Collaboration and partnerships are central to the strategic planning of several higher education institutions regardless of their size, revenue, and location around the world. Identifying and defining the potential partnership opportunities are important first stages that typically involve a shared vision and mission. However, sustaining the partnership over the long term can be difficult.
On May 14th, 2021, the American University in Switzerland (AUS) and Tiffin University (TU) from Ohio, USA officially announced their partnership offering AUS students a dual degree program in Business Administration with several specialization options at bachelor’s and master’s level. Both institutions strongly believe that students are the biggest beneficiaries of this partnership by improving the value of academics along with building strong international and intercultural perspectives.
Building the Partnership
Since 2019 when AUS and TU agreed to build a partnership, there has been a lot of work done to create the agreements and to redesign the AUS curriculum focusing on the best options and learning opportunities for the students. Starting with the 2021-2022 academic year, in August 2021, the implementation phase of the dual degree program was launched with the first AUS undergraduate students enrolled. In addition to the AUS core courses taught on campus, the students take TU classes online taught by TU professors along with several other TU students. Upon completion of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Dual Degree program, the students receive a degree from both institutions with a specialization in areas such as: Accounting, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Sports Management, and International Business. The Master of International Business Administration students have the option to earn certifications in several areas such as Data Analytics, Finance, Marketing, Human Resource Management, and more. Students who complete the required AUS and TU course work will earn their degrees from both institutions.
Sustaining the Partnership
Both institutions have an appointed person responsible for student academic advising and all operational procedures. Weekly meetings ensure that any open issues are discussed, understood, and resolved early on. Students have access to several resources available from both universities and are exposed to different learning platforms and syllabi policies. Therefore, periodic checkpoints are scheduled to answer any questions and ensure that progress is made.
This week, Dr. Teresa Shafer, Tiffin University Executive Dean for Institutional Affair visited the AUS Campus and met with students, faculty members and administration. These visits and discussions play a very important role in sustaining successful partnerships. We adjusted existing schedules and curriculum and discussed new ideas to grow the partnership.
For example, a new Student Exchange program to complement the dual degree program will be offered to all AUS and TU students starting next academic year. This allows AUS students to spend time on the TU campus in Ohio and for the TU students to attend classes in Switzerland. Students can visit for a short time of 3-4 weeks or for longer time of up to one year.
Both AUS and TU are putting in a lot of effort to expand this collaboration while also making efforts to continuously improve and adjust. Both of these educational establishments are in a position to offer the most beneficial learning opportunities for their students and provide an enriching experience for their students.