Illinois Strategic International Partnerships

Illinois Strategic International Partnerships (ISIP) will advance the global standing of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a preeminent public research university, by creating a truly “transnational” institution, where innovative knowledge, research, education, faculty, and students move freely across borders—whether geopolitical, cultural, disciplinary, or academic.

International partnerships at Illinois include a wide range of activities carried out at various levels of our organizational structure. They include collaborative activities with other universities and institutions of higher education, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private sector corporations. Such collaborations arise from individual faculty members interacting informally with their colleagues abroad, whether it be in connection with shared research interests or common educational goals for their students. Truly dynamic and sustained international partnerships almost always originate with one or two enthusiastic and far-sighted faculty from each partner institution, who are committed to championing the collaboration among their colleagues and students.

It is often advantageous, and sometimes necessary, to formalize such collaborative links with foreign partners at the institutional level by recognizing these links in officially sanctioned written documents. On the Urbana campus, oversight of all such formal documentation (broadly termed “international agreements”) of institutional linkages with foreign partners, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, is provided by the Director of ISIP, in the executive office of Illinois International.

ISIP Strategy

ISIP coordinates relationships with a small, select group of true peer institutions around the world that are both broadly and deeply impactful—crossing departments, colleges, centers and institutes to inform and enhance our core missions of research, education, public service, and economic development.

ISIP will leverage existing relationships when possible—and cultivate new relationships when necessary—with a small, highly select group of true peer institutions around the world to form institutional partnerships that are both broadly and deeply impactful—crossing departments, colleges, centers and institutes to inform and enhance all of our core mission activities: research, education, public service, and economic development.

Services Provided by ISIP

Reporting to the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies, ISIP provides a consistent, centralized resource for:

  • Developing new institutional linkages, by consulting with faculty and administrators to draft and negotiate international agreements;
  • Maintaining and broadening existing linkages, by identifying key strategic partnerships and disseminating information about opportunities to expand and deepen these partnerships;
  • Ensuring compliance with laws, regulations, and policies as established by the Board of Trustees and the State of Illinois, by working with the Office of University Counsel and the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Administration to develop uniform guidelines and up-to-date legal language as a basis for international agreements;
  • Providing an institutional record of past and present institutional linkages, by maintaining a database of current international agreements, as well as a physical and electronic archive of documents that support formal institutional linkages.

ISIP Benefits to Primary Stakeholders

Strategic International Partnerships can, and should, provide measurable benefits to our students and faculty, and to the citizens of the state of Illinois. Benefits from the partnerships envisioned in the ISIP initiative include:

  • Enhanced integration of international education experiences into core curricula at Illinois;
  • Enhanced participation by students in disciplines traditionally under-represented in study abroad (particularly in STEM disciplines where semester- or year-based study abroad often means additional time to degree);
  • Increased co-development of new courses, curricula and, eventually, dual and joint degrees;
  • Enhanced opportunities for student cohorts from Illinois and ISIP partners to come together for research, learning, national and international competitions, or topical summer institutes;
  • Increased access to significant external funding sources, both public and private, for collaborative research and education activities (e.g., European Commission Framework and Erasmus Mundus funding);
  • Enhanced potential to form truly productive multilateral consortia of university partners, building on strong existing relationships and identified synergies;
  • Enhanced ability to conduct innovative, cross-, multi-, and interdisciplinary research on “big science” questions and problems, by leveraging complementary faculty expertise and research infrastructures;
  • Increased opportunities to foster technological, commercial, and political connections for State of Illinois business and governmental interests with key foreign areas (ex. planned public housing authority informational visit to Stockholm; exchange of expertise on freight and passenger rail capacity and technology);
  • Increased opportunities for forging beneficial relations with multi-national corporations.


Illinois Strategic International Partnerships
507 East Green Street, Suite 401
Champaign, IL 61820 USA
Phone: (217) 333-1990 | Fax: (217) 265-0810
Email: tebarnes@illinois