Important Agreement Considerations
Before initiating a new MOU or another type of international agreement, VCU faculty and administrators are asked to first carefully consider the following questions:
- What is the current level of student activity with this partner?
- What is the current level of student interest in this region or country?
- What is the estimated number of students that will be eligible on a regular, long-term basis to participate in the proposed program?
- Is there interest in this activity from multiple units or colleges?
- What is the proposed partner's commitment to sending enough student to balance an exchange?
- What is the current level of faculty activity with this partner?
- Are a significant number of faculty in the particular department or college support this partnership?
- Are faculty in other departments or colleges interested in this partnership?
Overlap with existing partnerships
- Does the proposed partnership compete with similar partnerships for students and faculty?
- Does the proposed partnership address a gap in existing partnerships?
- How does the proposed partnership leverage existing partnerships or institutional strengths?
Partner institutional capacity
- Does the proposed partner institution have a comparable reputation?
- If not overall, are the reputations of specific programs compatible?
- Is the partner's mission compatible with VCU?
- Does the partner's curriculum match the VCU's needs?
- Is the partner's academic calendar compatible with VCU?
- What is the language of instruction? Is there language support?
- Does the partner have similar research interests/strengths?
- Does the partner have an established administrative office to facilitate the agreement?
- Are there significant safety concerns?
- Is the planned activity legal for both partners to undertake?
- Will the department, college, or other participating party commit resources to the agreement?
- What resources is the partner offering?
- What external sources of support are available?
- What are the cost advantages of developing this partnership?
- Which of the following are available for support of this partnership: Faculty release time; travel for site visits; accommodations for visiting scholars; aid for study abroad students; special projects or collaborations?
Outcomes and expected level of activity
- What are the first activities for this partnership that build understanding at lower cost and risk?
- What is a reasonable level of activity for this fully developed partnership?
- Who is the VCU faculty member willing to sponsor the partner agreement?
- What is the term for review of the agreement?
- What are the activity-based metrics that will be used to evaluate this partnership?
As a general rule, if any of the following elements is lacking, an agreement or MOU should not be signed
- Some previous faculty interaction between the proposed partner institutions;
- Strong potential for mutual benefit;
- Compliance with applicable legal restrictions and University regulations;
- Committed financial and infrastructure support (as necessary);
- Identified on-site coordinators or contact persons at each institution;
- Stated support from all colleges, departments and programs explicitly implicated in the contemplated agreement; and
- A plan for regular program evaluation and renewal.
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