IUPUI Office of International Affairs
2009 Heiskell Award Winner: International Exchange Partnerships
Nomination submitted by: Susan Sutton, IU Associate Vice-President of International Programs
When Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) announced its decision to pursue internationalization through partnerships in 2004, the leadership focused its efforts on three core relationships: with partners Moi University in Kenya, Sun Yat-Sen University in China and the Autonomous University of the State of Hidalgo (UAEH) in Mexico.
The decision to elevate several partnerships to ‘strategic levels’ enabled IUPUI to go beyond the occasional student and faculty exchanges that characterize standard institutional linkages. Over the past four years, IUPUI has focused on developing sustainable projects that build on one another and unite faculty from across academic disciplines. Throughout their tenure at IUPUI, students are exposed to the partnerships in a variety of ways, building their understanding of Chinese, Kenyan and Mexican culture. “Members of our campus communities are encountering each other in a wide range of settings: film series, language classes, study abroad, service learning, internships, live-link video connections, team teaching, and so on,” says Uday Sukhatme, Executive Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties.
Most noteworthy is the thorough implementation of this strategy. The plan was set in motion after a foundational document was developed and approved by the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Council of Deans and a faculty-based International Affairs Advisory Council. Partners were chosen based on existing ties and parallel academic interests, and are intended to pave the way for collaborations to expand across the breadth of both institutions. IUPUI’s partnership with Moi University, for example, was built on an 18-year collaboration between the two medical schools and has led to new curricular and research collaboration in 12 separate fields. The China partnership resulted in the establishment of the Confucius Institute in Indianapolis in 2007, and now many schools at IUPUI have established or are developing faculty and student exchange as well as research programs with their counterparts at SYSU.