Higher Ed Without Borders Interviews Dr. Mariët Westermann, Vice Chancellor of New York University, Abu Dhabi

Dr. Mariët Westermann, Vice-Chancellor of New York University, Abu Dhabi located in the United Arab Emirates
Dr. Mariët Westermann is Vice-Chancellor of New York University, Abu Dhabi located in the United Arab Emirates where she oversees all its academic and administrative affairs. Prior to this, she was the Executive Vice President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation where she worked for about a decade – and launched initiatives to promote the value of the humanities and the liberal arts, strengthen community colleges, encourage graduate education reform, renew preservation of cultural heritage around the world, and support scholars and artists at risk.

Prior to the Foundation she was on the faculty at NYU, first as director of the Institute of Fine Arts and then as the first provost of NYU Abu Dhabi. Before joining NYU, she served at the Clark Art Institute & taught art history at Rutgers University.

The interview includes the following questions:
  • As someone who has been involved in the planning, and implementation of NYU Abu Dhabi from its formative months and years and reflecting back now on how far NYUAD has come, what do you see as the essential ingredients of this tremendous success story? Particularly, the vision of the leaders on both sides of this collaboration.
  • New York and Abu Dhabi are quite different and in some other ways (diverse nationalities, for example) they are similar.  How does NYUAD respond to these differences and similarities - in terms of program offerings, design and delivery, and the recruitment of students and faculty?
  • International, cross-cultural, cross-boundary collaboration is never easy. Are the outcomes worth the investment of such painstaking efforts? What do you envision as NYUAD's contributions to the development of Abu Dhabi and the region over the next decades?
  • Your academic background comes from the world of liberal arts education. Your MA and Ph.D. in the History of Art at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. You received a number of fellowships and grants including the American Philosophical Society and the National Endowment for the Humanities. How do you see the concept of liberal arts style of education fit into higher education be it in the UAE, USA, or any other country?
  • Many of our listeners are higher education leaders from around the world. Could you share with them some of the leadership lessons of NYU's international campuses that may be of relevance to them?
  • Also, you had a lead role in the early days of establishing NYUAD - and then returned back after a decade to lead the well-developed institution and the campus once again. This is a rather unique privilege and experience for any university president. As a leader and as an individual, what does this journey mean to you personally?
  • Dr. Westermann for 7-8 years you served as executive vice president of the Mellon Foundation (a multi-billion-dollar US-based foundation. I believe it's fair to say you were a leading advocate in Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities as they relate to liberal arts education. As you have now returned to NYU Abu Dhabi as Vice-Chancellor, what lessons did you learn from your work at Mellon that you use in your work today? 
Comments and Suggestions:

Higher Ed Without Borders would love to hear your ideas for future topics and guests. Connect with Dr. Senthil Nathan or Dean Hoke on LinkedIn. You can also visit the Edu Alliance website. To hear the entire series please subscribe to Higher Ed Without Borders on your preferred podcast platforms such as Apple, Spotify, or Google. The podcast is sponsored by Edu Alliance, an education consulting firm located in Bloomington Indiana, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. We assist higher education institutions worldwide on a variety of
mission-critical projects. Production support was provided by White Rabbit Printing and Design. 

If your organization wants to know more about how Edu Alliance can best serve you, please contact either Dean Hoke or Dr.Senthil Nathan. 
Higher Ed Without Borders Interviews Dr. Mariët Westermann, Vice Chancellor of New York University, Abu Dhabi
Broadcast by