By Suzanne Alexander, Director, International Office, University of Leicester, UK. Having a large number of partnerships around the world will not necessarily guarantee that your higher education institution raises its international profile and reputation, but it can play an important role in achieving these objectives. International partnerships provide opportunities to attract a more diverse student body, and to promote greater mobility of staff and students. These partnerships also have the potential to make an impact on curriculum development, collaborative teaching programmes and research networks.
Partnerships provide multiple benefits

Partnerships can make a significant contribution to institutional internationalisation objectives, but only if those objectives are articulated and understood within the institution and shared with the partners. At an institutional level, partnerships provide opportunities for learning from each other, sharing knowledge and experience and benchmarking, but many institutions simply see partnerships in a more narrow and constrained way, in terms of the benefits they provide to those students/staff who engage in the mobility programmes.
Partnerships are for the long term

Setting up partnerships and negotiating agreements can be very time-consuming. For this reason, unless you see the relationship in terms of your institution’s medium- to long-term interests, it is probably best not to enter into it in the first place. Partners need time to get to know each other. Even if you have researched and perhaps visited your partner, there will be gaps in your knowledge about each other, and maybe some surprises! Partnerships will also evolve over time. There will be internal changes, such as leadership, staffing, funding arrangements, institutional strategy and perhaps external changes too, such as government policy. Read more...