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Blog Post Banner - The State of International Strategies and Partnerships in North American Universities

03 Feb The State of International Strategies and Partnerships in North American Universities

Wondering where North American universities stand when it comes to their international strategies and partnerships? Our exclusive survey data reveals all.

North American universities have long been considered the gold standard of higher education but how do they perform in the international office?

The 2019 International Partnership and Agreement Practices Survey found that 45% of the surveyed North American universities don’t have an international strategy in place.

Of those universities that do, the survey found that these institutions have been increasingly prioritizing the following key objectives:

  • Growing and improving student mobility (45%)
  • Internationalizing the institution in general (39%)
  • Expanding and improving international student enrolment (39%)
  • Expanding and improving research output (35%)

When examining these 2019 results, it’s clear that the number of international partnerships in North America is either shrinking or becoming stagnant (31%).

A comparison between 2015 and 2019 survey results demonstrates a drop in the number of partnerships, with 85% of respondents confirming growth in 2015 and only 69% in 2019.

However, while these numbers are stagnant or shrinking, they also show that the current number of international partnerships is much higher than in 2017.
In 2017, most of the universities surveyed (37%) had less than 50 partnerships, or were not aware of such partnerships (37%).
In 2019, the survey results reveal that 38% of the surveyed universities have over 200 international partnerships.

If we compare 2015 and 2019 findings, there’s a clear decrease in the number of key strategic partnerships.
In 2015, 75% of the universities surveyed confirmed having a special group of key partners (strategic partners), while in 2019 only 52% of the universities agreed with this.
A key component of the building and nurturing of this kind of strategic partnerships is a clear set of protocols and guidelines to do so.
While 59% of surveyed universities have these specific protocols in place for proposing key partnerships, 31% don’t have these protocols and 10% aren’t aware of such procedures.

As such, the results indicate that universities in North America are at different stages of their internationalization journey.
Around 50% of these universities need to develop an international strategy and specific protocols for international mobility and partnerships management.
The other half have a considerable number of international partnerships and are currently invested in expanding other areas, such as growing and improving student mobility, internationalizing the institution, expanding international student enrollment, and growing research output.

While there’s room for growth within this internationalization sphere, North American universities are clearly taking strategic steps to improve their internationalization approach and continue to compete on the global stage.

If you’re an international data officer, or simply someone who works within the international office, it’s important to follow these best practices and ensure quality, accurate data at all times.

To discover more insights from the survey, download your free copy of the report now.
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