10 key questions
The input of ASU’s academic community is vital in identifying quality global partners and launching new initiatives. The following questions are offered as guidelines for assessing potential new partnerships and initiatives.
- What benefits would this initiative bring to ASU (reputational, research, funding, student enrollment)?
- Is the initiative aligned with strategic goals of the university? The academic unit?
- How might it build on ASU's existing strengths or programs, whether geographic, thematic or program-type?
- Does the initiative have a unit-level sponsor/host/champion?
- How many faculty will be involved, and at what level of effort?
- Does the initiative have financial support?
- How might it be used to leverage private sector resources or generate revenue?
- Are there specific identified outcomes and a plan and metric for evaluation of success?
- Does the initiative have the potential for sustainability, evolution, and expansion?
- Might the initiative serve as a pilot project or model for other programs?
If and when a partnership or initiative requires a legal agreement, the following process is typically recommended to establish and demonstrate consistent support from senior leadership, and alignment with ASU objectives.
Step 1: Exploration
Step 2: Agreements
- Review new agreement rationale guidelines
- Collect materials for review
- Ensure agreements are signed by President, Provost, Executive Vice President Knowledge Enterprise or Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives
- Receive General Counsel approval; Provost’s Office or KE will liaise with OGC
Step 3: Execution
- Work with the partner institution to deliver goals and objectives
- Track agreement and project progress to prepare for evaluation and potential renewal
Step 4: Evaluation
- Assign indicators to monitor both quantitative and qualitative outcomes
- Develop systematic metrics to measure and report tangible impact and needs for improvement and adjustments
Step 5: Expansion, status quo, termination
- Identify additional opportunities with the partner
- Team up with the Office of the University Provost to expand the partnership across units
- If the program continues to be effective and supported as is, maintain engagement and renew agreement
- If ineffective or unsupported, terminate or allow agreement to expire
When is an agreement needed?
Execution of a legal agreement is necessary for some but not all academic activities with international universities. Agreements generally describe a promise to do something within a certain time period, with a legal and adequate inducement given in exchange for the promise to do it. Many inter-institutional collaborative activities begin with a General Collaboration Agreement (GCA), and then separate agreements may be added to describe additional, specific activities as they are planned and negotiated.
In other cases, activities such as student or faculty collaborations may be ongoing for some time before a decision is made to make the partnership official, at which point an agreement is initiated. Execution of an agreement may be necessary even if activities are to take place solely within a particular academic unit.
ASU has several conventional agreement types in the global space, each of which is typically managed by a specific administrative unit. Regardless of where they originate, all international agreements are archived by the ASU Global team within the Office of the University Provost. If your academic unit has any current agreements that it has signed, please contact ASU Global so that the agreements can be added to the official ASU archive.
General Collaboration Agreement (GCA): Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives
GCAs are non-specific and non-binding, setting out general expectations and a number of general areas of exploration for the partner institutions. Agreements of this type are an expected first step for institutional collaboration in many cultures. At ASU, GCAs typically function as the foundational step for other kinds of collaboration, especially in the academic programs area. Though GCAs can also be signed in the research area, they are less common.
GCAs can promote a sense of legitimacy for a burgeoning partnership and can be useful in making university leadership aware of collaborative activities. The process of articulating possible outcomes for a GCA can also lead to better defined goals for the partnership.
International Accelerated Degree Program (IADP): Graduate College, Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives
What is IADP?
An ASU International Accelerated Degree Program (IADP) is one example of a program-specific international academic partnership. Agreements for program-specific collaborations are established at the academic unit level, between one academic unit at ASU and an academic unit at a non-U.S. institution. IADPs provide opportunities to highly-qualified students to combine the completion of a degree from their home university with the completion of a master's degree from ASU at an accelerated pace.
In an IADP, students spend time at both universities, have GRE and GMAT requirements waived, and receive extra support through admission. IADP agreements require the institutions to jointly develop a Plan of Study (detail guide provided as an appendix to this document) that covers the completion of both degrees and provides a guide for students and advisors throughout the program. Program-specific partnerships like these provide more cost-effective, time-shortened, and diverse opportunities for international students to experience ASU, and they increase cross-cultural knowledge-sharing which is intrinsic to creating and operating any international partnership.
Steps for creating a new agreement - Graduate College
Hybrid or Custom: Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives
Tailored to unique business or operational outcomes; may include elements from other types of agreements.
Other degree programs: Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives
ASU is open to various types of degree programs. For example, many global institutions are increasingly interested in developing dual degree arrangements, and ASU is currently developing a template and proposal process for this type of program.
Specific collaboration agreements: Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives, academic unit
Once a GCA is signed, the next step can be a Specific Collaboration Agreement. This agreement category may include many different types of arrangements and may function at the university level or more locally at the academic unit level.
