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International Linkages Committee Members

Chair:

Maarten Uijt de Haag, Russ College of Engineering and Technology

Members:

Gillian Ice, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Howard DeWald, College of Arts and Sciences

Patricia Gunn, College of Arts and Sciences

Usha Matta, Graduate College

 

 

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Fundamentals

What are International Affiliations?

An international affiliation is a formal or informal contract or agreement between Ohio University and a university, government, or agency in another country, which provides for activities such as academic personnel exchanges, student exchanges or overseas study programs, exchanges of materials, collaborative research plans, or development or technical assistance programs.

Formal and Informal International Affiliations

Formal affiliations are agreements that involve continuing commitment of resources of an Ohio University unit in support of cooperative activities. There are three types of formal agreements: institution to institution linkages, overseas study abroad involving the granting of Ohio University credit, and contracts for services or technical assistance. Formal agreements must receive institutional authorization by the President. This process is facilitated through the Office of the Associate Provost for International Programs as outlined herein.

Direct collegial relationships among faculty members, administrators, and/or students of two institutions are informal affiliations and do not require institutional authorization. However, participants in such relationships are encouraged to inform the Office of the Associate Provost in order to maintain an accurate data base of the extent of Ohio University's international activity. Individuals may also seek advice and assistance from this office and the University International Council (UIC) in forging such relationships.

Who Can Initiate International Affiliations?

Ohio University has always encouraged its faculty and staff to pursue contact with colleagues at foreign universities and to explore opportunities for personal and institutional growth with an international perspective.

While informal affiliations may be arranged by individuals, the nature of formal international affiliations requires that appropriate authorization be received. This authorization is managed through the Office of the Associate Provost for International Programs in consultation with the University International Council (UIC). Therefore, it is important that this office be notified of potential international agreements as early as possible in the negotiation cycle.

Who Can Authorize Formal International Affiliations?

Administrative officers (directors, chairpersons, deans, etc.) may initiate conversations with their counterparts abroad, and may come to a preliminary understanding. Consultation with the Office of the Associate Provost for International Programs prior to the initiation of negotiations is essential for negotiators to be fully informed about the nature of Ohio University's relationships in the area and the steps necessary to conclude an agreement.

If terms of an agreement include Ohio University course credit for work abroad, final approval must come from the University International Council Study Abroad Committee. Please note the authorization procedure described on pp. 7- 9.

In the case of an institution to institution linkage, final approval must come from the President of Ohio University, who is officially authorized by the Board of Trustees to sign such agreements. Please see pp. 6-7 for procedures to be followed.

If the terms of an agreement involve proposals for support of research or other activities to governmental agencies, business or industrial concerns, or other organizations, the agreement is governed by Ohio University Policy & Procedures 19.050 and 19.051. In the case of proposals for external funding for international projects, the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies as well as the Associate Provost for International Programs must sign for the institution. Please see pp. 9-10 for procedures to be followed.

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Components of an International Agreement

Written agreements

Written agreements are required for all international affiliations that commit institutional resources. Careful consideration should be given to the public statement made by the signing of such agreements. The signing of documents simply for presentation or ceremony, or for inclusion in a long list of linkage agreements under which no substantive activities are envisioned, is discouraged.

Each formal international affiliation authorized by Ohio University must contain a statement outlining the way in which the agreement contributes to the teaching, research, or public service mission of the University. This statement may be appended to the agreement, rather than incorporated into its text. Potential categories of international agreements include:

  • Cooperative Education Projects
  • Cooperative Library Projects
  • Student Exchange Projects
  • Joint Research Projects
  • Faculty Exchange Projects
  • Technical Assistance Projects

All proposed international agreements must incorporate the following items:

  • A brief statement of the general purpose of the agreement
  • A plan of operation
  • A timetable for specific activities should be included, if appropriate
  • A designation of responsible officials at each institution for the on-going management of the affiliation
  • A description of the specific projects or exchanges which are to be carried out under the agreement, if these have been negotiated prior to the signing of the agreement. These descriptions should outline the mutual benefits, responsibilities, and obligations (i.e. scholarships, facilities, financial support) of both parties to the agreement.
  • A review and termination clause. This clause should state the beginning date of the agreement and describe the intervals at which the agreement will be evaluated, how it can be changed, and how it can be terminated/or when it will end. Backing out of a commitment or terminating a relationship can be awkward. A design that allows for review and renegotiation after a specified period of time is therefore essential. The review process is managed through the UIC with each agreement being reviewed every five years.

