International Partnership Guidelines

These guidelines have been developed in order to support The University of Tulsa colleges, departments, and programs that seek to establish meaningful institution-to-institution relationships for the benefit of TU students, faculty, and staff.

Because institution-to-institution agreements may be binding, legal contracts, it is very important that each new formal agreement be entered into with the utmost seriousness and care. Individuals who are not currently employed by TU may not initiate or be designated as the primary contact for an MOU or other form of international agreements. The Internationalization Leadership Council reviews each proposed agreement and makes a recommendation to the Provost regarding the completeness of the agreement and any issues generated by the partnership agreement.  The Provost signs each new agreement and renewal. Depending on the type of agreement, the relevant Dean(s), legal counsel, or other university staff may also need to review and approve of the document.

Principal Types of International Agreements

1.      General MOU Agreement – A General Agreement states the intention of the institutions to explore the potential for collaborative activities in different academic or research areas. It does not include specific activities and MUST be implemented through addenda or separate specific agreements that are required to be approved by the authorized officials. A General Agreement is used to establish the relationship when both institutions believe that a formal statement of interest would be an appropriate step. The General Agreement establishes a substantial framework for exploring collaboration when it seems clear that there may be multiple possibilities for collaboration. It identifies and informs both parties about institutional concerns, such as restrictions on immigration, technology transfers, and intellectual property.

2.      Agreement for Reciprocal Student Exchanges (RSE) – This agreement provides for the equal exchange of students between TU and an institution abroad. RSE participants are registered at their home institution, therefore there are no costs associated with tuition. However, RSE activities may have financial, accreditation and immigration implications that will require a thorough evaluation.

3.      Short Term Study Abroad Agreement – This agreement details the activities associated with a TU Study Abroad Program at a particular site. It includes the specific conditions and expectations from both parties associated with the implementation of the program. Study abroad programs must be approved by the academic departments and follow the policies and procedures established by the Center for Global Education.

4.      Agreement for Research, Technical, or Scientific Cooperation – This document structures the commitments, roles and responsibilities, as well as procedures to implement an exchange of faculty, researchers or administrators between TU and an overseas institution. The financial and logistical implications of the exchange must be discussed and agreed before the final agreement is submitted for signature. This document will be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Research.

5.      Graduate Studies Agreements – All agreements involving graduate or law students or related programs must be developed in coordination with and approved by Graduate Studies or Law School.

6.      Dual Degree Agreements - This document structures the program through which students receive two existing degrees, one from each partner institution. Each institution is primarily responsible for its own degree; however, an articulation of courses as well as the procedures to ensure program quality and coordination is required. This agreement allows for the transfer of credit according to existing undergraduate and graduate policies.

Important Agreement Considerations

In initiating any new MOU or other type of international agreement, TU faculty and administrators are asked to first carefully consider the following questions. As a general rule, if any of the following elements is lacking, an agreement or MOU should not be signed:

1)   some previous faculty interaction between the proposed partner institutions;

2)   strong potential for mutual benefit;

3)   compliance with applicable legal restrictions and University regulations;

4)   secured financial and infrastructure support (as necessary);

5)   identified on-site coordinators or contact persons at each institution;

6)    stated support from all colleges, departments and programs explicitly implicated in the agreement; and

7)   a plan for regular program evaluation and renewal.

Approval Process

An agreement may be initiated by a department, college, or other academic unit by submitting a brief proposal to the Vice Provost for Global Education that i) addresses the preceding questions about capacity for partnership and ii) outlines the proposed areas for cooperation.  The Vice Provost will draft the MOU or other international agreement based on this proposal.  Proposals for new MOUs or other international agreements will be reviewed by the Internationalization Leadership Council.  The purpose of this step is to ensure that all of the key questions noted above have been answered, to check for duplication, and to identify opportunities for collaboration and network building. Depending on the type of agreement, the relevant Dean(s), legal counsel, and/or other academic committee may also need to review the MOU or international agreement.  The Internationalization Leadership Council will forward a recommendation to the Provost regarding the agreement.  The Provost will make the final decision regarding the an MOU or other international agreement.

Once an MOU or other international agreement draft has been reviewed and approved by all relevant parties, at least two original, hard-copy versions of the document will be routed for signatures. A non-English version may also be required by the partner institution. The Provost must sign each new MOU or international agreement and renewal. Other signatories, including deans and department chairs, may be included. One original, signed document is kept by the Vice Provost for Global Education and another is kept by the partner institution. Initiating and participating departments and colleges may also keep an original or copy on file. The Vice Provost for Global Education maintains a database of all formal partnerships and is responsible for sending a reminder to the designated TU contact for each international agreement or MOU before it is due to expire. Additional agreements may be appended to the original MOU or other international agreement and, depending on their nature, the Provost and other parties may be required to sign these addenda.

The designated TU contact for the international agreement will be required to submit a brief annual report to the Vice Provost for Global Education summarizing activities completed under the terms of the MOU or other international agreement.