In an effort to support higher education in developing countries, partnerships between U.S. and international universities have surged, raising questions concerning the social equity of such linkages. Using a New Literacy Studies approach to discourse analysis, online transcripts from one such university partnership were analyzed to determine how language was used to negotiate a more equitable partnership through the adaptation of the social context of professional development activities. Discourse analysis of three relevant linguistic markers in the data suggests that cultural perspectives on professional development influenced the language choices made by university partners, reshaping the power structure toward greater social equity, and aiding in the completion of joint professional development goals. Findings underscore the importance of drawing on local knowledges in planning for and conducting transnational university partnerships.


transnational university partnerships, discourse analysis, professional development, local knowledge

ORCID Identifiers

Thomas Highley: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9314-3996

Connie Kendall Theado: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8900-8583



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.