|Original Policy Source
|APPM Section III Item 21
|Effective Adoption Date
|Last Review Date
Faculty & Academics
The Division of International Affairs is charged with the responsibility of overseeing all international contracts and agreements, including academic exchange linkage agreements with institutions of higher education, research, or performance that are located in other countries.
On December 13, 1995, the International Programs Advisory Council recommended that the following policy governing international linkage agreements be approved by the, then, Division of International Programs (now Division of International Affairs). International Programs did approve them as of that date. The policy recommended and approved is:
All international linkage and exchange agreements shall be reviewed and approved by the The Senior International Officer. The Senior International Officer, with the advice of the Advisory Council for International Programs, shall develop guidelines for the development and review processes for international linkage and exchange agreements, to be provided to all who contemplate such agreements.
These are the guidelines that were developed and recommended for approval by the International Programs Advisory Board, and approved in May 1997 by the Division of International Programs. They provide a framework for faculty and academic units who are considering international academic exchange linkage agreements and outline a process for developing, reviewing, and approving such agreements.
As individuals and units consider formal international exchange agreements, they need to consider that the basic assumption about such agreements is that they are a means to an end, and not an end to themselves. That is, international agreements must serve the objective of internationalizing our university: all agreements must serve and be consistent with the mission of the university. And, they must also serve and be consistent with the mission of the unit or units that will be involved in the agreement.
Though most international academic exchange linkage agreements between NIU and other institutions abroad are not, technically speaking, formal contracts, they do involve a commitment by NIU and they usually do spell out roles and responsibilities of the partner institutions.
Such agreements should not be entered into lightly. In fact, it is often not necessary to have an official linkage or exchange agreement in place in order for individual faculty members to be able to work with peers at institutions abroad. Generally, international academic exchange linkage agreements should only be considered when a formal document is needed to provide the desired activities and programs that will benefit an academic department, several departments, a college, several colleges, or the university as a whole.
When contemplating an international academic exchange linkage agreement, one should ask oneself the following questions -- which help determine whether a formal agreement is needed or not, and what nature it should be, if needed:
Faculty members and unit administrators who are considering the development of international linkage or exchange agreements should contact the Division of International Affairs for guidance on the process for developing them, for the content of the proposed agreement, and for information about possible review processes that some agreements might have to undergo.
It is important to recognize the difference between international linkage and exchange agreements and those international agreements that are formal contracts involving the provision of services and materials be they by NIU or a vendor or provider of services and materials abroad. International linkage and exchange agreements are equivalent to formal letters of intent, without legal force. Contracts with fiscal obligations have to be developed differently than academic exchange linkage agreements and will also have to use different language and legal clauses. All contractual agreements have to be developed with the assistance of the Division of International Affairs and have to be reviewed by the Office of General Counsel. These agreements may also, at times, be reviewed by the International Programs Advisory Council.
All agreements, whether contractual or not, have to be approved by the Vice President of the Division of International Affairs before they are signed by appropriate university officials.
Each agreement will be different, reflecting the objectives of the agreement and the nature of the partner institutions. However, all agreements should contain the following sections:
The Division of International Affairs has sample agreements that can be used for drafting agreements. It also has information about certain specific "boiler plate" sections that have to be included in each agreement.
Generally, the following process should be followed when developing an international academic exchange linkage agreement:
The following process will be used in the event that a review of a proposed agreement is requested:
The Form for Reviewing an International Linkage Agreement (see above for form) will need to be filled out for this process.
Approved by the International Programs Advisory Committee (IPAC), April 23, 1997
Editorial Modification 2/6/04; 11/22/16; 4/11/18