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To Enhance U.K.-U.S. Collaboration, Clarify, Capitalize and Think Broadly, Says ACE Report

May 22, 2017


​Colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and the United States face a parallel set of challenges regarding internationalization and globalizing student learning. The Brexit vote to leave the European Union has called into question well-established pathways for student and faculty mobility between the United Kingdom and Europe. The current political climate in the United States has also created uncertainties for international students and faculty.

Along with these shared challenges, the United Kingdom and the United States also share a long history of collaboration, as well as many higher education partnerships.

Given the current political climate and the substantial existing ties between the two nations, a new report released by ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE), U.K.-U.S. Higher Education Partnerships: Firm Foundations and Promising Pathways, provides a comprehensive assessment of this collaboration and explores areas for further opportunity.

Sponsored by Sannam S4, the report begins with an overview of the current landscape of U.K.-U.S. connections, including an inventory of institutional partnerships and activities, and a summary of recent trends. The inventory addresses four primary areas: student mobility (exchanges and collaborative degree programs), faculty activities, research collaborations and institutional outposts.

Using this inventory data, the report examines the factors that facilitate higher education engagement between the two nations. Much common ground exists, including a strong tradition of institutional autonomy, a robust research infrastructure and parallels in how internationalization is achieved. However, some key differences—size and structure of the overall system, cultural variation and goals of internationalization—can lead to challenges. 

The report concludes with a set of recommendations for colleges and universities, policymakers and other stakeholders for enhancing bilateral higher education ties. These include:

  • Clarify and articulate the value proposition.
  • Capitalize on existing connections.
  • Develop innovative models for engaging students.
  • Lay the groundwork for strong partner relationships.
  • Create shared resources.
  • Think broadly about how U.K-U.S. collaboration can help address shared challenges.​

U.K.-U.S. Higher Education Partnerships follows a similar report from CIGE, U.S.-Mexico Higher Education Engagement: Current Activities, Future Directions, which analyzed academic ties between the United States and Mexico.

To read the full report, click here.

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