Successful international partnerships require intentional planning and a sustained commitment. To ensure the long-term success of your partnership, follow the best practices outlined below:
Vet your Partner(s)
Ensure that you know and trust the person or organization whom you’ll be working with. Partnerships depend on strong individual relationships.
Developing strong partnerships takes time. While simple MOUs can be processed quickly, complex legal agreements may take months to complete, depending on a variety of factors. Allow ample time for agreements to be executed before initiating partnership activities.
Confirm Institutional Commitment and Internal Support
The strongest partnerships have broad institutional support and clear goals. Confirm support in your unit, department or college and consider involving other units on campus. Ensure that your partner is equally committed.
Set Clear Expectations
Explicitly discuss your aspirations and expectations with your partner. When expectations are misaligned, communication can break down quickly.
Assess Institutional Fit
Partnerships are most successful when partners have strong reputations, compatible missions and complementary academic strengths.
Align Partnership with Duke’s Mission, Goals, and Values
Ensure Partnership is Mutually-Beneficial
One-sided relationships are not sustainable. When pursuing a partnership, it is crucial to identify how Duke and the partner institution will mutually benefit from the relationship. Reflect on your identity, power and positionality and consider how global inequities may influence the partnership.
Review Potential Obstacles
Legal, financial and institutional obstacles can derail partnerships between even the most committed partners. Review issues such as visa restrictions, resource inequalities, tuition differentials, and differences in academic standards, schedules and cultural norms before determining partnership activities.
Champion the Partnership
Make sure that you or another faculty member are actively engaged in supporting the efforts of the partnership. Without a strong advocate, partnerships become dormant and exist in paper only.
Confirm that both partners have the staff, relationships, facilities and financial resources necessary to support the partnership. When possible, allow room for growth over time.
Sustained partnerships require clear and consistent communication. Consider designating a faculty or staff liaison in your unit or department to establish a clear line of communication with your partner.
Determine the intended outcomes of the partnership. How will this partnership enhance education, research and global engagement at Duke and the partner institution? Develop metrics to measure performance and progress. Review progress with your partner and celebrate accomplishments.