Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 202 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jason E. Lane

Committee Members

Kevin Kinser, Daniel C. Levy


cross-border higher education, international branch campus, international education, policy legitimacy, transnational education, United Arab Emirates, Education, Higher, Education and state, Transnational education, University extension, Student exchange programs

Subject Categories

Education Policy | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration


This study investigates the legitimacy of policies to import cross-border higher education (CBHE) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study compares two of the UAE’s higher education subsystems – Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah – to understand how higher education stakeholders in the UAE interpret foreign involvement in higher education and investigate how those interpretations contribute to stakeholders’ assessments of the legitimacy of the country’s CBHE policies. The legitimacy of cross-border higher education policies is a potentially contentious issue because the higher education resources that are imported into host countries under CBHE policies are usually intended to supplement existing higher education systems whose stakeholders may not welcome foreign involvement in higher education. Given the multiple actors and national contexts that are active in the UAE’s higher education systems, there are potential legitimacy challenges facing local CBHE policies. The purpose of this study is to explore this area of possible disconnect in the legitimacy of CBHE to more clearly understand how host country higher education stakeholders evaluate the legitimacy of CBHE policies within their own systems and to arrive at a theory of policy legitimacy for cross-border higher education.