UA Launches Visionary Global Network
"Micro-campuses" address global demand for higher education, opening doors for students unable to study in the United States while providing academic and engagement destinations for stateside UA students.

By David Miller, UA Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
May 23, 2017


The 11 new partnerships join the UA's two existing micro-campuses, which are UA Qingdao at Ocean University of China and UA Phnom Penh at the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia .
The 11 new partnerships join the UA's two existing micro-campuses, which are UA Qingdao at Ocean University of China and UA Phnom Penh at the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia . (above)

With 11 new partners, the University of Arizona is introducing "micro-campuses" abroad, in a new model to provide international student with access to UA degrees in their home countries.

The addition of the new international university partners brings the total of UA micro-campuses to 13 in 10 countries.

With the announcement, the UA has publicly launched a Global Micro-Campus Network, which will be capable of educating more than 25,000 international students abroad — and is projected to grow to more than 25 University partnerships within three years.

"The University of Arizona is re-envisioning what it means to be an international university in a digital age," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "This unique model creates access to the world-class UA educational experience and will have positive impact for faculty and students at our main campus and at campuses around the world."

Unlike international branch campuses, which typically require significant investment in costly new infrastructure abroad, micro-campuses are mutually beneficial partnerships with local universities.

"Together, the University of Arizona and its international partners are answering the call for globally accessible degree programs, creating one of the world's most affordable, accessible and expansive networks for collaborative higher education," said Brent White, the UA's vice provost of International Education.

With a micro-campus, the partner university allows use of its physical campus and classrooms, and provides a designated space for the UA, which alleviates the need for new infrastructure and allows the UA to focus instead on delivering high-quality education in collaboration with the partner university.

"The micro-campus model cracks the code. It infuses novel partnerships, cutting-edge content delivery and access on a grand scale by combining our highly regarded technology platform with location-based instruction," said Melissa Vito, UA senior vice president for Student Affairs, Enrollment Management and Strategic Initiatives.

Because micro-campuses are financially self-sustaining, they also promote long-term internationalization, providing a platform and physical location for faculty training, service-learning, internships, and other forms of engaged learning.

The micro-campus network opens educational and engagement possibilities for domestic UA students by allowing them to travel and study between Tucson and micro-campus locations — while remaining in their UA degree programs.

Beyond fostering international education, micro-campuses also can act as hubs for joint faculty research and grant proposals.

"One of the greatest strengths of the model is that it encourages multi-country collaborations," said Randy Burd, associate vice president for Global Research Alliances. "Instead of numerous one-to-one partnerships, the micro-campus network connects a web of partners. The effect is therefore collaboration instead of competition, and the creation of potential connections and projects between partners."

The new micro-campuses and their partner universities represent a prestigious group spanning the globe throughout Asia, the Middle East and North America. They are:

  • UA Amman at Princess Sumaya University of Technology, Jordan
  • UA Bandung at Telkom University, Indonesia
  • UA Beirut at Lebanese International University, Lebanon
  • UA Hanoi at Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • UA Hualien City at Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
  • UA Manila at De La Salle University, Philippines
  • UA Puebla at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico
  • UA Shanghai at Shanghai University of Politics and Law, China
  • UA Sharjah at the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  • UA Shenzhen at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China
  • UA Taipei at Soochow University, Taiwan

These universities join the UA's two existing micro-campuses: UA Qingdao at Ocean University of China and UA Phnom Penh at the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

"As one of the world’s leading research institutions, the UA will embed research of micro-campuses themselves directly into the model," said Andrew Comrie, the UA's provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. "The data we gather will go into quality control and to ensuring positive student outcomes, faculty collaboration and meaningful community impact."

The UA currently offers degrees in business administration, civil engineering and law at its two existing micro-campuses. The UA anticipates that future degree programs at new UA micro-campuses will include degrees in the health sciences, social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, engineering and education, subject to approval by the Higher Learning Commission and local regulatory bodies.

Upon HLC approval, the UA will begin offering programs at the 11 new partner universities in the fall and spring semesters of 2018.

Extra info

Read more about the UA's micro-campuses in Inside Higher Ed and The Evolllution.

The UA Office of Global Initiatives is hosting the third annual UA Global Partner Day event on May 26,  preceding the NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference in Los Angeles. The event will be held from 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to Global Partner Day in Tucson, the University also will be hosting UA in LA during the NAFSA conference in Los Angeles.

Global Partner Day events include:

  • A welcome address by UA Provost Andrew Comrie and Suzanne Panferov, interim vice president of the Office of Global Initiatives.
  • A keynote address presented by Remy Arteaga, director of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, on "Global Entrepreneurship Education."
  • A lunch presentation on UA Global Micro-Campus Network by Brent White, the UA's vice provost of International Education.
  • Tours of the UA's main campus, to include the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.

The full agenda is available online. For more information, visit


Resources for the media

David Miller

UA Student Affairs and Enrollment Management