Evaluating and Assessing Partnerships

Evaluating and Assessing Partnerships

Authors: Therese Tardio, Kate Meyer, Anis Sundusiyah

This section would provide institutions with guided prompts and resources to aid in evaluating and assessing the success of international partnerships. Regular assessment also will ensure that programs’ objectives are being met. This section should provide already existing tools or suggestions for institutions to create a more tailored tool for their needs.

It is Important to have this as part of someone’s job duties/position in the office to enable the assessment process to be done with any regularity and level of attention.

Items that need to be considered:

  • Criteria
    • Identify criteria to evaluate and assess partnership.
    • Institutional mission or focus can help to develop these.
  • Evaluation matrix or tool
    • Systematic and objective way to evaluate their partnership.
    • Compare progress and performance over time.
    • Identify areas of strength and weakness.
    • Create action steps to make improvements to enhance the partnership’s effectiveness over time.
  • Reflection questions on changes – Successful partnerships need to be able to adapt to policy change/political change, etc.
    • When do we decide to revitalize a partnership?
    • What are new avenues/modality that could benefit the partnership?
    • How do we end a partnership?
    • How has COVID impacted the assessment of partnerships?
    • Have we taken into account the ethics of which institutions we partner with and what ones we don’t?
      • What voices are we not hearing? I.e. rural institutions being cut for a more urban center partnership options;
    • What is the impact on diversity and inclusion of this partnership?

Why are assessment and evaluation of ongoing partnerships important?

Assessment and evaluation are important to ensure quality and intellectual integrity of the programs. It is meant to be used by both institutions when looking to evaluate the work done over the year(s) of the partnership. It can also help to ensure that best practices are followed, and that programs can be improved based on findings. Some additional considerations include:

  • Necessary to ensure quality and intellectual integrity of programs,health and safety of participants.
  • Helpful for a variety of uses: transfer credit; Middle States; acquiring funding and support; recruitment of faculty and students; vitality of the relationship.
  • Important to consider the ethics of these experiences for all constituencies .
  • Provide a starting point for assessments and reflection to assist with decision making (to continue the partnership, shift a focus, or to sunset it).
  • Stakeholders from both universities and partner organizations; faculty and staff; and anyone involved in the internationalization/strategic planning; administrators who make funding decisions.

Elements of Assessment and Evaluation

  • Resource materials
    • Develop a library of resources that is accessible to all staff on how to assess international programs (for lens of intercultural competence, etc.).

  • Assessment tools (both qualitative and quantitative assessment types, depending on need of institutions).
    • It is important to have tools to assess various aspects of the program.
    • Remember to not solely focus on outcomes for students, but also make sure that faculty and staff can provide some connection, as well as any additional parties who support the experience (like internship mentors for example, who might assess is some way what value they and their organizations gain, or obstacles they encounter by hosting students from another institution).

  • Criteria for evaluation:
    • Alignment of Goals: This criterion measures the degree to which the goals of the partnership are clearly defined and agreed upon by all partners. The partners may also evaluate how well the partnership goals align with their individual goals.
      • Are the goals of the partnership clearly defined and agreed upon by all partners?
      • How well do the partnership goals align with the individual goals of each partner?

    • Communication: This criterion evaluates how well the partners communicate with each other. The partners may consider whether there are regular meetings or other forms of communication to keep partners informed, whether partners share information and resources effectively, and whether there are any communication barriers or challenges.
      • How well do the partners communicate with each other?
      • Are there regular meetings or other forms of communication to keep partners informed? Or key communication roles that have been assigned?
      • Do the partners share information and resources effectively?

    • Collaboration: This criterion measures how well the partners work together to achieve the goals of the partnership. The partners may consider whether there are mechanisms in place to encourage and facilitate collaboration, and whether there are any issues or barriers that prevent effective collaboration.
      • How well do the partners work together to achieve the goals of the partnership?
      • Are there mechanisms in place to encourage and facilitate collaboration
      • Are there any issues or barriers that prevent effective collaboration?

    • Impact: This criterion measures the progress made towards achieving the goals of the partnership and the impact that the partnership has had on the partners and their stakeholders. The partners may also consider whether there are any unintended consequences or negative impacts of the partnership.
      • How much progress has been made towards achieving the goals of the partnership?
      • What impact has the partnership had on the partners and their stakeholders?
      • Are there any unintended consequences or negative impacts of the partnership?

    • Sustainability: This criterion evaluates the long-term sustainability of the partnership, including its financial sustainability. The partners may consider whether there are plans in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of the partnership, and whether there are any risks or threats to the sustainability of the partnership.
      • Is the partnership financially sustainable?
      • Are there plans in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of the partnership?
      • Are there any risks or threats to the sustainability of the partnership?
      • Dates on when to reassess or review the partnership to ensure it is still working – this should be for both partners.

Why are assessment and evaluation of ongoing partnerships important?