Every signed document should clearly state the intentions of the parties and should define any terms that require clarification.

Two original copies of each agreement should be produced and signed by all concerned parties. Each institution should retain one original copy. It is strongly suggested that both parties agree to sign two versions of each agreement, one in English and one in the national language of the partner institution.

It is important that signature lines be provided for the highest administrative officers, i.e. the President of Ohio University and the comparable official in the partner institution; and the officials at each institution responsible for the maintenance of the agreement.

Forms of Agreements

In many cases, partner institutions may offer a draft document. Agreements may have varied formats. As long as the written document accurately relates the terms agreed upon, any format is acceptable. Samples of standard agreements are described below. Copies of other agreements may be obtained through the Associate Provost for International Programs.

Memorandum of Understanding

An agreement or joint statement that confirms the intention of the cooperating institutions to work to develop collaborative activities related to research, instruction, and extension, but which does not make commitments to specific activities.

Implementation Plan

Implementation plans are the specific program arrangements providing for transfer of information, faculty, staff, and/or students between the institutions for education, research, or related activities, which would include the number of persons involved and the lengths of their visits. Implementation plans confirm activities for a defined period of time, no longer than five academic years. Separate implementation plans may be developed for more than one campus, school, or department under the terms of an institutional Memorandum of Understanding.

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International Linkages

The University International Council has system-wide responsibility for the coordination of international activities. In relation to the exploration, formulation, creation, and maintenance of international affiliations, the University International Council has four primary roles:

Source of Information

Ohio University has rich and extensive overseas linkages and agreements. Many of these have been instituted by departments, schools, and other units. A database of international affiliations brings together in one place a full and detailed inventory of these relationships. A copy of all authorized international affiliations is kept on file by the Director of the US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Partnerships.

The database of international affiliations is updated periodically, and a new edition is distributed each year. Copies of the database are available from the Director of US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Partnerships.

University International Council

The University International Council (UIC) is a presidentially appointed committee including representatives of all colleges, as well as statutory members. It is chaired by a faculty member. Committee members include faculty, staff, and student members with particular expertise in, or familiarity with a given world area or aspect of international programs. The Council is charged with:

  • Coordinating the international activities of the various colleges and schools
  • Evaluating the extent and nature of affiliations with foreign universities and their relative benefit to Ohio University
  • Studying and recommending new study abroad programs and ways of preparing students for study abroad
  • Studying and recommending ways to attract international students to Ohio University.

The UIC maintains a series of world area committees for consultation on agreements related to certain geographic regions. Each world area committee is chaired by a member of UIC. World area committees are asked to make recommendations regarding the modification of existing programs and the addition of new programs. Each international affiliation is reviewed on a 5-year basis by the UIC. Individuals who wish to propose the addition of a new program or the modification of an existing program should contact the Director of US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Partnerships about meeting with an appropriate UIC world area committee. Please note that advance planning is required as the committee meets only on a monthly basis.

The UIC also considers requests from Group I and II faculty for support of international professional travel. Proposals are considered six times each year:

  • January 10 for travels starting between March or April
  • March 1 for travels starting between May or June
  • May 15 for travels starting between July or August
  • July 1 for travels starting between September or October
  • September 10 for travels starting between November and December
  • November 1 for travels starting between January or February

Faculty receiving grants from the International Travel Fund are asked to distribute Ohio University informational materials in the country to which they travel.

