Planning and approval

All international agreements must follow the process outlined below and include the required International Agreement Planning Form (docx) to initiate review by the IMOU Review Committee. The committee can address two types of documents:

  • memorandum of understanding is a simple, non-binding “friendship” agreement that is used when the university is first exploring the possibility of a relationship with a foreign entity. No university resources may be committed as a result of a simple memorandum.
  • International agreements are contracts that put in place a formal and legally binding document that protects and minimizes legal, financial and operational liability for the University of Missouri and its faculty, staff and students. For any activity or relationship that requires the commitment of university resources, including faculty, staff, students, equipment, space or funding, an international agreement should be drafted.

For additional information about any of the steps below, please refer to the full Handbook for Planning Linkage Agreements.

Identify need or opportunity

The international agreement process begins with an MU faculty member, staff member or administrator identifying a need or opportunity that an international linkage could address. In some cases, this may be prompted by an overture or proposal from an international institution. Before consulting International Programs to start a review and approval process, the initiator should discuss feasibility and support with others in the unit and potential international partners, referencing the evaluative criteria in the handbook.

Consult with International Programs

Before drafting documents or moving forward with the potential international partner, the initiator should consult with Mary Stegmaier, vice provost for International Programs. This will ensure early consideration of feasibility and alignment with strategic priorities, as well as the notification and involvement of necessary stakeholders, especially where there are distributed costs.

Complete and obtain approval of planning form

After consultation with International Programs, the initiator must complete an International Agreement Planning Form (docx). This form requires information about the both parties to the agreement, both at MU and the foreign partner institution, as well as information about the proposed collaboration, including goals and objectives; current and planned activities; required commitments of funding, space, time or other resources; and potential products. The dean or appropriate unit official must approve the International Agreement Planning Form before it is submitted for review.

International Programs drafts agreement

Based on the approval of the planning form, International Programs staff will draft an international agreement in consultation with the initiator and the MU Contracts Office, based on one of the following templates:

In some cases, prospective partner institutions or organizations may offer a draft agreement. If so, International Programs staff will review it to confirm that the document accurately and completely reflects the collaboration described in the planning form and complies with MU requirements. International Programs may suggest changes.

IMOU Committee review and recommendation

Using the evaluative criteria listed below, the IMOU Committee will make a recommendation as to whether the agreement should be approved to the vice provost for international programs.

Evaluative criteria

  • How does this collaboration enhance the unit’s and/or Mizzou’s academic excellence?
  • Does this collaboration lead to bold new research or academic content?
  • Does this collaboration strengthen the student experience?
  • What resources does this collaboration bring to the unit or campus?
  • Do faculty, chairs, deans, donors, alumni or others support this collaboration?

Approval by vice provost for International Programs

If the vice provost for international programs approves the proposal, it is forwarded to the provost or chancellor, as appropriate, for final review and approval. If the vice provost does not approve the proposal, the initiator may choose to abandon or rework the proposal, or ask their dean/director to initiate an appeal of the decision.

Final approval

Final approval of the agreement will be provided by the chancellor or provost. Fully signed copies of the agreement will be kept at the International Programs office.