NYU Abu Dhabi to undergo significant expansion in student numbers

The university's capacity will rise from 1,500 to 2,200 in the next few years

The new vice chancellor addresses students during her recent 'walk with Mariet' event where she showed them the sights of Abu Dhabi. courtesy: NYUAD
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NYU Abu Dhabi is to undergo a major expansion, enrolling more than 40 per cent more students over the next five years.

The university's vice chancellor, Mariët Westermann, also said new degrees and subjects will be offered as part of the expansion.

This year, 429 new students joined the university, a record high, bringing overall undergraduate numbers to around 1,500. The university plans to increase this number to 2,200 by 2024.

Dr Westermann became NYUAD’s first ever provost in 2007 and, after returning to the US for more than a decade, has now returned to see the university’s growth through.

"We have to mature now into an enduring institution. I think that's always been the intention, but securing that is really important," the 57-year-old Dutch academic said in an interview with The National.

Since her return to the UAE capital, Dr Westermann has set about reacquainting herself with the city, while also getting to know her new students.

One of her first acts was to organise a meeting with undergraduates, to understand their priorities.

As a direct result, she had embraced sustainability, sticking a pledge to eliminate plastic and paper from her office and order vegetarian catering for breakfast meetings on her door.

“Being with young people who are dedicated to making a better future, a better world, is my motivation for coming back,” she said. “I love being with the faculty, but there is no university without students.”

Dr Westermann plans to connect with each of these students through regular ‘Walk with Mariët' sessions — early morning walks and informal conversations with students on Abu Dhabi Corniche.

“You should never come back to an institution just because you love the institution. You have to love the community, and universities are only as good as how much they interact."