Trust under Pressure: Sustaining International Partnership of Higher Education

Qing Gao

Major Professor: Joy Hughes, PhD, Higher Education Program

Committee Members: Peter Stearns, Anne Nicotera

Enterprise Hall, Online
June 02, 2021, 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM


This dissertation delineates the international partnership as a fundamental element of the internationalization practice of higher education institutions. The sustainment of internationalization efforts in higher education has been challenged by the changing external political and social environment. American Confucius Institute programs that are the joint educational collaborations between higher educational institutions in the US and China for offering Chinese language teaching and cultural awareness activities have encountered external pressures in recent years. The author adopts the frame of the trust study and uses two Confucius Institute programs as case studies to analyze the relationships of international partnerships, particularly under external pressure. The research models adopted from organizational trust studies and organizational communication assessment provide accesses to examine the trust levels, trust development, and dynamics of the partnership related to external pressures in the two cases of Confucius Institute programs. This dissertation aims to fill the gap of empirical analysis of international partnership and lay the ground for systematic studies of relationships among international collaborations in higher education. The findings and recommendations of this dissertation can be a resource to inform further research and administrative practice in international efforts of higher education.