This article examines institutional and demographic variables associated with successful joint partnerships between US and Chinese institutions of higher education.  Understanding those variables requires an appreciation of overarching issues or the catalysts bringing both nations together and, as well, how postsecondary environments differ and the implications of such differences for success. The authors do not assume complete alignment in the interests promoting cooperation between the U. S. and China, but a convergence of mutual interests. The paper discusses different operational realities leading to partnerships between smaller private and larger public institutions and the authors unpack the factors (forces promoting cooperation, need for alignment in organizational infrastructure, faculty support and what are referred to as “administrative nuts and bolts”) associated with meaningful and long term agreements. Although it may sound trite, this paper argues an essential ingredient for success is leadership, but not in the traditional sense of the word as it is often used in academic environments.   Leadership in this context entails using power and influence to change the status quo and assign resources to new ventures.  The essay further argues that absent faculty support (which goes hand in hand with resources for faculty), partnerships will not flourish. Finally, the role of an “internal advocate” i.e., one who has the requisite organizational authority and stature, who can overcome organizational inertia, petty territorial jealousies and legitimize international cooperation using, in the best and fullest sense of the word, the “support” of the President or Chancellor, and sometimes the governing board, is fundamental to success.  

Daniel J. Julius
Mitch Leventhal
Publication date: 
March 1, 2014
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
SINO-AMERICAN JOINT PARTNERSHIPS: Why Some Succeed and Others Fail by Daniel J. Julius and Mitch Leventhal CSHE.1.14 (March 2014)