The University of Iowa

Establishing an Institution of Higher Education in China

February 7th, 2014

This story originally appeared on the UI College of Education website

New York University President John Sexton describes NYU Shanghai as “not for the faint of heart.”

“It is for the student that wants to play another octave on the piano,” he says.

The same could be said for the NYU faculty and staff members who decided to take the leap and travel to China to open the institution.

Jacqueline Klein at work on the NYU Shanghai campus.

UI alumna Jacqueline Klein, who received her Ph.D. from the College of Education in 2007, is one of those bold professionals. She left a job as director of academic advising and learning development at NYU’s College of Nursing in New York to be part of the new endeavor. NYU Shanghai welcomed its first class of 300 students last fall.

Klein is now assistant dean of academic and global affairs. In her new role, she is building and overseeing an academic advising program and supporting students who are in academic jeopardy. She works with NYU students from other campuses who are studying in Shanghai and is implementing student support services such as the Language Partner Program that pairs Chinese students with international students to practice Chinese and English conversational skills.

Approximately half of NYU Shanghai students come from China while the others come from around the world. Most international students are from the United States.

“Working with such a dynamic and interesting population of students has been gratifying,” Klein says. “The students who have chosen to attend NYU Shanghai chose to apply to the program because they were interested in being challenged personally, globally, and intellectually by learning and living with students who come from different backgrounds than their own.”

Klein’s motivations for moving to China were similar.

“My family has been interested in living and working abroad for some time,” she says. “We felt it would be a life-changing, growth experience for us to live and learn about a culture so different from our own.”

Klein says working to build a major startup institution and navigating a new culture is challenging, but gratifying.

“We feel we are gaining so much from our choice to live and work as expats in one of the world’s leading, growing, and ever-changing cities,” she says.