How can higher ed form stronger international partnerships?
- Higher ed institutions seeking to establish partnerships with international organizations or schools need to assess their own strengths and hire staff solely dedicated to ensuring those relationships flourish, according to Higher Ed Today.
- A number of experts offered advice for institutions wanting to create new relationships, noting the importance of ensuring the entire organization, including faculty, feels involved with the new approach — and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Tim Barnes suggested schools form international advisory committees to do so.
- Experts stressed the importance of seeking mutually beneficial partnerships for all institutions involved, suggesting relationships were only likely to last if both institutions felt they were advancing their mission. A relationship based solely on seeking international applicants for an American university, for example, may not be sustainable.
Though it's important to ensure such partnerships are mutually beneficial in the interest of maintaining the relationship, American colleges and universities have often depended on the applicant pool (and tuition revenue) of international students to help fill seats when there is a sparing supply of domestic applicants. An investigation released earlier this month by Inside Higher Ed found particular regions in the country, like the Northeast, have seen international student enrollment remain level despite a national 2% drop. The domestic college-age population is declining, with a 10% drop in the number of high school graduates expected between 2009 and 2028.
Building these kinds of international partnerships can help institutions in attracting international student applicants, even if the partnerships themselves are not solely intended as a form of outreach. Working with schools in other countries to establish "micro-campuses" at facilities in other countries, like the University of Arizona did with its dual enrollment program, can offer a positive impression for interested students in those areas. Students may then consider applying to that school if they are interested in studying in the United States. Having in-person interactions can also help American colleges and universities allay concerns international students may have about coming to study here at a time when political tensions regarding international immigration are high and divisive.