[Minor revision–posted 4/16/18 (replaces 6/29/17 edition)]
Operating Policy and Procedure
OP 34.28: International Agreements for Students, Faculty, and Researchers
DATE: April 16, 2018
PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to establish procedures for creating agreements with international institutions in a way that:
1. Follows immigration regulations as promulgated by the U.S. Government.
2. Conforms with standards of safety and responsibility in study abroad as required by federal and state regulations such as those promulgated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; other applicable regulations of the Texas Administrative Code, as well as Texas Tech University (TTU) operating policies and procedures; and guidelines recognized by professional organizations such as NAFSA: Association for International Educators, and the Forum on Education Abroad.
3. Complies with all relevant accreditation standards.
4. Complies with all operational and program standards as set forth in OP 34.20, Study Abroad Programs.
REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in June of each year. The Vice Provost for International Affairs (VPIA) will coordinate substantive revisions with all other principals as well as the International Affairs Council and will forward such revisions to the Provost and Senior Vice President (PSVP) for approval.
This OP outlines procedures for establishing academic partnerships with international institutions that typically consist of two steps: (1) an initial Letter of Intent (LoI) to demonstrate the institutions' interest to collaborate, and (2) a subsequent binding agreement describing the requirements and obligations, if any, of such collaboration.
1. International Agreements
a. TTU has charged the Office of International Affairs (OIA) with the responsibility to coordinate, facilitate, maintain and advocate for initiatives to create international partnerships to foster the university's strategic priorities.
b. In support of TTU's strategic plan, OIA seeks to establish partnerships with the highest caliber international institutions. The International Partnerships Administrator (IPA) will work with faculty and administrators to create a workable agreement and will oversee the approval and signature processes. The IPA is able to offer guidance for the establishment of any new departmental, college, or university-wide agreements between TTU and international institutions or organizations. The first step in initiating any new partnership will be for the initiating department to complete the Partnership Proposal Web Form and return it to the IPA.
c. While agreements may exist in multiple languages, the English language version should be signed by TTU and will be considered the official version in case of any dispute. All agreements must use the appropriate template whenever possible. Agreements that are not based on an approved template, or which have any substantive modifications or additions to the pre-approved wording will be forwarded to Procurement Services by OIA for additional legal and contractual reviews. All international agreements must comply with the appropriate requirements in order to be recognized by the university. The Director for International Programs (DIP) must review all international agreements. OIA can accept physical or electronic/digital fully-executed agreements as officials.
a. Letter of Intent (LoI)–formerly Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
(1) An LoI is not a legally binding document or contract, but rather a symbolic or courtesy compact declaring the parties' interest in pursuing further collaboration.
(2) Signature authority
(a) University-wide LoIs must be signed by the VPIA or the DIP and the international
(b) College-to-college LoIs must be signed by the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, and the international partner equivalent.
(c) Department-to-department LoIs must be signed by the department chair, the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, and the international partner equivalent.
b. Study Abroad (SAB) Agreements
(1) An SAB agreement allows TTU students to enroll at an international partner institution for up to an academic year while paying TTU tuition and fees. Students remain enrolled at TTU while participating in an academic program at the international institution. SAB agreements can take a variety of forms but all fall under this umbrella type. More specific details can be found at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/international/intlrsch/partnerships/agrType.php.
(2) An SAB 2-Way program requires that TTU and the international institution balance the value provided by each institution to the other at least over a three-year period. Individual agreements will establish the values indicated for that agreement.
(3) The Director of Study Abroad must review all SAB Agreements. The Director of International Student and Scholar Services must review all SAB Agreements which result in TTU receiving international students.
(4) Signature authority
(a) University-wide SAB 2-Way agreements must be signed by the VPIA or the DIP,
the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
(b) College-to-college SAB 2-Way agreements must be signed by the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
(c) Department-to-department SAB 2-Way agreements must be signed by the department chair, the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
c. Collaborative Agreements
(1) Similar to Study Abroad Agreements, the Collaborative Agreements umbrella contains several different sub-types, each with a specific purpose. It is important to note that faculty often do not need a signed agreement to collaborate with an international partner or institution. Collaborative Agreements should be used more for large, multidisciplinary team efforts or those involving degree programs. Specific details of different Collaborative Agreements can be found at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/international/intlrsch/partnerships/agrType.php.
(a) Note: Collaborative Degree programs/agreements must meet the requirements set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) which can be found at the SACSCOC website (www.sacscoc.org). To ensure compliance, collaborative degree programs/agreements design must be coordinated through the Office of International Affairs and the TTU SACSCOC liaison.
(2) The Director of International Grants Administration and Partnerships must review all Collaborative Agreements. The Director of ISSS must review all Collaborative Agreements that result in TTU receiving international students.
(3) Signature authority
(a) University-wide Collaborative Agreements must be signed by the VPIA or the
DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
(b) College-to-college Collaborative Agreements must be signed by the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
(c) Department-to-department Collaborative Agreements must be signed by the department chair, the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
d. Comprehensive Partnership Agreements
(1) Comprehensive Partnership Agreements are to be used for TTU relationships with international institutions that fall outside the categories described above, or for relationships that include combinations of characteristics of the above types of agreements.
(a) Note: Establishing a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement requires close collaboration among the initiating office, OIA, the Graduate School, the SACSCOC Liaison, and the Office for the Vice President for Research (OVPR), depending on the nature of the partnership.
(2) Signature authority
(a) University-wide Comprehensive Partnership Agreements must be signed by the
VPIA or the DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
(b) College-to-college Comprehensive Partnership Agreements must be signed by the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
(c) Department-to-department Comprehensive Partnership Agreements must be signed by the department chair, the college dean, the VPIA or the DIP, the PSVP, and the international partner equivalents.
3. Collaborating Departments
a. OIA will consult the President's Office on any agreement or partnership which financially obligates the university.
b. This OP is designed to govern academic agreements between two or more institutions or departments. OIA will route any agreements that contain an international research focus (i.e. the primary purpose is research) through the OVPR for review and coordinate with the Vice President for Research (or designee) to assure that such agreements comply with the contracting policies of all relevant TTU offices.
c. OIA will route any agreements involving graduate students or which contain a graduate focus or component through the Graduate School for review and signature by the Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs/Dean of the Graduate School (or designee) to assure that such agreements comply with the contracting policies of all relevant TTU offices.
d. OIA will coordinate with the Office of Community College and Transfer Relations for any agreements involving international students and domestic higher education institutions.
In accordance with Regents' Rules 07.12.3(d), an agreement (including all options to renew) may not exceed four years unless the contract contains a provision allowing TTU to terminate the agreement without cause with notice of 120 days or less or the agreement has been approved by the Board of Regents.
5. Renewals of Agreements
The VPIA or the DIP will approve renewals of any other existing agreements that do not modify the original provisions after obtaining written notification from the originating department/college that they wish to continue the agreement in force. When an agreement requires significant changes to the original provisions, it will require signatures as if it were a new agreement. Under normal circumstances, TTU will not renew LOIs.
Signed originals of all agreements will be archived in the Office of Procurement Services. Scanned copies of agreements will be held in the OIA and listed on the OIA website at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/international/intlrsch/partnerships/showAgreementList.php.
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