Underscoring the Value of a School of Record Partnership

Underscoring the Value of a School of Record Partnership
jeremy geller

Back in the days when I was promoting student and scholar international mobility (and particularly undergraduate education abroad) through U.S. college and university posts, I enjoyed close working relationships with numerous organizations abroad. Most were formally affiliated with my institution and approved by faculty members or departments on campus, which enabled students to gain credit upon successful completion of courses taken abroad. This, I’m sure, is a familiar scenario to most readers of Gateway Voices. When things went well, we were all proud, and students had high-impact and meaningful learning experiences.

The problem, of course, was that faculty or departmental approvals could be rescinded for any number of reasons (and through no fault of the organization or the education abroad office), thus leaving organizations—especially small ones—in precarious positions, not to mention leaving students and/or the education abroad office in the lurch. I was sometimes able to intercede and assure continuity or resumption of programs and could build or sustain agreements with other institutions to supplement the flow of students from mine. While my interventions resulted in continued enrollment, the precariousness of the partnerships remained unchanged.

Precarity seems to be a constant for organizations that provide education abroad programming for U.S. students but lack accreditation from regional or national authorities to grant tertiary credit. The inability to grant transferrable credit thus becomes a key impediment to the enrollment growth of such organizations. Moreover, students’ inability to rally advocacy on their campus to ensure that one-off, unofficial grade reports are sufficient to receive credit, limits their choice of programs.

Establishing a School of Record partnership, however, can ease that element of precarity. It can increase the organization’s enrollment, visibility, and stature, and it can offer new curricular breadth and revenue to a recording institution. And for students, it removes the obstacle posed by the lack of legible credits for their studies at non-university organizations abroad. Gateway International Group offers a unique service to broker School of Record partnerships.

As a case in point, the Spanish Institute for Global Education has been providing instruction and student services in Seville for forty years, and has been sustaining enrollments based on institutional agreements. But the shifting seas and fortunes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic underscored to the Spanish Institute that it was time for change. They decided to seek a School of Record partnership and, after exhaustive review of its curriculum, recently partnered with the University of Montana. U.S. students at the Spanish Institute can now return to their home campus with an official transcript from the University of Montana, legible indeed to any college or university registrar’s office.

This bodes well not only for the prospect of recruiting individual students, but also for establishing new institutional affiliations (and this is already the case for the Spanish Institute). The recording institution’s willingness to stand behind the organization’s curriculum is, of course, a vote of confidence. But the ability to transfer credit from another U.S. institution can offer a more cost-effective financial model for students, for example, at an affiliated institution that would otherwise charge its own (potentially high) tuition and fees per credit.

As such, School of Record partnerships offer an antidote to precarity for education abroad organizations and foster growth on both sides of the partnership, while offering students more choice in programs, a win-win-win proposition.

About the author: Jeremy Geller is a senior leader in international education and experiential learning with broad college- and university-based expertise. At his most recent university post he managed a successful School of Record partnership, assuring mutually fair and beneficial structures and practices. He is a Gateway Affiliate based in Connecticut and New York.

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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.

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