International Partnerships FAQ

Why Develop an Agreement?

Universities across the U.S. and throughout the world seek new and creative ways to partner with institutions abroad. Towards this end MSU's colleges and departments receive numerous letters and visitors from abroad seeking partnerships. Many provide attractive opportunities for collaborative research and/or outreach opportunities, others offer to host MSU students at locations with enriching educational opportunities, while some seek U.S. partners to accept their qualified graduate and undergraduate students.

International agreements serve to provide visible and concrete intentions of colleagues and/or academic units working together towards a common goal. Moreover, in certain cultures, a written statement of intent is highly valued or is deemed essential for obtaining government funding and/or enabling faculty members at the partner university to implement outlined activities. A written international agreement also provides existence of a linkage for the benefit of other MSU units. An agreement also may help to minimize misunderstandings in the future regarding the components of what was agreed. Finally, international agreements are required if legally binding commitments are made for units at MSU; contracts to which MSU is a party must be in writing.

There are three types of international agreements at MSU. The first and broadest is the "General International Agreement," which establishes a formal partnership between MSU and an international institution. This first type of agreement also encompasses student, faculty and/or staff exchanges, shared research projects, technology transfer and other specific activities. The second type of agreement is more specific; it provides detailed information regarding MSU partnerships involving students, faculty and/or staff members engaged in particular undertakings within international institutions. For its part the third agreement covers student, faculty and/or staff exchanges, joint research projects or technology transfer.

What are the Units' Responsbilities vis-a-vis an Agreement?

As departments and colleges must shoulder various responsibilities for the administrative and programmatic features of agreements to which they have acceded, they should partner with institutions in a strategic and deliberate manner in order to fulfill the university's mission. Even without MSU's financial resources, initiating and maintaining international partnerships requires the concerted efforts of faculty members, chairpersons and deans, in addition to the services of academic support units. Among other tasks, letters must be written, visitors must be received, MSU faculty members and administrators must visit partner campuses and joint grant applications must be developed.

Units wishing to formalize a relationship through a written agreement should consult the international partnerships page and send specific queries via electronic mail ( beforehand. Moreover we also encourage units to talk with the director of the relevant area studies center regarding their proposals. If the agreement involves sending MSU students on a study abroad program or engaging in student exchange, we suggest that a meeting be scheduled with the Executive Director of Study Abroad or his representative. Additionally, several MSU colleges have internal procedures for processing agreements and staff members in the appropriate college unit should be consulted in these cases.

What are the University Agreement Requirements?

The ISP Dean's Office must review all institutional-level international agreements. Specifically ISP will liaise with appropriate offices on campus, including General Counsel and Contract and Grant Administration and confer with the ISP Advisory Consultative Committee (ACC) for final review; ACC members will, in turn, recommend appropriate action to the ISP Dean. In order for international agreements to take effect, they must be signed by the Dean of ISP.

How can I find a list of MSU's Current International Agreements?

As ISP maintains the University's International Agreement Database, MSU units should keep ISP informed of changes to agreements.