International Agreement Procedures
An OHIO department, program or individual seeking to formalize collaboration with an international partner must consult with appropriate administrators in their academic or administrative unit and with the Office of Global Affairs (OGA). The templates for a general LOI, MOU, AA, and RSEA are available online and by request from OGA. These agreements must be approved by GARC on behalf of UIC.
Exploration and Initial Considerations
1. Initial Contact and Partnership Exploration: In most instances, initial contact is made between individual faculty and/or administrators at OHIO and the partner institution. The faculty or administrative lead is responsible for maintaining contact with the partner institution and overseeing collaborative activities. General discussions focusing on the goals and objectives of potential activities are usually held at this stage. It is essential to evaluate whether Ohio University and the partner institution are a good fit. Below are some guiding questions that can help to develop a strong and sustainable collaboration:
a. What value does the partnership provide to both institutions? Is there a demonstrated history of activity? Is a wide range of activities anticipated, such as student mobility, research collaboration(s), faculty mobility, and academic programs?
b. Is this institution going to be a suitable partner for Ohio University? Do both institutions have the capacity to launch and contribute to the partnership?
c. Will a partnership with this institution have sufficient appeal to attract participation from OHIO students and faculty? What shared/complementary outcomes/goals/visions do the partner institutions have?
d. Will there be further specific activity agreements?
e. What are the potential risks?
2. Internal Discussion: The faculty or administrative lead should consult with his/her unit, department, and college to ensure support and approval by the appropriate Unit Heads. It is helpful to outline the programmatic scope of work and goals of both institutions. The scope of work should set forth the requirements of the proposed program with clear and strategic goals to be accomplished during the time period of the partnership/agreement(s). Both short and long-term goals and objectives should be considered. The following questions can be considered:
a. What is envisioned programmatically? For example: faculty exchanges, student exchanges, delivery of workshops or a training program, or a focused research project?
b. Is this institutional relationship necessary and consistent with unit goals, as well as, aligned with OHIO’s Strategic Initiatives and Global Strategy?
c. How does the proposed activity contribute to the teaching, research, and outreach mission of OHIO?
d. What will be the appeal to OHIO students and faculty and to those from the partner institution?
e. What kind of resources will be required? Will there be external funding available?
1. Submit Global Cooperation Agreement Proposal (GCAP): To begin the process, the faculty or administrative lead completes and submits a signed GCAP to the Office of Global Affairs (OGA) at firstname.lastname@example.org. The GCAP provides the foundation for the formal review and approval process for proposed international agreements. The form must be completed and approved before any faculty member or college makes a commitment to establish an international agreement with a partner institution. The GCAP should be drafted in cooperation with the partner institution.
2. Review of GCAP: The GARC reviews the GCAP from an institutional perspective to: 1) examine how the proposed agreement will directly contribute to the global strategy and priorities of the university; 2) identify any similar agreements; and 3) determine the proper agreement type (LOI, MOU, AA, RSEA, or DDA). GARC meets regularly to review the proposed GCAP and agreements. The time to review each proposal varies. Allow sufficient time for review and follow up for each international agreement request. Last-minute requests for expedited or immediate approval will not be guaranteed. Contact OGA at email@example.com to check the status of the pending proposal.
3. Submit Draft LOI/MOU/AA/RSEA/DDA: Once a GCAP is approved, OGA will provide an agreement template for the faculty or administrative lead to complete and return to OGA. OHIO and the partner institution must agree on all terms of the Agreement.
4. Review and Approval of Agreement: The GARC will review the draft agreement and forward it to the next appropriate reviewers (e.g., special reviews). See Table 1 for the reviewers and signatories based on the type of documents. The processing time for internal review and routing varies for each document type. Allow sufficient time to complete the process.
a. Special Reviews
i. Curricular Review and Approval: If the program proposes to create a new course and/or program, it will be consulted with the appropriate curriculum approval committee.
ii. Research Review and Approval: The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) will review all Activity Agreement drafts that involve any research activities. Those agreements should satisfy the requirements set by ORSP before they are fully approved by GARC.
