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The U.S. is leading the way in the establishment of international campuses that are extensions of American universities.

A study done by The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education found that the U.S. has 78 international campuses, more than any other country.

In the UNC system, N.C. State University has already established one international campus and is contemplating another.

But UNC-Chapel Hill officials said they are taking a different tactic. Instead, they are actively networking with major universities in Asia and Europe to establish joint programs.

NCSU is the only university in the UNC system with international satellite campuses. It has a design school in Prague and is considering building an entire campus in South Korea.

Prague was chosen because it has historic landmarks that make it one of the best places in the world to study architecture and design, said Mick Kulikowski, NCSU assistant director for news.

And if the project in South Korea, paid for by the South Korean government, is approved, a facility will be built in Songdo region, near Seoul.

The NCSU Board of Trustees will make the final approval decision in February 2010.

In the early 2000s, UNC-CH considered opening a satellite campus in Qatar as a women’s university.

However, University officials changed their minds, said Peter Coclanis, associate provost for international affairs at UNC-CH.

The University officials decided that they preferred to work with foreign universities and complement each other to enhance progress in research, Coclanis said.

“Building a satellite campus would not be a wise use of the scarce resources we have,” Coclanis said.

He said working with other major universities is a better strategy because they are not duplicating what they already have in Chapel Hill on a different piece of land.

“Those are mainly private schools that do it, but we are a state institution and we primarily serve people of the state,” he said.

UNC-CH currently works with several universities around the world.

The University’s major partners are National University of Singapore, King’s College London and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

UNC and those universities work in tandem in teaching and research and have joint workshops and conferences.

Universities become closer and more integrated through programs like these, which enhances knowledge of students around the world, Coclanis said.

“We chose a more conservative and less risky, but we hope more effective, route,” Coclanis said.

“We are certainly internationalizing.”

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