitment to radically overhaul the GNU vision and to forestall the emergence of a fragmented university.

We conclude our statement by re-stating the importance of the recent FSC resolution on academic freedom and freedom of movement within NYU.