Authorization Liaison

Proposed agreements that do not involve students receiving credit will be reviewed by the International Linkages Committee. Such proposals must be submitted four weeks prior to the next UIC meeting (currently the 1st Friday of every month). If a proposal is approved by the UIC, the Director of US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Partnerships will deliver the news to the author and explain the procedure for obtaining signatures. This office will contact the Office of the President, if necessary, and facilitate final authorization.

Authorization for Ohio University Credit Courses

Agreements that include proposals for Ohio University credit courses to be conducted abroad must receive approval from the Study Abroad Committee of the UIC. Special instructions for such proposals are outlined in the Procedures Checklist for Overseas Study Programs on p. 7.

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Institution to Institution Linkages

Initial Contact

In most instances initial contact is made between colleagues -- faculty members and/or administrators of Ohio University and an overseas institution. General discussions, focusing on the goals and objectives of potential activities, are usually held at this stage.

Discussions/Investigation

There are many questions to ask at this point. Is this the appropriate country in which to establish such a relationship? Is this the appropriate institution with which to cooperate? Does Ohio University already maintain a relationship with the identified institution? Do opportunities already exist that would permit the proposed activities, or that could be expanded to include them? If the proposal includes an exchange of individuals, whether it be faculty, staff or students, would there continue to be candidates available? Does the location offer a reasonable level of personal security for participants?

Consultations

Individuals considering the creation of formal international affiliations should contact the Director for US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Partnerships for advice, assistance, and consultation with the UIC. They should also consult with responsible officials within their own college, department or school, and campus who have been assigned the internal responsibility for international programs, for example the Center for International Business Education and Development, and the Vice Provost for University Outreach.  Discussions with colleagues in their own and other appropriate Ohio University departments, and with colleagues at other U.S. institutions who have had dealings with the partner institution, are also advised. In cases in which Ohio University students would receive credit through paricipation in a proposed agreemet, it is strongly suggested that the authors determine whether or not credit from the potential partner institution would be accepted by Ohio University. Ms. Joyce Pae in Undergraduate International Admissions may be able to assist with this process.

Negotiations

Outline a plan. Describe your goals. Inquire about the goals of your counterpart. Be sure to consider long-term as well as short-term goals and objectives. How does your proposed activity contribute to the teaching, research or public service mission of Ohio University?

Negotiate the terms of an agreement. It is best to be as clear and as precise as possible. Please refer to p. 2 for a discussion of the potential components of an international affiliation.

Identification of Funding

Formulate a budget. Consider internal and external sources of support. Determine what resources are available at the partner institution. Consider the exchange rate of the currency in the foreign country and potential currency exchange fluctuations.

Ohio University faculty members and administrators who have identified exchange projects that require external support are encouraged to communicate with the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity to receive contact information for U.S. government agencies and private funding institutions.

Draft Agreement

Draft a formal agreement that covers the specific terms agreed upon.

Authorization

Proposed agreements should first be routed through the appropriate administrative officers in your own department, school, and college. Once you have these approvals the proposal must be submitted to the Director of US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Programs and the University International Council. Upon their recommendation, the proposal will be submitted to the President of Ohio University for final authorization. A copy of the signed affiliation must be submitted to the Director for US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Programs for the database of international affiliations.

Ongoing Management

It is important that the responsible Ohio University unit provide a structure for the management of each international affiliation. There should be a clear understanding of who is responsible for the operational components -- project management, maintenance of correspondence, allocation of funds, orientation of participants, etc. Further, precise contact information for those responsible for program implementation abroad should be maintained. The Director for US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Programs should be consulted if any difficulties arise in the implementation of a program.

Annual Update

Annual reports, briefly describing program activities should be sent to the Director for US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Programs, where they will be kept on file and made available to the University community.

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Overseas Study Programs

The President of Ohio University has authorized the University International Council to approve or disapprove all proposals for Ohio University credit courses conducted abroad. The major criteria applied in evaluating proposals for new programs are academic quality, cultural enrichment, impact on existing programs, administrative efficiency, and financial solvency. Proposals are usually prepared by one or more faculty members with assistance from the home department(s) and colleagues.

