University of the People
|Latin: Universitas Populi|
|Motto||Tuition-Free Online University|
|Endowment||US$1.3 million (2013)|
|Location||Pasadena, California, United States|
University of the People (UoPeople) is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit online institution of higher education headquartered in Pasadena, California, United States. Founded by Shai Reshef in 2009, it is the only OER (open educational resources) university in the world. The school is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. It is also approved by California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).
- 1 History
- 2 Organization and administration
- 3 Academic programs
- 4 Tuition
- 5 Partnerships
- 6 Awards and recognition
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef launched University of the People in January 2009. Its first cohorts started studying in September 2009, when 177 students from 49 countries across the globe comprised the inaugural class of the University.
In June 2011, University of the People established collaboration with New York University (NYU) to identify UoPeople students who are eligible for admission to one of the most selective institutions in the world - NYU Abu Dhabi.
In June 2011 University of the People established a partnership with Hewlett-Packard (HP). Through the partnership, HP committed to the sponsorship and mentorship of women students worldwide, established Virtual Research Internships, created access to HP Life E-Learning, provided computers for the learning center in Haiti and gave general support to help UoPeople achieve accreditation.
Organization and administration
The university is led by a board of trustees and its council of presidents.
UoPeople has gained widespread support of leading academics with its President’s Council. The Council is chaired by New York University President John Sexton and includes UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, Director of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Professor Devang Khakhar, Oxford Vice-Chancellor Sir Colin Lucas, President Emeritus of RISD Roger Mandle, President Emeritus at Barnard College Judith R. Shapiro and President Emeritus of The George Washington University Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.
UoPeople's Board of Trustees is chaired by Goldfarb Seligman & Co. lawyer Adv. Ashok J.Chandrasekhar. Trustee members include Utah Supreme Court Hon. Justice Christine M. Durham, Professor of Law at Hofstra University School of Law Daniel J. H. Greenwood, former Chairman of Fulbright Scholarship Board Tom Healy, Professor of Finance and former Dean of INSEAD Dr. Gabriel Hawawini and UoPeople President and founder Shai Reshef
The university's structure is based on a pool of more than 3000 volunteers, some of whom fill various positions at every rank of the University. These volunteers are supported by a small paid staff.
University of the People uses instructor support combined with learning by teaching and peer-to-peer learning. The university uses online discussion forums and online communities in order for students to cover readings, share resources, exchange ideas and discuss assigned questions. Scholars, professors, librarians, master level students and other professionals—many of them volunteers—oversee and participate in both the assessment process and the development of curricula.
UoPeople students also have access to the UoPeople Library & Resource Center (ULRC), a virtual environment delivered through the university course site. The Center's collections are primarily proprietary academic resources but also include open educational resources.
University of the People offers the following seven degrees:
- Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) in Business Administration
- Associate of Science Degree (A.S.) in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) in Computer Science
- Associate of Science Degree (A.S.) in Computer Science
- Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) in Health Studies
- Associate of Science Degree (A.S.) in Health Studies
- Master in Business Administration (MBA)
UoPeople is in the process of developing a health sciences programme.
There are only three requirements to be admitted into the university: a high-school diploma, English proficiency, and Internet access. After completing some basic liberal-arts curriculum, students can dive into their specialty. Each course, which has been designed by an advisory board of academics and practitioners, consists of individual homework assignments and active online discussion. Class size is usually between 20-30 students from all over the world.
Students pay a registration fee of $60. University of the People requires a tuition to be paid in the form of a $100 administration fee for each exam a student takes. To complete an associate degree (A.S.), a student must take 20 exams and 40 exams for a bachelor's degree and graduate's degree, which costs a total of $2,000 and $4,000 respectively. For MBA, a student has to pay $200 exam fee per course, which stands in total $2400. Students who cannot afford to pay can apply for scholarships.
Yale Law School Information Society Project
University of the People and Yale Law School ISP (Information Society Project) announced a digital education research partnership in 2009. Jack Balkin, Yale ISP Director and Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School, serves on the Arts and Science Advisory Board of University of the People.
New York University
In June 2011, New York University (NYU) announced a collaborative agreement with University of the People to identify those UoPeople students eligible for admission to New York University's Abu Dhabi campus. Recognizing that many of UoPeople's students are economically disadvantaged youth, eligible students who qualify for admittance to NYU Abu Dhabi, as well as qualify for financial aid, may receive generous financial aid to enable them to afford attendance at NYU Abu Dhabi. John Sexton is the chairman of the University's council of Presidents, and all three UoPeople deans hail from NYU.
Through the Microsoft4Afrika scholarship program, Microsoft has pledged to sponsor African students to study at UoPeople. Scholarship recipients will further enhance their skills and experience through participation in additional support programs, including professional training from Microsoft, mentorship by Microsoft employees, internships, and job opportunities with Microsoft and their affiliates in Africa. The university plans to replicate this partnership with further corporations in the future.
Hewlett Packard (HP)
University of the People and Hewlett Packard (HP) announced a partnership in June 2011 to open up virtual research internships for UoPeople students as part of HP's Catalyst Initiative—a global network of consortia that brings together educational institutions and nongovernmental organizations.
Additionally, Hewlett-Packard was the first corporate sponsor of the University of the People Women Scholarship Fund, with a donation of $200,000 to sponsor 100 women towards the attainment of their associate degrees. HP also gave the University a 200,000 general donation, and donated computers to the University's learning center in Haiti.
United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development
Working under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, GAID was approved by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006 in recognition that ICT must be effectively integrated into development activities if internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, are to be achieved within the agreed time frame. On May 19, 2009, UN-GAID announced the launch of University of the People at a press conference in New York to reporters, and its President, Shai Reshef, was named as a high profile advisor to UN GAID.
Clinton Global Initiative
Clinton Global Initiative Advances University of the People Pledge to Democratize Higher Education in Haiti. In August 2010, UoPeople was invited to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), and announced its commitment to Haiti, in which UoPeople committed to accepting 250 qualified Haitian youth to study at the University for free, helping them access education and develop the skills needed to rebuild their country. The commitment was fulfilled in May 2014.
OpenCourseWare is a free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses. The OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) is a collaboration of more than 200 higher education institutions and associated organizations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model. As a member of OCWC, UoPeople strengthens its commitment to advancing the current education system via the Internet.
University of the People moved its IT development to Ramallah via a technology partnership with Asal Technologies, as announced on March 7, 2012. One of the primary drivers behind this move is that the University states it is determined to not only provide educational opportunity, but also job opportunities to regions in need of them. Palestine is one such region. Since opening the center, part of the university's student services and financial support services have relocated to Ramallah as well. University of the People also announced it is currently considering moving a large part of its back office operations to Ramallah, in order to provide additional jobs.
The Saylor Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to make higher education free and accessible to all through the internet. On April 10, 2012, they announced a partnership with UoPeople to adapt their Business Law course for use by UoPeople's students.
Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. In recognition of his revolutionary venture, UoPeople President Shai Reshef was elected an Ashoka Fellow in December 2009. The program lends Reshef professional support, including access to a global network of two thousand peers throughout the world.
Awards and recognition
In 2013, the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) Association and MasterCard Worldwide announced that University of People (UoPeople) was the winner of the 2013 ISIC Award for its "innovative approach to education access." In 2015, University of the People's President Shai Reshef was named Salt Magazine's "#8 Most Compassionate Businessman in the World."
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- Open Education Consortium Members
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