Establishing a Formal International Relationship

There are many pathways to developing relationships with an international institution.

Many of our successful activities or programs develop from faculty relationships that begin with an interaction and/or a joint research project and grow to encompass additional formal activities such as student exchange, expanded joint research, and scholarship.

Each relationship will have a unique structure and likely pursue a unique purpose or goal, inspired by the people involved. Goals may include student exchange, faculty exchange, joint research, short-term scholarly visits or training, or additional activities. It is important when exploring a formal relationship to develop clear goals. In many cultures, the developing relationship is dependent upon the signing of an official document indicating that the institution has a formal relationship with the University of Minnesota.

In some, but not all cases, the defined goals may require a commitment of University resources beyond faculty or staff time. It is important that the University of Minnesota contact consults with the Office of the General Counsel to ensure that the University does not inappropriately enter into an agreement that it cannot uphold. A document may seem to be a mere formality but may, in fact, commit the University to some process or payment that is impossible to fulfill.

Most University of Minnesota agreements are established and maintained at the collegiate level, but agreements may be proposed at the departmental level or across numerous colleges, depending on the defined goals. In such cases that involve student exchange, the GPS Alliance will provide transactional assistance for the outbound domestic students and the incoming international students. The ongoing support, promotion, and administration of the relationship, however, is managed in the college, department, or unit.

Agreement Templates

To ensure compliance with University policies and procedures, the Office of the General Counsel has developed international agreement templates to address the most frequent needs, including:

  • Memorandum of agreement
  • One-way sending agreement (UMN students go to partner institution)
  • One-way receiving agreement (partner institution students come to UMN)
  • Student exchange agreement
  • Student and faculty exchange agreement

The full list of templates can be found on the University Standard Contracts Library. These templates are intended as guidelines and can be altered with approval from the Office of the General Counsel. Details outlining program details should be added as a schedule to the agreement. The GPS Alliance can provide schedule templates upon request.