Leadership Perspectives: Jeffrey Lehman, Vice Chancellor, NYU Shanghai

NYU Shanghai is China’s first Sino-US research university and the third degree-granting campus of the NYU Global Network. It was founded in 2012 in partnership between New York University and East China Normal University. It consists of 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students, half of whom are international students.

NYU Shanghai is one of the nine universities in China established as Sino-Foreign joint ventures. The 2003 Regulations on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools defined the implementation framework to govern joint programs and institutes in China at three levels–universities (separate legal entities), institutes (within a Chinese university), and programs.

I had a unique opportunity of visiting four joint venture universities and interviewing their leaders in January 2020. I visited Duke Kunshan University, NYU Shanghai, University of Nottingham Ningbo China and Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. Full video interviews are available here.

Given below is the video interview with Professor Jeffrey S. Lehman, Vice Chancellor, NYU Shanghai and an excerpt from it.

On institution building experience:

“We have been able to attract many of the world’s most talented people to move to this startup venture, to leave an established, wonderful institution, or if in the case of students to turn down an opportunity to study at a great institution, to join something that is an experiment.”

On managing joint venture partnership:

“you can say it’s about communication, but I think it’s really about honesty, authenticity and a commitment for each of us to ensure that we’re producing something that will work, that will be sustainable. We listen a lot to each other. We don’t hold back when we disagree. But in the end we really want to make sure that we are on the same page, that we are conveying an accurate and consistent description of what we’re doing to all audiences.”