As a global institution, the University of Utah seeks and maintains cooperation with higher education institutions, government, and non-government entities throughout the world. The Chief Global Officer (CGO) for the university is responsible, in collaboration with the Office of General Counsel, the President’s Office, the International Influence Office, Purchasing, and departments/colleges, for developing policies and procedures for the initiation, vetting, and approval of new international partnerships and the agreements governing these formal relationships. The Office for Global Engagement (OGE) manages the process and ensures coordination with all concerned units across campus. The Chief Global Officer (CGO), Brian Gibson, provides guidance on international partnership development and the formal agreements most appropriate for a particular partnerships. Agreements are executed by the Chief Global Officer, the President’s Office, and departments/colleges. OGE maintains a database of all international agreements for the University and monitors expiration dates and coordinates with the principal parties engaged in each partnership to renew or terminate agreements.
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 or course development, and other cooperative activities. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial, equitable, and lead to outcomes that each partnering institutions could not achieve on its own. There should be a strong commitment by the principal parties at both partnering institutions to combine resources and achieve common goals.
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 partnerships with the potential to generate outcomes that are transformative for both (or all) partner institutions. The following criteria should be evaluated as a partnership is developed:
- What is the purpose of this collaboration? What are the anticipated outcomes?
- Will the collaboration lead to impactful outcomes that could not be achieved without the two (or more) partners combining resources to achieve common goals?
- Is each partnering entity equally committed to the collaboration?
- Is this partnership equitable, in terms of:
- The contributions provided by each principal party engaged in this collaboration
- The effort and resources provided by each principal party
- The outcomes and long-term benefits for each principal party?
- Will this collaboration lead to sustainable and transformative change at both (or all) institutions
- Will this partnership lead to social, environmental, economic or other changes that make the world a better place?
- 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.
- All international partnerships should consider the following principals:
- Is the country and specific location of the partner institution or organization a sustainable, long-term, and safe place for us to send U-affiliated students and employees on University business?
- Is the partner institution or organization transparent so that we can determine and parse: ownership and management structure, formal corporate documents, licenses and permits, biographies of staff and leadership, detailed description of mission, values, and principals, and specific business and financial information?
- Is the partner institution or organization an entity that reflects the values and principals that we strive for? In other words, is there alignment of mission, vision, and guiding principals?
- In terms of risk management, will this partnership protect the life and well-being of University employees and students, project University reputation risk, protect the legal liability risk, and the financial risk for the University?
- If the partnership involves students (i.e. 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 (visa issues, housing, counseling, activities, health and safety issues, etc.)?
- What are potential health and safety risks for students?
- Can students fulfill courses in their majors/minors, general education, or B.A. requirements 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)? Is there enough interest at the partner institution to get regular enrollment at the U?
- 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? And, 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 you’re seeking 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?
- All international partnerships should consider the following principals:
Academic departments interested in developing 2+2 or dual degree programs at the undergraduate level for international students from a partnering university, consult the following document:
Dr. Brian Gibson, Chief Global Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 801.587.8888
The President’s Office requires all international partnership agreements to be reviewed by OGE before signatures can be obtained. Originals are kept on file in OGE. Departments and colleges are not authorized to sign and implement their own agreements. The reasons for this are for the University to be able to mitigate liability risks, adhere to the university’s strategy for international partnership development, maintain a central database for all institutional partnership agreements, and ensure the University does not enter into duplicate agreements with an institution abroad.