The following guidance is provided to assist the Georgia State University community in developing and implementing international partnership agreements. These agreements involve faculty and student exchanges, study abroad programs, collaborative research, economic development projects and other activities with organizations and higher education institutions in other parts of the world.

International education is an important strategic priority of Georgia State University.  As such, international agreements should be concluded only in those instances where there is a demonstrated intent or commitment of the parties to initiate programs.  Our aim is to enter into agreements that result in substantive activities.

This guidance also:

 

  • Seeks to achieve uniformity and consistency in developing, processing and implementing international partnership agreements.
  • Establishes parameters for Georgia State University international partnership agreements at three levels–the department, the college and the university.
  • Provides guidance and reference to templates and sample documents.
  • Creates a process to ensure timely and efficient processing of international partnership agreements.

Please direct questions and requests for assistance in preparing international partnership agreements to the Office of International Initiatives

As noted above, this guidance describes three different levels of partnership agreements that reflect progressively higher degrees of collaboration between the partnering institutions. To streamline the agreement preparation process, achieve uniformity, and to ensure inclusion of certain required content, templates are available for use as a guide in developing the agreement.

International Partnership Agreements whether concluded by the department, college or university share the following common features:

 

  • Title of Agreement: Titles identify relationship type (“LOI”, “MOC”, “Program Specific Agreement”) and the partner institution name and their locations (city/town, state/province, country). They are best presented in a centered format, with a bold typeface, and capitalized.
  • Formal References: Formal, legal names of the institutions should be listed; avoid acronyms on the title page and within initial references. Georgia State University’s legal name is: “Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, by and on behalf of Georgia State University (“Georgia State University”)
  • Purpose Statement: Each agreement should establish the objective of the relationship.
  • Program Director/Liaison: Individuals responsible for coordinating the relationship and program details, when applicable, at partner institutions should be identified.
  • Term and Date of Agreement: Execution and expiry dates for effective tracking and maintenance of agreements are very important. Signatories should therefore sign and date agreements.
  • Signatories: Authorized signatories, including names and titles, should be clearly identified. (All agreements must be signed by representatives of both institutions/organizations to become “executed”.)

Level 1: Letter of intent (LOI):

This is a short document stating the intent of two or more parties to enter into partnership. . The LOI is appropriate to reflect the desire of the parties to continue exploratory discussions and consultations. Typically, an LOI could be developed and signed at the conclusion of a first visit or following an initial series of discussions. It does not commit resources. The LOI may be entered into at the department or college level and does not require the signature of the University President, except where the President’s counterpart in the partnering institution is a signatory.

Format: The following is a preferred presentation format:

  • Title of Agreement
  • Statement of Intent
  • Areas of Potential Collaboration
  • Background to Letter of Intent
  • Effective Date of Letter
  • Signatories

Level 2: Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

This document reflects the parties’ agreement to cooperate generally. MOC’s or MOU’s can be executed at the college level or at the university level if activities are underway or anticipated by departments of more than one college. The latter are viewed asUniversity-to-University Agreements and should be signed by the Office of International Initiatives and the University President. Agreements signed at the college level should be signed by the dean except in cases where partner protocol dictates approval at a higher level on behalf of the university. These agreements typically do not commit resources.

Format: The following is a preferred presentation format:

  • Title of Agreement
  • Introductory statement
  • Joint Declaration expressing broad areas of proposed collaboration
  • Statement of Continued Efforts
  • Funding Statement
  • Term/Execution Date of Agreement
  • Primary Contacts/Liaison Information
  • Legal Considerations/Statements
  • Statement of Alteration
  • Signatories and Approval Date

Level 3: Program-Specific Agreements (PSAs)

This document is used to spell out in detail, specific areas and terms of collaboration including the roles, responsibilities, activities and contributions of the respective parties. Such an agreement could elaborate the details of a student or faculty exchange program, a collaborative research effort, etc. PSA’s may be executed as a stand-alone document or developed within the scope or umbrella of a broader, less detailed MOC/ MOU.These agreements should be signed by the college dean and/or the department chair, except in cases where partner protocol dictates approval at a higher level on behalf of the university. The university maintains current policy, guidelines and protocol that govern exchange of staff, faculty and students on our various international programs on campus. These include the Study Abroad Management Policy and the Travel and Safety Guidance.

Format: The following is a preferred presentation format:

  • Title of Agreement
  • Introductory statement/ Institutional Declarations
  • Program Type and Description
  • Term/Execution Date of Agreement
  • Institutional Declaration/Support
  • Joint Declaration expressing programmatic details including Joint Curricula Ventures (see below)
  • Legal Considerations/Statements
  • Primary Contacts’ Information
  • Statement of Alteration
  • Signatories and Approval Dates

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (BOR) must be notified when the university, or any of its academic units, enter into agreements to develop joint curricular ventures or shared courses with outside entities including international institutions. Please consult the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the Associate Provost of Academic Programs, or the Office of International Initiatives if your agreement anticipates including any of these programs.  Documentation to notify and/or seek SACS and BOR approval may be accessed from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness or OII websites.

Financial Commitments

To the extent that resources are committed, agreements must contain language clearly stating that any financial commitments are subject to availability of funds and are negotiated in each case. It is advisable that negotiations occur annually, and if not stated within the agreement, under separate cover.

Language

International Cooperation Agreements should be executed in the official languages of the cooperating institutions unless agreed otherwise. Two original copies per language should be signed.

Agreement Renewal

It is recommended that the renewal process be initiated at least six (6) months prior to expiration of the agreement to allow sufficient time to negotiate, and finalize the renewal document.  In considering renewal of a cooperation 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.

Agreement Termination

All agreements should contain a termination clause giving either party the right to terminate the agreement within a specified time frame.  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. Upon termination of an agreement, all relevant GSU offices reflected on the International Partnership Agreements Approval Form will be notified in writing by the program director or by the head of the sponsoring department or college.

Agreement Amendment

All agreements should contain a Statement of Alteration giving both parties the option to amend an agreement. Amending agreements should be a mutual decision. The Office of International Initiatives, in coordination with the sponsoring office, will facilitate agreement amendments in writing following the approval process discussed under item V below.

Approval at Georgia State is a two-step process including an e-mail review of the draft agreement by GSU signatories followed by a sign off process using an International Partnership Agreements Approval Form.

The GSU International Partnership Agreements Approval Form is used to route new and renewal partnership documents through the internal approval process.   This form is initiated and routed by the Office of International Affairs (OII). Following the e-mail review, the sponsoring office/Program Director, in coordination with OII, makes the necessary revisions to the document. OII routes the agreement for approval, obtains clearance from the Office of Legal Affairs and prepares the documents for final GSU signatures, including the university seal. The Office of International Initiatives also coordinates the transmittal of the approved copies to the partner institution(s) for their signatures.  When duly signed by all parties, OII distributes the executed agreement.

The original documents (one in each official language per partner institution) will be retained in a central file at the Office of International Initiatives on behalf of Georgia State University.

International Partnerships Database

The Office of International Initiatives maintains an International Partnerships Database.  The database tracks and manages GSU agreements for the purposes of providing data for planning and communication. The database also maintains and helps coordinate information on relationships with international partners; inform inter- and intra-collegiate partnerships; facilitate and develop multidisciplinary teams both locally and globally; and assist GSU in achieving its goal of internationalizing education.

The above guidance applies to agreements initiated by Georgia State University.  However, when presented with agreement documents from abroad, the university will work with such proposals while ensuring that the final content appropriately reflects GSU interests and priorities.

 
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