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UA opens new “micro-campus” in Cambodia

Un Yarat / U.S. Embassy Phnom Pe
At a ceremony on September 1, 2016 at the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP), the University of Arizona announced that it will be opening a “micro campus” in Phnom Penh, becoming the first U.S. university to establish a physical presence in Cambodia

The UA made a deal with the American University of Phnom Penh to open a new “micro-campus” in Cambodia last month. The deal is one of the first steps to establish a physical campus in the country.

The UA signed the deal with AUPP on Sept. 1 to uphold an online dual bachelor’s degree program in business and law, according to Brent White, the vice provost of international education and a professor at the James E. Rogers College of Law.

With this online program, students in Cambodia are able to go through the same curriculum as students on the main campus, according to White. The online program in only the first step. White said the next move is to send an application to the Higher Learning Commission in the hopes of establishing a physical campus in Cambodia.

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“We have an agreement with the American University of Phnom Penh that pending HLC approval, we will also have a location there,” White said.

White said the online program is set to launch next fall. As far as tuition goes, White said the cost for Cambodian students will be set at the “market price” for the area. Until the HLC approves the plan for a physical campus, the UA will not send any faculty members to AUPP.

“We have a number of distance locations inside the United States,” White said. “The Office of International Education is working to develop models for global distance locations.”

This is not the first time the UA has partnered with a university in Asia. The UA launched a law program at the Ocean University of China last fall where 174 students enrolled. For White, much of the planning that has gone into the making of the AUPP partnership was modeled after the Ocean University program where the students pay around $8,000 per year.

“The idea is to take a business model [in China] that’s working and do it elsewhere,” White said.

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The collaboration between the College of Law and Eller College of Management is a pairing that has been in the works for quite some time, according to Marc Miller, dean of the College of Law. In the past, the two colleges created a dual J.D./M.B.A., he said.

“While we are both part of this partnership, it’s not a dual initiative in the way that the J.D./M.B.A. is, where we are both delivering content around a single degree,” Miller said. “We found that often, people who are interested in law are also interested in business.”

The content of the law classes the Cambodian students will take are the same as those as the UA undergraduates, according to Miller. While the amount of classes the Cambodian students take will be less than those at the UA, the core classes will also be contingent with the program in Tucson.

“They will be the same courses that are out here,” Miller said. “It’s the undergraduate degree that we have here.”

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