1 Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
2 Purdue University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 181-191
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
In a progressively more interconnected world, contemporary third level students recognise the increasing importance of learning to operate effectively in different cultural environments. Moreover, employers evidently value graduates who demonstrate the ability to perform successfully in international contexts. Hence, students want their educational institution to push beyond the confines of the traditional lecture theatre and laboratory—to look outward and to establish a range of relevant educational engagement and delivery models which are truly international and embrace a global perspective.

For European third level educational institutions intent on responding to such demands, the practical initiation, development and sustenance of a long-term multi-faceted transatlantic educational partnership is not a trivial undertaking. Such a collaborative endeavour provides a multitude of strategic, organisational, cultural, educational, financial and process development challenges. However, since many of the challenges are broadly common to all institutions, much learning can be derived from the experience of those transatlantic partners who have previously travelled this partnership journey with success.

In this context, this paper reflects on key lessons from the first six-years (2004-2010) of the development of a collaborative journey of two transatlantic higher-educational institutions. This overview describes the progress towards building a sustainable and international educational partnership in Engineering/Technological education between the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin Ireland and Purdue University, Indiana, USA.

In particular, the paper provides insight into the iterative stages of development of this partnership. It reflects on some of the key challenges and it identifies the key enablers of success. It focuses principally on the following six important areas

(i) The partnership initiation stage. Key considerations and important enablers of future success.
(ii) Building early “quick win” momentum in a transatlantic partnership.
(iii) Full-semester undergraduate exchange. Key educational and logistical challenges and solutions in a transatlantic context.
(iv) Extending educational collaboration into the postgraduate arena.
(v) Quality assurance and standards considerations in international collaboration.
(vi) Project sustainability and continuous improvement.

This collaborative journey has taken these partners in six years from “no relationship” to a situation today where they have an active, multi-faceted partnership involving both education and research; a partnership whose collaborative educational projects are supported by funding of more than €985K to date. Currently, the educational aspect of this partnership includes an active “full semester accredited exchange” for European and US undergraduates, a dual Masters degree for post-graduate students as well as a burgeoning collaborative research effort.

This paper is relevant to any third level educational organisation considering the establishment or further development of a long-term sustainable transatlantic partnership.
International collaboration, Transatlantic Partnerships, Student Exchange, Engineering Education.