Accelerated Universities

Ideas and Money Combine to Build Academic Excellence


During the past several decades, several “highly-resourced, accelerated research universities” have been established around the world to pursue—and achieve—academic and research excellence. These institutions are entirely new, not existing universities that were reconfigured. Accelerated Universities provides case studies of eight such universities and highlights the lessons to be learned from these examples. Each of the cases is written by someone involved with leadership at the early developmental stages of each university, and provides insights that only senior executives can illustrate. Accelerated Universities shows that visionary leadership and generous funding combined with innovative ideas can yield impressive results in a short time. Universities aspiring to recognition among the top tier of global institutions will find this book indispensable.

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Philip G. Altbach is research professor and the founding director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College.
Liz Reisberg is an international consultant for Reisberg & Associates, LLC working on projects related to the improvement of higher education.
Jamil Salmi is a research fellow at the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College.
Isak Froumin is head of the Institute of Education at the National Research University Higher School of Economics.
“In the 21st century nations compete intellectually more than ever and heavily invest in the business of ideas. When starting one such program for Russia we studied the experience of startup universities in other countries—both already world-class and those in their nascent stage. This book contains eight such captivating stories of the accelerated buildup of universities, aiming to become drivers of economic diversity and prosperity of their countries.” – Viktor Vekselberg, President, Skolkovo Foundation and global entrepreneur
Accelerated Universities provides a unique perspective on the success of eight young, generously-funded universities. This study offers a significant contribution by providing analysis and insight to understand how these institutions achieved international recognition and respect within a relatively short period of time following their creation. This work confirms that there is space on the international landscape for new world-class universities. Guided by exceptional leadership, money and ideas can lead to exciting innovation.” – Henry Rosovsky, Geyser University Professor and Dean of Arts and Sciences Emeritus, Harvard University

Foreword vii
Preface ix
Acknowledgements xi
Notes on Contributors xii

1 The Art of Starting a New University: Lessons of Experience 1
Jamil Salmi, Philip G. Altbach, Liz Reisberg and Isak Froumin

2 From Technical School to World-Class Polytechnic: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne 14
Gérard Escher

3 Building and Sustaining Academic Excellence: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 33
Tony F. Chan

4 Innovation and the Development of Human Resources in the Gulf: Masdar Institute of Science and Technology 47
Fred Moavenzadeh

5 A World-Class Experiment in Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev University 68
Shigeo Katsu and Aray Saniyazova

6 Olin College of Engineering: Reinventing Engineering Education in the United States 86
Richard K. Miller with Ann-Marie Dorning

7 Building a New Academic Institution: The Singapore University of Technology and Design 103
Thomas L. Magnanti

8 Building Skoltech: A University for Economic Development 128
Edward Crawley

9 The University of Luxembourg: A National Excellence Initiative 152
Franck Leprévost

10 Establishing a World-Class University from Scratch: An Initiator’s Perspective 174
Artemy Morozov and Pavel Shchedrovitskiy
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