Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Institutions Pursuing Abroad Partnerships

Karin Fischer in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education reports that U.S. universities are getting more serious about pursuing formal relationships with overseas institutions. (Subscription required.)

The arrangements, Fischer reports, “involve multiple departments and disciplines, square with institutional goals, and even tackle global challenges like sustainable agriculture or clean energy.”

Among the institutions currently working on such relationship are Washington University, Indiana-Purdue and New Mexico State. But, Fischer finds, the relationships are often difficult to establish and maintain.

One hurdle is finances. Washington’s relationship with partners in India was bolstered by a $10 million gift from a trustee. Lack of resources, especially in budget-cutting times, keeps more institutions off the global-education stage.

“Differing expectations can derail deals,” Fischer writes. “And in designating preferred partners, college leaders risk alienating professors who don't see the relevance of overseas work to their fields or who are frustrated that an institution they work with was passed over.”

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