Northeastern University to Open Campus in Silicon Valley
Posted By Carrie Wiley on April 14, 2015 at 9:33 am
Northeastern University hopes to expand its reputation as a leader in experiential learning into the technology sector. The New England school is planning to take its talents West, opening small campus hubs in close proximity to tech companies in Northern California’s Bay Area. The first will be located in Silicon Valley, at semiconductor firm Integrated Device Technology. In a March 30, 2015, statement, Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun said: “We are looking for vibrant, urban environments where there are activities that are exciting and we can be a part of, add to and also benefit from. We clearly couldn’t ignore Silicon Valley. Who could?”
While Northeastern’s undergraduate programs and research centers will continue to be housed at the flagship campus in Boston, the university has continued to bring its graduate programs to professionals in the regions where employment can be more easily found. Northeastern currently operates freestanding schools in Charlotte, N.C., and Seattle. The school now sees an existing need in the Northern California market, especially among minorities and women, for greater access to graduate programs in science, technology, engineering and math. The Silicon Valley campus will be housed in 8,000 square feet of I.D.T space, thanks to Gregory L. Waters, the CEO of I.D.T. and a graduate of Northeastern. Future potential exists to triple the campus size. Initial offerings will include a master’s program in engineering management and certificates in data science and technology project management. I.D.T. employees, as well as all Bay Area residents, are eligible candidates for enrollment this fall.
Because the hybrid degree and certificate programs rely heavily on practical, experiential components, Northeastern’s Bay Area campus will require far less infrastructure investment than a traditional campus, which would need extensive dormitories, as well as office space. The Silicon Valley hub will deliver a technology-focused portfolio, providing students with the convenience of online learning supplemented by in-person instruction. I.D.T. CEO Waters told Inside Higher Ed that he believes that the company will benefit from the partnership with Northeastern by receiving a “competitive edge,” while giving employees access to a “tremendous educational opportunity.” Waters indicated that his organization might consult Northeastern on the company’s leadership program. There is also the hope that the presence of a major university could result in cooperative research projects.
Northeastern envisions additional branches following the I.D.T.-based hub. “I don’t know if the magic number is three or four, but we could imagine having clusters associated with health, technology in different areas of the San Francisco region,” said Philomena Mantella, senior vice president and chief executive of Northeastern’s Global Network, in an interview with Inside Higher Ed. Up until recently, Northeastern has been focused on expansion within the U.S., as opposed to establishing branches abroad. Northeastern’s president hinted that this might soon change. The university does offer an international business program with study-abroad opportunities, but a branch outside the U.S. would be a first for the school.
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