RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA at the NY Times informs us that Cornell is teaming up with the Israeli university, Technion, on the computer nerd part of the potential university in NY.
What is fascinating is how this looks on paper. Cornell’s press release promises that graduates from the new institution would get a “dual degree” from Technion and Cornell. That sounds kind of fancy, doesn’t it? I’ve bumped into several folks in the academic world with two degrees and some like to sort of lord it over us like they’re twice as smart. The folks who get MDs and PhDs like to imply the same thing.
Naturally, this distinction only occurs on paper. The students at this future university will spend the same four years learning as they would at the regular campus. They’ll take the same number of classes and some of the professors will be “from Technion” and some will be “from Cornell”. I’m guessing some will have “joint appointments” the way that some professors I know think it’s really important to have “joint appointments” in multiple departments at the same campus. In reality, they gain little from this because they usually don’t get votes in both places. It’s just a few extra lines on a piece of paper.
It’s fascinating to game how this will turn out. I’m sure that Cornell is filled with Ivy League snob professors who would love to live in NYC if they could find a way to do it while keeping their Ivy League appointment. I’m sure some folks at Technion would like to visit and maybe live in NY. But in general both places are going to find it hard to fund the campuses in NYC. They’ll be expensive to run and staff.
I am curious to hear what happens to the intellectual property rights. Stanford has been bragging that not many startups have come out of Cornell, effectively pretending that its dropouts are really complements. Technion has been spinning off a number of startups in Israel and Cornell probably sees this as a way to bolster their application. Fine. But Technion is also a “public university”. Who gets the revenue from the patents that come from the DARPA and NSF grants given to Technion/Cornell?
So many questions and notice that very few have to do with the undergraduate experience? Surprised? Not me.