Given NYU Abu Dhabi’s current requirement to cut expenses, hiring a new Vice Chancellor for such an exorbitant salary appears to be unsustainable. To save valuable dirhams for visiting student events, hire more right-wing January Term professors, and increase Torch Club food, the university will adopt an innovative approach of hiring a student from Handshake as Pemican’s replacement.
The position opened yesterday and will close in just three days, but it has already received a total of 538 applications from across the global network. Despite following the same pay scale as other student assistantships — 38.5 AED per hour for undergraduate students and 59 AED per hour for graduate students — many students see it as a valuable stepping stone. “My capstone mentor already asks for constant lengthy progress report emails that actually say nothing,” read one student’s cover letter. “I believe that this experience will translate well to having to placate the entire community over email.”
Eim Bellish, Class of 2027, believes that her previous leadership experience as high school student body president, having once organized a town hall, is good preparation to run the entire university. “It’s been only a day since I submitted my application, but they’re already ghosting me? How dare they,” she said. She doesn’t realize that the entire world of academia has its eyes on NYUAD’s newfound innovation in cost-cutting.
If this newfound approach works, Pemican said that the Dean of Students, Director of Student Life and Associate Vice Chancellor, is next to be replaced by current undergraduates. To strengthen the pipeline of new applicants, a new CSTS course — “Vice Chancellorship” — will be added to the Core Curriculum starting in the fall of 2024. “We’re looking for someone who can multitask,” both the job description and the class’s syllabus say. “Someone who can do everything while doing nothing at all? You’re the perfect fit!”
While applications are still open, the hiring team is already leaning toward one candidate. His ability to speak in cryptic, nonpartisan language throughout all of his application materials impressed the committee. When reached for an interview, Iym Provis, Class of 2025, states that he applied to the role as a joke. “I guess I never know how qualified I am until I get the job,” he added. With his 38.5 AED per hour, he may not live in a beachfront resort like past administrators, but he believes that “it’ll motivate me to grind harder.”
After all, being Vice-Chancellor as an undergraduate is the only position that might give him a shot at getting an HR screening call for an internship at Bain & Company. He plans to be Vice-Chancellor while also serving as an unpaid Residential Assistant, unpaid Student Government committee chair, student researcher, and startup founder.
Alumni have had mixed thoughts about the decision. “Just a sign of the times. With NYUAD being this broke, why would anyone want to come to Abu Dhabi anymore?,” said Uhn Grefu, Class of 2022. “I should’ve just accepted my offer from Barvard College because a little debt never hurt anyone anyway.”
Whatever the success or failure of this initiative, campuses around the world are watching in suspense to see if they can emulate such student-centered leadership.