THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

FROM:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier

COMMITTEE:

Higher Education and Professional Practice

TITLE OF ITEM:

Regents Role Concerning Higher Education Institutions Operating Outside the United States

DATE OF SUBMISSION:

January 14, 2005

PROPOSED HANDLING:

Information

RATIONALE FOR ITEM:

Requested by Members of the Committee

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goal 2

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Members of the Committee have requested information on the Regents role in chartering higher education institutions located outside the country.

 

There are three ways that degree-granting institutions receive authority to operate in New York:

 

        SUNY and CUNY were created by acts of the Legislature (Articles 8 and 125 of the Education Law).

 

        Proprietary colleges are authorized by the Regents and operate under the Business Corporation Law (Section 216 of the Education Law).

 

        Independent colleges are chartered by the Board of Regents (Section 216 and 216-a of the Education Law), or by special acts of the Legislature, and operate under the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.

 

Section 210 of the Education Law states:

 

The Regents may register domestic and foreign institutions in terms of New York standards, and fix the value of degrees, diplomas and certificates issued by institutions of other states or countries and presented for entrance to schools, colleges and the professions in this State.

 

          The role of the Board of Regents in higher education has been set forth in Education Law, affirmed by the U.S. Secretary of Education in designating the Board as a nationally recognized accrediting agency, and has been widely recognized throughout the world.  In this regard, the Regents hold a unique position in higher education in this country.  Neither Sections 210 nor 216-a require that an institution chartered by the Board of Regents maintain a campus in New York State.  The Board has chartered institutions in other countries since the 19th Century.  A 1925 opinion of the New York State Attorney General affirmed its authority to do so.  Records indicate that the Regents have issued 16 charters to institutions of higher education in other countries. 

 

Under the Education Law, degree-granting institutions chartered by the Board of Regents to operate outside the U.S. are New York Education Corporations and are members of The University of the State of New York.

 

          Acquisition of a charter from the Board of Regents may facilitate the acceptance of graduates by U.S. institutions or by the Department for professional licensure.  In addition, such recognition may be useful to assist in fund raising in the United States and to demonstrate that the institution has reached a recognized level of excellence through recognition by the New York State Board of Regents.

 

          The six New York higher education institutions chartered by the Board of Regents and offering registered degree programs that operate in foreign countries are well-known and respected institutions. 

 

        American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, was granted an absolute charter in 1863.  It is the premier university in the Middle East and has been for at least half a century.  It has 6,965 students and offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the discipline areas of Agriculture, the Biological Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, the Health Professions, the Humanities, the Physical Sciences, and the Social Sciences.  In 2004, the University was accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools for a period ending in 2014.  A member of the Department staff participated in the visit by teleconference.

 

        Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel, received an absolute charter in 1966.  It is one of only eight university-level institutions of higher education in Israel.  It has approximately 700 faculty and serves about 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students in programs in the discipline areas of the Biological Sciences, Education, the Fine Arts, the Humanities, the Physical Sciences, and the Social Sciences.  The language of instruction is Hebrew.  Bar-Ilan has cooperative agreements with CUNY, SUNY, the University of Pennsylvania, Concordia University (Canada), and the Sorbonne.

 

 

 

        The Center for Economics Research and Graduate Education-Economics Institute (CERGE-EI), Prague, Czech Republic, received a provisional charter in 2000.  It is unique as the only New York Education Corporation regarded as a public institution by the country in which it operates (the Czech Republic); it is fully funded by Charles University and the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic.  CERGE-EI offers M.A. and Ph.D. programs in economics.  The language of instruction is English.  CERGE-EI has submitted a petition for an absolute charter.  A peer review team is scheduled to make a site visit to the institution this spring.  No Department staff will participate in the visit; however, the team will include faculty members and administrators from Brandeis University, Duke University, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and The University of Chicago.  Staff will brief the team before the visit and will receive and review its written report of its findings and recommendations after the visit before making a recommendation to the Regents regarding CERGE-EIís charter.

 

        The Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, was granted an absolute charter in 1996.  It is recognized across the European continent for the quality of its graduate programs (it does not enroll undergraduates) and works with several other prestigious universities, including Purdue, Oxford, and Tilberg (Netherlands).  It has 949 students and offers graduate programs in the discipline areas of the Biological Sciences, Business, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences.  The language of instruction is English.  Central European University was founded at the instigation of George Soros. Mr. Soros serves as the chairman of its board of trustees and the Soros Foundation has endowed the institution generously.  In 2004, the University received accreditation by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools for a period ending in 2014.  No member of the Department staff participated in the site visit; however, the team was chaired by the president of the University of Pennsylvania and included faculty and administrators from John Hopkins University, the University of Rochester, Yale University, and Yeshiva University. 

 

        Lebanese American University (LAU), Beirut, Lebanon, received an absolute charter in 1955.  It is one of six university-level institutions in Lebanon.  It serves about 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students at campuses in Beirut, Byblos, and Sidon, Lebanon.  It offers programs in the disciplinary areas of the Biological Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, the Fine Arts, the Health Professions, the Humanities, the Physical Sciences, and the Social Sciences.  The language of instruction is English.  LAU is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in the USA.

 

        The Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel, received an absolute charter in 1977.  It offers an M.D. program in medicine.  It is the only medical school in the world outside the United States offering a program that qualifies graduates for New York licensure as a physician.  The language of instruction is English.  Sackler is affiliated with Tel Aviv University.

 

There is no substantive difference between the Departmentís oversight of higher education institutions located outside the United States and those located in New York State.  Department staff are involved with our overseas institutions chartered by the Regents in a number of ways:

 

        When the institution applies for its provisional charter, SED coordinates a team of expert peer reviewers to determine the institutionís readiness for degree-granting status.  We have been fortunate to attract the finest scholars from the nationís most prestigious institutions to conduct these reviews.  All costs associated with the visit are borne by the institution.

 

        SED reviews all programs requested for registration and major curricula changes, as it does for in-State institutions.

 

        When an institution applies for its absolute charter, SED coordinates a team of expert peer reviewers to determine the institutionís readiness for an absolute charter. All costs associated with the visit are borne by the institution. 

 

        SED may conduct site visits to the institution if the need arises, but the practice has been not to conduct additional on-site visits once the absolute charter is granted.

 

The Department has received no applications in recent years to charter new higher education institutions to operate overseas.  However, if the Regents decide that they will not entertain such applications, staff believe that the Board should adopt an amendment to the Rules of the Board of Regents to that effect.