Developing International Agreements

Non-Research International Agreement Overview

“Promotion of an inclusive culture of global citizenship” is highlighted in Forward Thinking, the 2008 strategic plan for Case Western Reserve University, as a primary means by which the university achieves its mission. Global citizenship is promoted in many ways that are being pursued by faculty, staff and students throughout the university.

An important component of advancing global citizenship is to engage in working relationships with colleagues, universities and other institutions and governmental entities throughout the world. Our faculty, as well as all units of the university (department, school, etc.), are encouraged to both clarify and memorialize their relationships and future work by entering into formal agreements.

Instructions for seeking approval for non-research international agreements are described in the following sections:

A non-research international agreement is defined as any agreement that is not subject to approval by the Office of Research Administration (ORA) or by another university office (such as the Technology Transfer Office). If ORA or another office separately reviews an agreement for the quality of the proposal and partner institution, as well as legal compliance, then the process described below does not apply.

A completed approval form is required for approval of non-research international agreements, and will permit the president and provost, or their designees, to sign an agreement with an international institution, thereby obligating Case Western Reserve University.

The Center for International Affairs recognizes that international collaborations and agreements with partner universities provide invaluable opportunities for students and faculty in this era of globalization. We provide support for faculty, departmental, and college efforts to initiate, develop and implement international agreements while protecting CWRU and individual faculty members as these legal documents are created.

Process of Developing a Non-research International Agreement

It can be difficult to know where to start when developing an international agreement. The steps below are designed to help faculty navigate this process. Every non-research international agreement that is signed on behalf of CWRU is required to go through the following process before it is considered a legal document.

If you have questions at any time during the process, contact the Center for International Affairs at agreements@case.edu or call 216.368.2517.

Step One: Identify and Research the Partner Institution

While it may seem obvious, identifying and understanding the international institution with which you are interested in entering into an agreement is a very important step. The international agreement must meet CWRU’s International Agreement Criteria as approved by the Faculty Senate in November 2013. A justification to this effect is required to be submitted with the agreement proposal.

The proposed international agreement should advance the mission of Case Western Reserve University. Factors that will help determine if such agreement will advance CWRU’s mission include whether:

  • such institution has a quality reputation, as determined by the international ranking and the in-country ranking of the institution;
  • the individual department at the institution has a quality reputation;
  • the overall faculty and/or individual faculty members at the institution have a reputation for quality education and/or research; and,
  • other indices of quality, as detailed by the proposer. In addition, the proposed activity or collaboration should have the potential to improve both CWRU and the partner institution.

Other questions to consider are:

  • Is the department/faculty member with whom I am collaborating willing to work help move this agreement forward?
  • Will CWRU and the potential partner both benefit from an agreement?
  • Does this agreement correspond to my educational or research agenda?
  • Do sufficient resources exist to implement the agreement?

Step Two: Identify Agreement Type

There are many different types of agreements into which CWRU can enter. Many of them are listed below, with General Counsel-approved templates for drafting the agreement. This list is not exhaustive, and proposers should develop agreements that match their own needs.

Types of Agreements

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a standard document which facilitates future relationships with international partners. The MOU is a generic document which expresses the intent of both parties to explore possibilities for expanded relationships. A signed Memorandum of Understanding does not mean any financial commitment or legal commitment. It only opens the door for bilateral communication and negotiations so partners can negotiate specific international exchange agreements.

Student Exchange Agreementis a legal contract between two partners that allow for students to study or conduct research at the partner institution. The agreement can be reciprocal (two-way exchange of students) or non-reciprocal (one-way travel of students). An agreement may involve only undergraduate or graduate students or it may involve students at all academic levels. The template for International Student Exchange Agreement has details of all legal and financial commitments. However, any additional specific item of agreement may be inserted for review and approval.

3 + 2 Agreement is a legal contract between two partners that allow for students, usually of the partner institution to spend three years in a degree seeking program at their home institution, apply to graduate school at CWRU, and, upon acceptance into graduate school, spend two years at CWRU working on a post-graduate degree. At the end of this time, the students would have a bachelor’s degree from the home institution and a graduate degree from CWRU. The template for 3 + 2 agreements has details of all legal and financial commitments; however, any additional specific item of agreement may be inserted for review and approval.

