This idea for this book emerged from several conversations between Philip Altbach, Isak Froumin, and Jamil Salmi about the phenomenon of new “accelerated universities” that had catapulted from concept to international prominence in a remarkably short time. The achievements of these projects seemed to merit study and analysis. The idea found support at the Skolkovo Foundation in Moscow, as the foundation had helped to create one of these institutions by providing funding and guidance to the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. With support from the Foundation and, especially, its former managers for education, Pavel Shchedrovitskiy and Artemy Morozov, we were able to plan the conference and develop this manuscript. Ultimately, this project was made possible with financial support from the president of the Skolkovo Foundation, Viktor Vekselberg, to whom we are grateful for his contribution and enthusiasm.
There are perhaps a dozen accelerated universities in the world today founded within the last two decades. We invited the presidents of nine of these universities to join us at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to share experiences and lessons learned. Richard Lester, the associate provost for international initiatives at MIT, kindly offered MIT facilities for our conference. Additional logistical support was provided by MIT staff and by the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. Liz Reisberg of Reisberg & Associates, LLC organized the conference and assumed responsibility for the editing of this book. We also appreciate the careful proofreading of Lisa Unangst.
We are, of course, especially grateful to the presidents who took the time to participate in our conversations in Cambridge, and contribute to this volume; they are among the most innovative and engaged higher education professionals in the world. We appreciate their participation in this enterprise.