An international partnership is defined as an active collaboration by University of Utah faculty, staff, and/or administrators with colleagues at a university or organization (or multiple universities or organizations) in a country outside of the United States. This collaboration may include providing international academic experiences for students; faculty research and scholarship; teaching and mentoring; joint curriculum development; or other initiatives as determined by the participating universities or organizations. The collaboration should be actively pursued by individuals at participating partner institutions and should be of mutual benefit. The partnership should be sustainable and have the potential to expand over time.
The President is the final approval authority for global partnerships and agreements. All proposed partnerships and agreements are reviewed by the CGO, who makes recommendations for approval to the President. The CGO may consult with key stakeholders to assist in evaluating specific partnership and agreement proposals. The agreement type, the primary organizations involved in the partnership/agreement, and other considerations will determine the consultation.
The University of Utah strives to create strategic partnerships with the potential to be transformative for both (or all) institutions as they collaborate. The following criteria should be considered:
- Impact: Engage students, faculty, and staff in initiatives that advance global learning, internationalization of the curriculum, collaborative research, and/or outreach and service that addresses global issues and needs. Involve multiple colleges, departments, or other units, cross academic disciplines, and involve multiple personnel levels (faculty, students, and administration). Address the partnering institutions’ core mission. Include a variety of collaborative initiatives that effectively improve teaching and student learning, scholarship, and outreach at the partnering institutions (e.g., joint research projects, jointly managed research or other facilities, jointly taught courses, integrating global learning outcomes in the curriculum, etc.).
- Potential for thematic focus: Focus on and develop a particular interdisciplinary theme (a world region, for example) that is integrated across a broad section of the curriculum or into other university functions and activities
- Strong “grass roots” faculty support and involvement: Having multiple faculty members with strong contacts and interests in the country and institution is essential to sustaining the relationship over the long run.
- Significant and sustainable mutual benefit: Need not necessarily be reciprocal (as with student exchanges), but all parties must derive benefits in the partnership.
- Commitment: Characterized by a strong commitment and relationship among the partners that leads them to combine resources to achieve common goals through dialogue and collaborative activities.
Not all partnerships need to necessarily exhibit all of the above criteria to constitute successful cooperation; however, the goal is for the University ultimately to have a few solid and high quality strategic partnerships that involve many disciplines across campus versus a large number of partnerships with limited impact.
DEFINITION OF DOCUMENTS GOVERNING PARTNERSHIPS
- Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Demonstrates that the parties will explore potential areas of cooperation without any specific commitments. This may also be used to formalize faculty collaboration that has been ongoing and for which a commitment of specific resources is not expected and for collaborations that do not involve student mobility. Ideally, these are university-wide and signed by the President. A template is available.
- Institutional Activity Agreement (IAA): Details activities and expectations of each partnering institution under those activities that may occur with specific academic units or university-wide. Ideally, each partnership is based on an IAA outlining the institutional relationship and one or more IAAs describing specific activities.
- Bilateral Student Exchange Agreement: Demonstrates a commitment by both partner universities to send and host students based on providing reciprocal tuition waivers. Although student numbers may vary from year to year and the exchange may not be balance every year of the agreement, for financial reasons it is critical that an equal balance of students have participated in the exchange from each institution by the end of the agreement term. A template is available.
- Services Agreement: Essentially a contract for one party to provide limited and specific services to another for agreed upon compensation.
- Custom Agreement: Complex initiatives such as articulation agreements (2+2, for example), jointly taught courses, jointly managed facilities, and others that involve students and/or a commitment of resources. OGE staff works with the Office of General Counsel to develop the most appropriate language for the agreement.
- Agreements Involving Research or Creative Works: If the cooperative activities include research, inventions, or the creation of other copyrightable or patentable works, such as books, courses, software, art, photographs, etc., intellectual property issues will need considered and addressed, and the Office of General Counsel should be consulted.
GENERAL CRITERIA TO CONSIDER WHEN DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIP:
- If it involves students such as a student exchange:
• Is the proposed partner university providing the types of resources and services necessary to host international students, including an office that serves as the primary resource for international students to arrange an orientation program and to advise students regarding student services such as visa issues, housing, counseling, activities, health issues, etc.
• What are potential health and safety risks for students?
• Can students fulfill courses in their majors/minors at the partner institution and integrate the academic experience into fulfilling their degree requirements?
• Are courses offered in a language that will allow a sustainable number of students from the U to participate? Ideally, in locations where English is not the native language, it is best if a university offers courses in English combined with language courses in the native language (Remember that the success of a bilateral exchange depends on equal numbers of students from each institution participating in the exchange)
• Will students from the partner university generally meet admissions requirements at the U? (including English proficiency requirements)
• The success of a student exchange critically depends on faculty and academic advisors promoting it to students. Are you prepared to work with others in your department and beyond to make sure students know about this exchange?
• How does this program meet the learning outcomes for students in your department and other departments? Have you established learning outcomes for this program?
• Will courses offered to University of Utah students be integrated in the curriculum in your department?
- If it is an exploratory agreement or simply meant to formalize ongoing collaboration:
• What is the likelihood of activities listed in the agreement to be implemented?
• Are faculty members at the U actively engaged with faculty at the proposed partner university? If not yet, what are your plans to facilitate this engagement?
• What would be the first and easiest activity to implement?
• Could this partnership extend to other academic disciplines to develop broader collaboration for the U with this proposed partner university?
• How does this partnership meet the strategic goals for your department or college?