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.
Internationalization is an important strategic priority of Georgia State University. Partnerships with other institutions is a strong foundation in which our efforts are placed. Our Office of International Initiatives (OII) GSU page highlights many partnerships GSU has collaborated with around the world.
As such, international agreements should should only be pursued in those instances where there is a demonstrated intent or commitment of the parties initiating the agreements. Our aim is to enter into agreements that result in substantive activities.
This guidance also:
- seeks to provide a means to achieve uniformity, efficiency and consistency in the development, processing and implementation of international partnership agreements;
- establishes parameters for Georgia State University international partnership agreements at three levels - the department, college and university;
- provides guidelines and sample documents.
The 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's interests and policies. Please direct questions and requests for assistance in preparing international partnership agreements to the International Partnerships and Agreements unit.
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.
All types of International Partnership Agreements 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, capitalized and with a bold typeface.
- 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”).
- 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”.)
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges 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' International Partnerships and Agreements unit 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.
To the extent that resources are committed, agreements must contain language clearly stating that any financial commitments are subject to the 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.
International Partnership Agreements should be executed in the official languages of the cooperating institutions unless agreed otherwise. Two original copies per language should be signed.
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 the renewal of a partnership agreement, the parties should assess effectiveness and progress toward achieving the objectives of the original agreement. Only active agreements that are achieving established objectives and which have concrete plans for future collaboration should be continued.
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 through which programs will be ended with the least amount of disruption. 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.
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' International Partnerships and Agreements unit, in coordination with the sponsoring office, will facilitate agreement amendments in writing following the approval process discussed under item V. below.
Current approval processes at Georgia State are scalable, including multiple reviews/approvals by various GSU units and the Partner. Approval and execution only occur once the appropriate reviewers sign-off on the agreement and the Approval Form is completed.
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 Initiatives' International Partnerships and Agreements unit (IPA). Following the e-mail review, the sponsoring office/Program Director, in coordination with IPA, makes the necessary revisions to the document. IPA routes the agreement for approval, obtains clearance from the Office of Legal Affairs and prepares the documents for final GSU signatures and university seal. IPA also coordinates the delivery of the signed originals to the partner institution(s) for their signatures. When duly signed by all parties, IPA notifies impacted parties of the agreement execution.
The original documents (one in each official language per partner institution) will be retained in a central file at the Office of International Initiatives by IPA on behalf of Georgia State University.
International Partnerships Database
IPA maintains an International Partnerships Database. The database tracks and manages GSU agreements for the purposes of providing data for planning and communication. The database assists in coordinating information on relationships with international partners, informs the public of inter- and intra-collegiate partnerships, facilitates and develops multidisciplinary teams both locally and globally, and assists GSU in achieving its goal of internationalizing education.