Deadline for Submission of Proposals

Draft proposals for new programs are submitted to the University International Council Study Abroad Committee for review on the first of the month prior to its reading at the monthly meeting of the University Council. An evaluation of the proposal will be rendered by the UIC no more than one month following its submission. Proposals submitted after May 1 will not be considered until the following September.

Preparing the Proposals

Faculty interested in submitting overseas study proposals should discuss them in advance with members of the UIC Study Abroad Committee. Faculty sponsors will be invited to the meetings of the UIC in which their proposals are being considered.

Completed proposals must include a detailed program description, following the guidelines outlined below; and two letters, sent under separate cover, to the chair of the University International Council: one from the chairperson or division head, and one from the dean of the sponsoring faculty members department or campus. These letters should confirm that the proposed program has been approved by the faculty members academic unit and by the relevant college, school, or campus, and that the proposal is considered a valuable academic program that will enhance the units course offerings. No program may be initiated until the proposed budget has been approved and/or guaranteed by an appropriate academic unit.

Guidelines for Proposals

Sponsors of new programs should attempt to provide as much of the following information as possible, although not every question will apply to every proposal. Consult the members of the UIC Study Abroad Committee for assistance and guidance.

  • The purpose and specific educational objectives of the program
  • The requirements for admission to the program
  • How and where the instruction will be given
  • The relationship, if any, to a foreign institution
  • Student evaluation procedures
  • Significant differences between a home campus experience and what can be expected abroad. Include provisions for immersing students into the local culture and for interaction with local students and other citizens
  • Administrative arrangements (such as housing, transportation, and finance) and support services (such as health services)
  • Field experiences or internship opportunities
  • Plan for student orientation
  • Program evaluation procedures

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Contracts and Sponsored Research

Contracts arise to secure the services of members of the University to perform specific tasks for a contractor. The agreement takes the form of sponsored research and/or services that connect the capabilities of the University with the needs of the international community. The legal document specifies the conditions of the connection and the activities that are required, as well as the time frame imposed on the completion of the contract. Proposals are usually prepared in response to formal Requests for Proposals (RFP) by one or more faculty members with assistance from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity. In the international arena, these proposals will also benefit from contact with the UIC. At times more informal arrangements will lead to formal contracts as well.

Approval by Sponsoring Unit Dean

If contracts use resources of the unit to complete the requirements contained in the formal agreement the Dean needs to be part of the planning process and formally approve the use of resources.

Consultation with the University International Council

Review and Sign-off by the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity or Designate.

All sponsored research and services must be approved by the Vice President. This office reviews, in particular, the implications and obligations of the University under the contract. The Vice President is authorized to sign contracts. Faculty at the unit level are not authorized to sign contracts that obligate the University in any way. Early contact with this office is advised or difficulties could be encountered at the last moment. Since RFPs and contracts usually occur under hectic time frames, this office is a key contact point for proposal preparers. No agreement can be proposed without the authorization from this office. If a contract is awarded, this office will be involved in contract negotiations to assure compliance with regulations and to estimate the obligations of the University and guarantee its ability to carry out the conditions of the contract.

Review and Sign-off by the chair of the Unversity International Council.

In international projects or other types of contracts, the Director for US Fulbright Programs and Liason for International Programs is a key contact point. The University has many international activities, contacts, and historical ties. It is in the interest of any proposal preparer to become acquainted with these facets of the University's role in the international arena in order to develop the best proposal possible.

In the event of an award, a copy of the signed agreement or notice of award should be forwarded to the University International Council for the institutional file.  

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Issues to Consider

There are many issues to address when planning an international affiliation. These include financial considerations as well as such procedural concerns as documentation, structure, and timing.

