UIC Guidelines for Establishing Agreements with Foreign Institutions
As the international activities of UIC continue to grow, UIC units are establishing new relationships as well as broadening existing relationships with institutions and organizations abroad. The increasing number and scope of these partnerships suggest that the overall campus effort will be best served by establishing the following guidelines for developing agreements with foreign institutions:
An international agreement is defined as any cooperative arrangement (including but not limited to contracts, memoranda of understanding, or letters of intention) between the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois on behalf of UIC, and foreign institution/s to support student and/or faculty exchanges, research collaborations, or multi-institutional degree programs.(1)
Administrative responsibility for international agreements is assigned to the Office of International Affairs (OIA). OIA is the campus unit designated to evaluate proposed agreements and oversee their establishment. To this end, OIA also undertakes data gathering and management tasks. To evaluate agreement proposals, OIA will work with the college, the initiating unit, and the initiating faculty.
Proposing an Agreement
UIC campus units or their faculty representatives may initiate preliminary discussions to develop a draft agreement with a foreign institution. However, to ensure that mutual benefits will result from such cooperation, an initial evaluation of the following aspects of the potential partnership should be considered, including analysis of the:
- academic standing of the potential institutional partner;
- general scope and specific areas of the proposed cooperation;
- compatibility of the proposed partnership with the strategic priorities of the lead academic unit at UIC, its college, and the campus;
- parties’ responsibilities, potential liabilities deriving from the activities proposed, financial arrangements, and any services to be provided;
- resources and strengths of the prospective partner, and the extent to which they reinforce or complement UIC’s resources and strengths;
- evidence that UIC and the partner institution can support their commitments under the program; and
- time frame of the proposed agreement including terms of renewal and termination.
OIA will provide the faculty initiator/s with an Agreement Proposal Form to be completed. The form must be signed by the faculty member who initiates the institutional linkage and approved by the unit and college officials.
OIA will assist the initiating unit in the drafting of the proposed agreement. This may include assistance in modifying program features, as needed, to conform with UIC policies. OIA will also negotiate the terms of the agreement with the potential partner. The faculty liaison person, or OIA when requested, will send the final draft of the agreement to the partner institution for final consultation. Should the foreign institution request substantive changes, they must be cleared by UIC through OIA before the agreement text can be altered.
As part of the approval process, the draft agreement will also include review by additional administrative units whenever relevant to a particular agreement. As a general principle, all pertinent UIC units will be involved to help assure expert assistance and comprehensive review of each proposed international agreement. Offices likely to be involved will include but will not necessarily be limited to: Office of International Affairs, Applicable Vice Chancellor(s) in addition to the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Graduate College, Human Resources, Office of Technology Management, Office of International Services, Office of Study Abroad, and Office of Business and Financial Services and Legal Counsel.
After review by the above units, OIA will submit the final version to OBFS to gather the signatures of the Comptroller and the Secretary of the Board of Trustees. After these signatures have been gathered, the contract will be sent to the foreign institution. This will be done by the initiating faculty or, initiating unit prefers, by OIA. Each party will retain a signed original.
Renewal, Termination and Amendment
UIC agreements with foreign institutions, including all addenda that may result after the signature of an MOA, remain in effect for the period stated in the MOA. The initiating faculty or unit should specify the preferred duration of the agreement. Any changes to the approved and signed documents are proposed amendments which must be reported and approved by the authorized individuals of both parties. Amendments will be processed in the form of addenda subject to approval, following the same procedures that applied to the original contract. All agreements are subject to annual review. OIA will serve as the clearinghouse and resource center for international campus initiatives. Copies of all forms, reports, and information related to these programs will be stored at OIA.
(1) Throughout these guidelines, an International Agreement is distinguished from a Grant for Research Agreement. The latter normally carries conditions set by the sponsor, and/or may require compliance with policies, norms, and regulations managed exclusively by OVCR. Additionally, within the exclusive purview of OVCR are Sponsored Projects. These are contracts or subcontracts as described in Section 16 – Grants and Research Contracts of the UI Policies and Procedures Manual.
Summary of the Process
In the following sequence:
- Office of International Affairs reviews proposed agreement for fundamental soundness regarding academic, strategic, and organizational feasibility as a potential UIC initiative, in consultation with proposing faculty or unit. OIA prepares a working draft agreement for further review, and routes draft agreement to additional offices involved in the process as agreement features may require.
- Applicable Vice Chancellor(s) in addition to Provost, review proposed agreement, depending on the subject areas of the proposed activities.
- The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs reviews overall academic content, as well as fiscal, strategic and organizational appropriateness of the proposed agreement, with Senate review as required.
- Graduate College reviews any applicable sections for graduate programs.
- Office of Human Resources reviews the proposed program for compliance with UIC-HR policy and regulations.
- OVCR-Office of Technology Management reviews language of the proposed agreement regarding intellectual property issues.
- Office of International Services reviews immigration language of the contract when foreign nationals are expected to visit UIC under the proposed agreement.
- Office of Study Abroad reviews the proposed program for compliance with its specific programs.
- Office of Business Affairs reviews complete draft agreement. Forwards agreement to Legal Counsel and to Board of Trustees for their signatures. Contract is returned to OIA.
- OIA contacts initiating faculty and unit with copy of signed agreement. Initiating unit, or OIA if requested, forwards signed agreement to international partner.