Faculty/Staff Exchange Agreement is a legal contract between two partners that allow for faculty and/or staff to teach, conduct research, or participate in training at the the partner institution. The agreement can be reciprocal (two-way exchange of faculty) or non-reciprocal (one-way travel of faculty). There is a considerable amount of flexibility in this type of agreement. At this time, CWRU does not have a template, but the Center for International Affairs will work with you to create an appropriate document.

International Research Agreements are legal contracts between two or more partners that allow for faculty, scholars, post docs, and/or staff to conduct research in partnership. Due to grants and awards funded by federal governments, private organizations and international agencies, these agreements vary widely. The Office of Research and Technology Management provides all support for the development of these types of international agreements.

Step Three: Complete the Approval Form

The next step is to fill out and sign the top half of the approval form. By signing the approval form, you are attesting that:

  • You are the originator of the proposed agreement
  • The proposed agreement meets the International Agreement Criteria
  • The proposed agreement corresponds to your educational or research agenda, and
  • Sufficient resources exist to implement the proposed agreement

You will then need to attach the proposed agreement and one or more pages that demonstrate why the proposed agreement and proposed partner institution meet with the International Agreement Criteria. This is necessary in order for subsequent signatories to sign the agreement.

Once the form and required attachments are complete, submit the documents to the Office of Global Strategy via email (agreements@case.edu). At this time, the Center for International Affairs and the Office of General Counsel will review the draft agreement. Once both offices have reviewed and provided initial approval of the language in the proposed agreement, the Associate Provost for International Affairs will return the proposed agreement to you.

Note that this approval is preliminary; it is not a formal approval of the proposed agreement. Formal approval will come later in the process, as set forth in the next steps.

Step Four: Submit the Proposed Agreement

Department Chair

After the Center for International Affairs and the Office of General Counsel have reviewed the agreement and it has been returned to you, you should then forward the approval form and attachments to your department chair, who should sign the form.

By signing the form, the department chair is attesting that:

  • The proposed agreement meets the International Agreement Criteria
  • The proposed agreement corresponds to the educational or research agenda of the department, and
  • Sufficient resources exist to implement the proposed agreement

The department chair should then return the approval form and attachments to you. (If your school does not have departments, you can skip this step and send the Approval Form straight to the dean.)

Dean

After receiving the signed approval form from the department chair (if applicable), you should forward the approval form and attachments to your dean, who should sign the form. By signing the form, the dean is attesting that:

  • The proposed agreement meets the International Agreement Criteria
  • The proposed agreement corresponds to the educational or research agenda of the school or college
  • Sufficient resources exist to implement the proposed agreement, and
  • The proposed agreement is significant to the school or College and/or the university.

The dean should then return the approval form and attachments to you.

Center for International Affairs

After receiving the signed approval form from the dean, you should forward the approval form and attachments to the Center for International Affairs.

We will then ask for review and signature by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Office of General Counsel. Finally, the Vice Provost for International Affairs will sign the approval form.

Signatures from each of these administrators will attest that the proposed agreement meets all requirements and needs no further approvals from other university or external bodies (such as the Faculty Senate, Board of Trustees, Ohio Board of Regents, Higher Learning Commission, etc.).

Please allow two weeks for this process to take place.

Step Five: Execute the Signing of the Document

Once everyone has signed the approval form, the Center for International Affairs will work with you to execute the signing of the official agreement. The document will have two official signatures from CWRU and then be sent to the partnering institution in duplicate.

You will be notified when all of the official signatures are complete, making the document legal.

International Agreement Criteria

The proposed international agreement should advance the mission of Case Western Reserve University.

Factors that will help determine if such agreement will advance CWRU’s mission include whether:

  • such institution has a quality reputation, as determined by the international ranking and the in-country ranking of the institution
  • the individual department at the institution has a quality reputation
  • the overall faculty and/or individual faculty members at the institution have a reputation for quality education and/or research
  • other indices of quality, as detailed by the proposer. In addition, the proposed activity or collaboration should have the potential to improve both CWRU and the partner institution.