TABLE 1. Document Types, Purpose, Routing for Review and Approval, and signatory
|Document Type||Purpose/Nature||Review Routing||Signatory|
|Global Cooperation Agreement Proposal (GCAP)||Internal document initiating review process; required for all new/existing relationships; GARC determines agreement type||Intra-Unit; GARC||Faculty or Administrative Lead Unit Head(s)|
|Letter of Intent (LOI)||Unit-to-Unit General Agreements; one-time or pilot program to explore possibilities; may involve more than one college and/or interdisciplinary program||Intra-Unit; GARC||Unit Head(s); VPGAIS|
|Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)||University-to-University General Agreement; general statement of cooperation between OHIO and partner institution(s)||Intra-Unit; GARC; Legal Affairs; EVPP||President|
|Activity Agreement (AA)||University-to-University or Unit-to-Unit Activity Agreement(s); outlines details of specific collaborations and projects||Intra-Unit; GARC; Legal Affairs||Unit Head(s); VPGAIS|
|Reciprocal Student Exchange Agreement (RSEA||University-to-University or Unit-to-Unit Student Exchange Agreements||Intra-Unit; GARC; Legal Affairs; EVPP||President|
|Dual/Double/Joint Degree Agreement (DDA)||University-to-University or Unit-to-Unit Dual/Double/Joint Degree Agreement||Intra-Unit; GARC; Legal Affairs; EVPP||President|
Go HERE for Review and Approval Processes flowcharts
- Print Finalized Agreement: As soon as the agreement has been finalized and approved by the appropriate OHIO and partner-institution authorities, the Office of Global Affairs (OGA) will prepare an original agreement in duplicate for signature(s).
- Obtain Signatures: OGA will secure the signature of the appropriate authorities at OHIO (President, Unit Head(s), VPGAIS, etc.) on both original agreements. OGA will send the signed agreement in duplicate by mail to the partner institution for signature. Once the partner institution has signed the duplicate original agreements, it should keep one copy for its records and return another to OGA. If there will be a formal signing ceremony, the OGA should be contacted so that the event can be coordinated with the Office of the President in accordance with OHIO protocol.
- Distribute Signed Agreements: OGA will retain the original fully signed agreement for university files and send copies to the related academic or administrative unit at OHIO. OGA will ensure that any interested party receives an electronic copy of all international collaboration agreements it processes. OGA serves as the official repository for all international agreements and maintains an electronic log of all documents.
It is important that the responsible OHIO units manage each international partnership carefully. Each unit will clarify who is responsible for the operational components including project management, maintaining correspondence, allocation of funds, orientation of participants, etc. Furthermore, each unit will also maintain precise contact information for those responsible for program implementation domestically and abroad. Appropriate OHIO administrators (Unit Heads and VPGAIS) should be consulted if any difficulties arise during the implementation of a program.
- Review of Existing Agreements: It is recommended that the review process be initiated at least six (6) months prior to expiration of the agreement to allow sufficient time to negotiate renewal, amendment, or termination of the agreement.
- Renewal of Agreements: To renew an agreement at the end of its term (usually five years), the faculty or administrative lead must demonstrate how the partnership has served the interests of both universities and enhanced the universities’ global strategic goals. The Global Cooperation Agreement Proposal (GCAP) should be resubmitted highlighting the activities, resources, and outcomes of the original agreement and the short and long-term goals of the renewal agreement. Any changes or new developments in the relationship must be noted in the evaluation. In considering renewal of an agreement, the parties should assess effectiveness and progress toward achieving the objectives of the original agreement. Only active, vibrant agreements that are achieving stated objectives and have concrete plans for future collaboration should be continued. The process for renewal follows the same procedure as that for establishing a new agreement.
- Amendment of Agreements: Amending agreements must be a mutual decision. The GARC, in coordination with the Office of Global Affairs and the sponsoring unit, will facilitate agreement amendments in writing. To request amendment, please email OGA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Termination of Agreements: All agreements must contain a termination clause giving either party the right to terminate the agreement within a specified time period. The agreements should also specify the process by which programs will be ended with the least amount of disruption in the event of a termination. The Faculty or Administrative lead should complete and submit the Global Cooperation Agreement Termination Request Form to start the termination process.
Language of Agreement OHIO does not normally execute contractual agreements in both English and foreign languages unless approved by the Office of Legal Affairs. Based on the risks associated with inaccurate translations of legal and non-legal concepts, the English version executed by both parties will be the legally binding and formal agreement between the parties. Any party that contracts with the University may translate the English version into another language for its own internal purposes.
Duration International agreements are normally valid for five (5) years. Therefore, the long-term sustainment of college resources and faculty involvement is an important consideration.