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Western Kentucky University is committed to achieving its vision of becoming a leading American university with international reach. The continuation of existing and development of new strategic, mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships with institutions across the globe is one way that the Office of International Programs (OIP) is helping WKU realize that vision. Those partnerships may be articulated in a variety of formats (MOU, MOA, Dual-degree, etc), depending on the goals of the relationship. WKU faculty and staff should consider OIP their primary resource when exploring an international partnership.
Role of the OIP in International Agreements
- Assisting in the development of MOUs which express the intent to explore mutual interests;
- Assisting in the preparation of goal-oriented MOAs (the instruments enabling the signatories to engage in mutually advantageous projects to fulfill their institutional missions)
- Monitoring the establishment of all MOUs and MOAs in order to ensure that they comply with WKU's policies for such agreements;
- Guiding relevant parties through the development and approval processes;
- Maintaining WKU's files and records of all agreements;
- Making all agreements accessible to the WKU community.
WKU has a growing number of partnerships with international institutions of higher education in more than 20 countries. Each relationship has a unique history as a result of a distinct set of goals and players—yet each was designed to be mutually beneficial and to provide opportunities for creative and fruitful collaborations, whether those were based on student exchange, faculty exchange, or collaborative research.
As WKU seeks to expand its international profile, the exploration and development of strategic partnerships that will grow with and challenge our students, faculty and staff will be critical factors in determining our success. The WKU policy on Developing and Maintaining International Agreements (0.1011) was established to ensure that the University's objectives are being adequately considered and that all parties involved will benefit at the highest level possible.
Policies and Procedures for Developing and Maintaining Collaborative International Agreements
In accordance with University policy, any WKU employee interested in developing an international agreement should consult the Office of International Programs—which will advise faculty sponsors in developing their agreements as well as guiding them through the appropriate approval process. It is recommended that faculty sponsors complete and submit the International Partnership Proposal Form (see International Agreement Forms) prior to meeting with OIP.
Agreements must be approved by the relevant department head(s) and dean(s) and Chief International Officer. Some agreements may require the approval of the Provost. Based on the agreement type as well as the scope and purpose of the agreement, OIP will provide guidance as to the necessary approval process. To view University-approved templates (where available), see Definitions and Templates. For a breakdown of the various steps involved in the development and of international agreements, see the International Agreements Steps to Approval in International Agreement Forms.
All agreements will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Congruence with the academic, research, and service priorities and plans of the University, and of the Department and College proposing the agreement (i.e., the Originating Department/College)
- Congruence with WKU's mission
- Anticipated benefits to students, faculty members, the University, and university stakeholders
- Evidence of institutional quality, including, for example, reputation, international ranking, accreditation status
- Cost, feasibility, and sustainability of proposed activities
- Possible risks to students, faculty members, the University, and university stakeholders (including, but not limited to, legal and financial risks, threats to safety and security, reputation, etc.
This evaluation will take place prior to approval. Once approved, the department/college or unit owning the agreement will be responsible for assessing the partnership regularly. The International Partnership Assessment Report (see International Agreement Forms) must be completed and submitted to OIP prior to any desired renewal and at regular intervals throughout the life of the partnership.
The faculty sponsor should consult with all stakeholders while developing concepts for an agreement and while engaged in preliminary discussions with a potential partner. OIP is not responsible for making stakeholders aware.
Although each agreement will have its own unique purpose and scope, certain details/items are required of ALL agreements:
- Start and End Dates
- Dates for Review
- Review Process
- Termination Clause (i.e., a "get out" clause)
- Responsible unit(s) and contact person(s) in managing the partnership
- Relevant change notification clause (i.e., each institution should notify the other should a change occur that impacts the objectives of the partnership)
- For an agreement committing WKU resources, the agreement must clearly state the responsible unit(s)* and how costs will be covered.
*Responsible unit(s) must be listed as signatories.
- For agreements involving the sharing or exchange of academic resources, students, faculty or staff, the following accreditation statement must be included for partnership with institutions not accredited by SACSCOC:
Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. [Name of Partner Institution] is not accredited by the Commission on Colleges and the accreditation of Western Kentucky University does not extend to or include [name of Partner Institution] or its students. Although Western Kentucky University accepts certain course work in transfer toward a credential from [name of Partner Institution], or collaborates in other ways for generation of course credits or program credentials, other colleges and universities may or may not accept this work in transfer, even if it appears on a transcript from Western Kentucky University. This decision is made by the institution subsequently considering the possibility of accepting such credits. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Western Kentucky University.**
NOTE: The omission of or alteration to any of the aforementioned items should be considered exceptional and requiring of approval.
**Joint and Double Degree Agreements are required to include a different version of the SACSCOC statement.