The Trib reports:
The deal, first reported in the Tribune in April, will offer foreign students an undergraduate curriculum similar to the one taught in Evanston. The first 40 students are expected to enroll next fall.
The schools are to be a part of Education City, one of a few major Western-influenced education compounds in hot cities (no pun intended) in the Middle East.
But I've gotta ask: Can Medill handle opening up a sister school in a foreign country when it can't even handle it's own identity at home?
No matter how you feel about the outsourcing of American higher education to the Middle East -- "The Qatari government will pay all start-up and operational costs, including construction of a new building and faculty and administrative salaries," the Trib reports -- the most important question is whether Medill is really ready for this kind of investment.
Oh, and same goes for the students in Doha: "Northwestern will charge students the same tuition they would pay in Evanston—$35,064 this year—and admissions standards will be the same, officials say." -- an enormous sum by any measure, no matter the exchange rate for the dollar.
Do Middle Eastern journalism students deserve a Medill degree? Unequivocally and without a doubt. There are fine journalism prospects in every country, especially so for a nation so close to so many of the world headlines in 2007. But with identity crisis at home, does Medill deserve to beat out Boston University and Missouri for a spot in Education City?
Or more importantly: Does Medill really deserve the fine Middle Eastern journalism prospects its moving to attract?
Maybe. But to me, this is like selling a prototype concept car to the rest of the world before the kinks are worked out for the American public. It's just not right, and I have yet to see proof otherwise that the j-school is putting the cart before the horse.