Financial Considerations

When designing an international affiliation under which individuals (staff, students, or faculty members) will travel between countries, special attention must be given to the costs of participation and the party or parties responsible for each expense. Some items to consider are listed below:

  • Round-trip international airfare
  • Books and educational materials
  • In-country transportation
  • Student application fees
  • Housing
  • Teaching materials
  • Salaries (faculty or graduate assistants)
  • U.S. taxes
  • Fringe and retirement benefits
  • Foreign taxes
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Passport and visa application fees
  • Research expenses
  • Immunizations
  • Stipends (visiting scholars and students)
  • Costs of accompanying dependents
  • Tuition and fees
  • Moving expenses
  • Cost of language training
  • Access to administrative support staff
  • Hosting of visiting officials

Most agreements address provisions for specific expenses, but the individual participant is usually responsible for the remaining costs.

Procedural Concerns

Visas All foreign visitors to the United States must enter this country under the appropriate visa authorization. Furthermore, once admitted to the United States, all individuals must meet the terms and conditions of their visa category. Persons seeking visas for entry to the United States must submit the required documentation to U.S. Embassy or consular officials abroad. Visitors who intend to study, conduct research, or teach at an Ohio University campus must obtain the appropriate documents from the Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS).

The particular type of documentation required depends primarily on the purpose or intention of the visit (for enrollment as a student, the conducting of research, teaching, etc.) Consideration must also be given to the length of the proposed visit, the source of financial support for the visit, and the form of payment (particularly whether or not payments for services are involved).

Students from abroad must be officially admitted to an OU academic program. Visa documentation must be issued by the appropriate campus international admissions office. (Please see the discussion of admission procedures on the following pages).

A faculty member or researcher seeking a U.S. visa must receive an official invitation from an OU academic or administrative unit.

If payment to an international visitor is involved, then inviting faculty or offices should consult with ISFS to be sure the appropriate visa is going to be obtained.

Potential visitors must prove that they have access to sufficient financial resources to cover all expenses related to their stay in the United States. The Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) publishes a projected estimate of expenses for the Athens campus for each academic year.

Please note that similar conditions apply to U.S. citizens who wish to travel to foreign countries. Specific requirements for individual countries should be carefully reviewed in advance of travel.

Health Insurance

As previously indicated, potential visitors must prove that they have access to sufficient financial resources to cover all expenses related to their stay in the United States. This includes medical expenses.

Ohio University has a mandatory group health program that includes nonimmigrant students and scholars and their dependents from abroad on all campuses. Students are enrolled in the Ohio University plan. Visiting Scholars and Research Scholars who hold a J-1 visa are required by regulation to carry medical insurance. Visiting scholars must request enrollment in the Ohio University group insurance plan and must pay an additional fee if they choose to enroll any dependents. Foreign scholars who are already covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan with sufficient provisions may apply for a waiver of participation in the OU mandatory insurance program. The Office of International Student and Faculty Services is responsible for confirming that these scholars have adequate coverage.

U.S. participants who intend to travel abroad will usually find that their regular health insurance plans will be effective worldwide, but this should be confirmed on a case-by-case basis. It is required that official exchange participants have adequate insurance coverage that includes provisions for medical evacuation and repatriation. At a minimum, all participants in an official Ohio University study abroad program are required to purchase an International Student Identification Card. The card provides minimal health coverage and includes provision for medical evacuation and repatriation. The cards can be purchased through the Office of Education Abroad. Ohio University units may also wish to provide or mandate another insurance policy with an appropriate level of coverage.

Admission

Policies and procedures for admission of students from abroad are the same on all OU campuses.

All applicants must complete the appropriate Ohio University application form and must supply required documentation, including original or certified academic records: TOEFL scores; other required tests such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TSE, or SAT; letters of recommendation; and evidence of financial support. A one-time, nonrefundable application fee is required of all applicants. All documents submitted become the property of the University and are not returnable.

Each candidate must meet established university and program admission eligibility requirements and deadlines. Students must have the appropriate credentials to be considered for the particular level of study and, if degree applicants, must be competitive with other applicants to the program or department. Caution should be taken to ensure that partners are fully informed about degree equivalencies between the academic programs of the participating countries.

Ohio University units initiating international affiliations that contain a student exchange component are advised to consult with the Ohio University Policies and Procedures Governing Student Exchanges.

