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Press Release

New Book Examines Academic Collaboration between the U.S. and Europe

Report Offers Firsthand Insights on Transatlantic Joint and Double Degree Programs

NEW YORK and BERLIN, November 2, 2009—A new book released today by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and Freie Universität Berlin features practical recommendations for developing and delivering collaborative degree programs between U.S. and European universities. The publication, Joint and Double Degree Programs: An Emerging Model for Transatlantic Exchange, features articles and insights from higher education administrators and practitioners on both sides of the Atlantic who are seeking to equip their students with the international experience, perspective and skills to succeed in today’s global economy.

As professional collaboration with colleagues and customers in other countries increases across sectors, colleges and universities around the world are looking to joint and double degree programs as a way to offer their students meaningful international experiences. The diverse language and cultural fluencies they obtain will help prepare them for successful careers, whether in business, government or academia.

"While joint and dual degree programs are often complex to implement, they provide U.S. and European higher education institutions an opportunity to build strong partnerships, and are an important element of the transatlantic educational exchange relationship," says Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE. "Our commitment to the region is part of a recognition that with the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world, the EU and the U.S. will only be able to solve common challenges through the kind of mutual understanding and intercultural cooperation created by transatlantic exchanges."

The book seeks to provide practical recommendations on key challenges, such as communications, sustainability, curriculum design, and student recruitment. Articles are divided into six thematic sections that assess the development of collaborative degree programs from beginning to end. While the first two sections focus on the theories underpinning transatlantic degree programs and how to secure institutional support and buy-in, the third and fourth sections present perspectives on the beginning stages of a joint or double degree program and the issue of program sustainability. The last two sections focus on profiles of specific transatlantic degree programs and lessons learned from joint and double degree programs in the European context.

"Today, higher education institutions face manifold challenges from global developments, from the current economic downturn to the increasing competition for the most talented students," says Dieter Lenzen, President of the Freie Universität Berlin. "However, we at Freie Universität Berlin strongly believe that challenges also hold opportunities. Excellent research and teaching is neither one-dimensional nor bound to national borders, and cooperation across disciplines and borders is the only way in which academia can successfully address the various challenges of our century."

A survey conducted last year by IIE and the Freie Universität Berlin found that universities in both the U.S. and Europe are working to establish more international joint and double degree programs to internationalize their campuses and better prepare their students, with 87% of respondents stating that they wanted to develop more joint and double degree programs. According to the survey, the most popular academic disciplines for collaborative degree programs are business and management and engineering. Respondents from both EU and U.S. institutions identified securing adequate funding and ensuring sustainability of programs as major challenges.

Learn more about the survey

The survey and book are part of a project sponsored by the "European Union-United States Atlantis Program" jointly administered and funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture. The project was launched in cooperation with several leading U.S. and European institutions including IIE and the State University of New York in the U.S., and Freie Universität Berlin, the Franco-German University, and the Latvian Rectors' Council in the E.U.

Purchase the book

Learn more about the Atlantis Program


About The Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of over 20 offices worldwide and over 1,000 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.


About Freie Universität Berlin

Founded in 1948 with the help of the United States, Freie Universität Berlin is deeply rooted in the tradition of transatlantic cooperation. Today, Freie Universität is a leading research institution, one of Germany’s nine Universities of Excellence and a top destination for international students and scholars alike. As an "International Network University", Freie Universität continues its commitment to strengthening and expanding international cooperation in teaching and research based on its core values: Truth, Justice and Liberty.

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Media Contacts

Sharon Witherell
Director, Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5380
E-mail: switherell@iie.org

Maria Baum
Media Relations Specialist
Tel: +1 212.984.5360
E-mail: mbaum@iie.org

IIE Experts

IIE experts on international education are available for interviews or speaking engagements.

Dr. Allan E. Goodman
President and CEO

Peggy Blumenthal 
Senior Counselor to the President