Short-term visiting program: Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives, International Admissions, Academic unit
The short-term programs at ASU cater to a wide variety of disciplines and offer unique opportunities for students to experience ASU for a semester or academic year. The team in International Admissions helps to coordinate with academic units at ASU and integrate these students into the larger ASU community.
In some cases, the program is customized for students to transfer back the credits from ASU to their home institutes toward respective degrees. For more information contact Zohreh Sotoodeh in International Admissions.
Research: specific collaboration: KE (research administration)
In general, KE oversees all agreements/contracts related to collaborative research with overseas partners. Specifically, the Research Operations team is organized to provide processes and resources for successful university research and sponsored agreement administration and contractual support to external sponsors, ASU faculty and staff. This team offers guidance on agreement proposals, and the review and negotiation processes, in addition to providing operational assistance.
For details regarding research projects, agreement management, and support through KE, visit ASU Research Administration.
Exchange: Study Abroad Office
ASU encourages colleges, schools, departments, and faculty to initiate new international student mobility programs to foster ASU’s international mission to "engage globally." In order to assure that new programs meet appropriate academic standards, avoid duplication, and support the university’s strategic global engagement goals, all new program proposals must be reviewed and approved by the chair of the department, or section and the dean of the college proposing the program, as well as the director of the Study Abroad Office. This review process is facilitated by the ASU Study Abroad Office (SAO).
Visit Exchange Partnership for all the details on how to establish a student exchange agreement, along with considerations on what makes a successful student exchange relationship.
Additional resources can be found at the Study Abroad Office
ASU maintains templates for the common agreement types and develops new templates as needs arise. Templates in use at this point in time are available as appendices to this document. They are occasionally revised; please consult with ASU Global for the most up-to-date version.
Within each template, items in red should be filled in by the supporting ASU faculty or the partner institution. The partner institution may make revisions to the document as necessary; it is recommended that this be done using the Track Changes feature. ASU’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) will need to review and approve any significant revisions to a template.
When negotiating and executing agreements, ASU prefers, when possible, to use ASU templates. Starting from an ASU template saves time, as the agreement will not need extensive review and revision by the OGC. However, some prospective university partners prefer to use their own agreement templates, and ASU is amenable to this. The use of a partner’s template will likely require additional time in the review process.
Creation of new agreement
Collaborative activities not described by ASU’s current set of agreement templates can be memorialized into a new type of agreement upon request. OGC will be consulted and will need to approve any new agreement.
Review | Approvals
Prior to signing, all agreements must be reviewed by the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) as well as by the ASU individual with signing authority.
Items needed for agreement approval: Senior Vice President for Global Academic Initiatives
Requirements for agreement approval may differ depending on the signatory. For all agreements signed by the Provost, the following are required:
- Rationale: provided by academic unit, following suggestions in the New Agreement Rationale Guidelines for Academic Programs
- Dean’s approval: provided by academic unit; can be an email
- OGC approval: secured by the Provost’s Office, once the agreement is finalized
- General Collaboration Agreements focused on Research are managed through the Office of the University Provost following suggestions in the New Agreement Rationale Guidelines for Research
Items needed for agreement approval: KE
ASU Research Advancement Administrators or Principal Investigators who receive an agreement requiring one or both a review and negotiation should create a task in ERA. See instructions in Task Request (WI-SN-60). The Principal Investigator and other ASU units will be contacted for approval. When creating the task, include the following information.
- A draft of the agreement
- ASU principal investigator
- ASU proposal number
- Statement of work and budget
- Sponsor contact information
Only the President of ASU has signature authority for contracting unless that authority has been specifically delegated pursuant to the ASU Contract Signature Authority Policy (PUR 202). These delegations are limited to specific contract types and dollar amounts.
The Provost has been delegated to sign General Collaboration Agreements, and the Deputy Provost and Executive Vice President for Knowledge Enterprise Development have been delegated to sign other specific types of international agreements. A complete list of signature authority delegations can be found at ASU Contract Signature Authority.
University employees not specifically delegated by the President may not sign international agreements. If your academic unit signs or has signed agreements, please let us know by contacting ASU Global.
Agreements are effective once signed by the individual who has signature authority. Additional individuals (eg dean, department chair) are allowed to sign if multiple signatories are requested, but the agreement is only effective with the signature of the individual who has signature authority for that type of agreement.
Term of agreement
It is preferred that agreements have fixed terms, and most ASU agreements are effective for a term of three or five years. Some agreements automatically renew at the end of their term; this is not recommended. All agreements should articulate a procedure to follow in case of early termination.
Renewal: Guidelines for review
Before its termination date, an agreement should be reviewed to consider whether it does or does not merit renewal. The relative success of the agreement can be determined based on several guidelines including:
- Outcomes measured against original expectations (e.g., student enrollment, funding)
- Continuing faculty and academic unit support
- Sustainable financial support
Based on these metrics, the decision can be made either to renew the agreement for another term or retire it. If an agreement is to be renewed, please contact the Provost’s Office ASU Global team.