Transfer of Credit

The approval of transfer of undergraduate credit from overseas institutions to Ohio University is the responsibility of the Office of International Admissions. Transfer of graduate credit can only be authorized on an individual basis by the academic department in which an individual student is enrolled within the guidelines written in the Graduate Catalog.

In order to apply for transfer credit, students must fully enroll in a foreign institution or a program offered by an accredited U.S. institution, and upon completion of the course(s), obtain an official transcript from a U.S. institution or certified academic records from the foreign institution. Students wishing to transfer credits from study abroad must submit a Foreign Study Checklist to their academic advisor, the appropriate college official (see the Handbook for Education Abroad), and the Office of Student Financial Aid prior to their departure.

Faculty and Student Academic Appointments

It is most common for foreign members and researchers (of any rank) temporarily teaching or conducting research at Ohio University to be assigned the term "Avisiting" as in "Avisiting professor of biology".

An appointment without salary provides access to basic institutional privileges (an identification card, library privileges, and a computer account). A full time salaried appointment, for a minimum period of nine months, to which fringe and retirement contributions are attached, provides access to additional benefits, such as health and life insurance.

The Office of the Provost governs the policies for faculty and student academic appointees. Publications such as the Faculty Handbook and the Handbook for Education Abroad outline policies and provide other relevant information.

Enrollment of Students

Individuals admitted to the United States on student visas are required to maintain full-time enrollment status during all regular academic semesters. This requirement cannot be satisfied through enrollment in audit hours or independent study.

Ohio University participants studying or conducting research abroad on a non-OU program are required to enroll for Foreign Study credit in order to maintain their status as an Ohio University student. Foreign Study may be accessed through TRIPS.

Access to Financial Support

Individual Ohio University students may be eligible to apply for financial aid or for access to guaranteed student loans to support periods of study or research abroad. The Office of Student Financial Aid has details. The Office of Education Abroad can supply information on sources of potential funding for study abroad activities. High achieving students may wish to learn about opportunities through the Fulbright, Marshall or Rhoades programs.

International students who intend to enroll at Ohio University have limited access to financial assistance. Some may be eligible for consideration for departmental graduate assistantships or tuition scholarships. Others should be encouraged to inquire at their home university or to contact the educational attache at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for information about foreign and international grant support.

English Language Testing

All international students whose native language is not English must take the Ohio University English Language Proficiency Examination at the beginning of their first academic quarter at Ohio University. The Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE) is responsible for the testing of incoming students and the instructional program in English as a foreign language.

Work Permission

The terms of each visa category dictate whether or not an individual may work while visiting another country.

International students with appropriate visa status, who are enrolled full time and are in good standing, may work on campus. Information about work off campus for all visa types is available in the Office of International Student and Faculty Services.

Tax Concerns

Ohio University has a responsibility to foreign visitors to ensure that payments made to them by the university are properly reported to the appropriate federal and state agencies. Properly reporting payments made to foreign visitors will greatly reduce the potential for future tax or immigration problems for visitors.

The Office of International Student and Faculty Services is available to assist departments, faculty, and foreign visitors in gathering and coordinating the appropriate information needed to maintain compliance with the tax and immigration laws.

Concerns of Structure and Timing

Each program design will call for consideration of different issues. Some questions to ask yourself follow:

  • How many Ohio University participants can the program accommodate annually?
  • How many foreign participants can be accommodated?
  • How does the academic calendar of the partner institution match up - or possibly conflict - with Ohio University's?
  • What will the minimum and maximum length of each visit?
  • What type of housing is appropriate for visitors?
  • What nomination materials need to be requested?
  • What are the deadlines?
  • How will the Ohio University candidates be identified?
  • How will Ohio University nominees be selected?
  • What criteria will be used in the selection of nominees?
  • What type of orientation will be organized for Ohio University participants traveling abroad?
  • What type of orientation is available for visitors arriving from abroad?
  • Who will be responsible for visitors while they are at Ohio University?
  • Who will be responsible for Ohio University participants at the partner institution?

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This page was updated by Marian Carr on October 24, 2011.
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