Bennett, M.J., and Castiglioni, I. (2004). Embodied ethnocentrism and the feeling of culture: A key to training for intercultural competence. In D. Landis, J.M. Bennett, and M.J. Bennett (Eds.) Handbook of intercultural training (3rd ed.). Sage Publications.

Deardorff, D. K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in international education, 10(3), 241-266.

Harvey, T.A. (2017). Design and pedagogy for transformative intercultural learning. In B. Kappler Mikk and I.E. Steglitz (Eds.) Learning across cultures: Locally and globally. (3rd ed., pp. 109-138). NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Ruther, N. L., Jeffress, A. K., Shi, L., & Rabke, S. (2021). Virtual exchange program building: an assessment-based approach. Journal of Virtual Exchange, 4(SI-IVEC2020), 70-94. https://doi.org/10.21827/jve.4.37156

Please let us know how this information has helped guide you through International Partnerships.

Episode 29: Cultural Lens on U.S. Higher Education: Analyzing International Perceptions of 'Anti-Woke’ Discourse

Dive into a nuanced exploration of the global discourse surrounding higher education in the United States. Join us for a panel discussion with esteemed international educators as we embark on a journey through the lenses of culture and international perspective, examining how global audiences interpret and engage with the ‘anti-woke’ discourse within the context of U.S. higher education. This engaging panel discussion will delve into the intersections of culture, ideology, and education, and the complex landscape of how international audiences perceive the ‘anti-woke’ narrative that has emerged within U.S. academia.

Whether you’re a senior international officer, or simply curious about the diverse viewpoints shaping U.S. higher education, this podcast episode will provide an invaluable space for critical analysis and insightful conversations.

Speaker Biography:

Fanta Aw is a distinguished leader in international education, renowned for her extensive contributions to global learning, cross-cultural understanding, and educational equity. With a deep commitment to fostering connections between diverse cultures and promoting educational excellence, she has significantly impacted the international education community.

Fanta Aw’s career has been characterized by her dedication to advancing global education initiatives, promoting diversity and inclusion, and nurturing partnerships that transcend borders. She has held influential roles in various organizations, advocating for the importance of international collaboration and learning experiences that empower individuals to navigate an increasingly interconnected world.

As a thought leader and visionary, Fanta Aw’s insights and expertise have shaped discussions on the future of international education, emphasizing the significance of equitable access, cultural exchange, and lifelong learning. Her work has not only elevated institutions but has also inspired countless individuals to embrace the transformative power of global education.

Date: September 14th, 2023
Time: 12 noon ET

Sponsored by:

Mark Beirn


An experienced global researcher and administrator, Mark Beirn brings a critical approach to risk management, factoring structural racism and identity-based violence into his rubric for supporting equitable global mobility.

Specialization Areas:

– Global Risk Management
– Education Abroad
– Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in International Education
– Health and Safety
– Curriculum Development


Stephen Appiah-Padi​


Stephen Appiah-Padi is an international educator with several years of teaching and administrative experience in both 4 and 2-year HEIs. An experienced global education practitioner-scholar, with a demonstrated history of success in the field.

Dr. Appiah-Padi has a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada in Educational Policy & Administration with a specialization in International/Intercultural Education.

At Northwestern College, he provided oversight in the administration of education abroad and international student services. In Lansing, Michigan, he first oversaw diversity and intercultural education at Lansing Community College, and later created the Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) which merged intercultural engagement and international education programs of the institution, and he became its first director. Additionally, Dr. Appiah-Padi taught a course, “Diversity in the American Workplace”, to undergraduate management students of the College. In his current position, he provides leadership and vision in advancing strategic internationalization initiatives, including international partnerships and study abroad programs at Bucknell University.

Dr Appiah-Padi has created and facilitated several workshops for faculty and staff development in higher education and in business organizations. He has presented at several national and international conferences. In NAFSA, among several volunteer leadership positions, he has served as Dean of the Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication Workshop, the Leadership Development Committee member, Chair of the Africa Special Interest Group, and a Fellow of the Global Fellowship Program for mentoring emerging leaders of internationalization in African HEIs. He currently serves as a member of the NAFSA Board of Directors.

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Rosa Almoguera


Dr. Rosa Almoguera has worked as an international educator for over twenty years. She was trained as a Hispanic Philologist at the Universidad Complutense, in Madrid, and did her M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D., from Universidad Complutense included a field study and edition of written balladry “Romancero”. During many years Rosa combined teaching and her role as a senior administrator at the Fundación Ortega-Marañón in Toledo, Spain. At the Foundation, Rosa directed and, in many cases created, programs for the University of Minnesota, Notre Dame, Princeton, Ohio State, Arcadia, and the University of Chicago. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, University of Portland, and Interamericana de Puerto Rico.

Beginning in 2016, Rosa works as an international education consultant for both public and private European and US higher education institutions. Rosa has been successful in developing new partnerships and programs, as well as helping improve already existing ones.

Rosa is a member of Forum and NAFSA and has presented with higher education professionals on innovative academic and research programming, STEM in study abroad and Nationalism in Europe. Rosa is currently completing the final Professional Certification from the Forum on Education Abroad.