A faculty and staff delegation from UC Santa Cruz, consisting of Professor of Politics and Chair of Committee on International Education (CIE) Kent Eaton, Professor of Politics Matt Sparke, and Senior International Officer Becky George, traveled to the United Kingdom (UK) in April to deepen relationships with current international partners.
The delegation visited Queen’s University Belfast, University of Bristol, and University of Leeds, all of which are existing student exchange partners. Through direct bilateral exchanges, students are offered experiential learning opportunities abroad that complement their major fields of study.
A primary focus of the trip was to explore new ways to strengthen and broaden these partnerships through faculty engagement and the development of activities beyond undergraduate student mobility.
Kent Eaton believes that developing bilateral agreements with international institutions by focusing on synergies is advantageous for UCSC.
“Each of the three universities we visited indicated that environmental governance and climate change are academic priorities,” said Eaton. “UC Santa Cruz is well known in these fields so it is understandable that synergies would be found in these areas between our campuses that have potential for positive collaborative impact.”
Eaton also observed the importance and variables of identifying favorable faculty collaborations between institutions.
“On one hand, it makes sense to bring faculty together who are precisely thinking about or trying to deepen a common lens by partnering with institutions that have similar strengths. On the other hand, identifying universities with complementary program strengths and assembling research teams based on different strengths can also benefit research,” Eaton said. “It is vital that we consider these positions when exploring new frontiers in partnerships.”
The visit coincided with the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland. The delegation attended speaker panels and celebratory events in Belfast with themes of post-conflict negotiation, borders, and migration, all of which are academic and research strengths at Queen’s University Belfast.
Broadening and deepening institutional partnerships with universities abroad is key to our Strategic Plan for Internationalization.