The University of Iowa

Agreements with International Partners General Guidelines

Questions to Consider in Developing a Memorandum of Understanding

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND. What is the history of the relationship with the foreign institution? Has a viable pattern of collaboration already been initiated? If not, what is the compelling case for developing a new, formal relationship?

RECIPROCITY OF BENEFITS. What relevant strengths does the foreign institution bring to the linkage? Why is this an appropriate institution with which to sign an agreement? What benefits will this bring to the UI currently or in the future? Who are the UI faculty, staff and/or students who will benefit from this linkage?

COMPLIANCE. Do all elements of the agreement comply with U.S. federal law (including immigration, export/import and other regulations) and with the laws of the government of the proposed partner institution? Do all of the elements of the agreement comply with the rules and regulations of both partner institutions?

SUPPORT. What type of UI financial support has already been pledged or secured? What will be the source of this support? What type of support, if any, will the foreign institution provide during the first three years of the linkage? In addition to financial support, what arrangements are in place for other forms of support such as office space, secretarial/clerical assistance, or faculty course leave?

COORDINATION. What individual at each institution will be responsible for coordinating the activities that comprise the relationship, e.g., initiating publicity, communicating information to the other institution, etc.? Is a back-up or secondary contact available, in case the primary contact is absent or unavailable for a period of time?

EXTERNALITIES. Has the initiating department received explicit support from all other departments, colleges and programs that are implicated as participants in the agreement? If elements of the agreement might represent a significant workload increase or other resource issue for administrative offices, have these offices been consulted?

EVALUATION and RENEWAL. How will the linkage be evaluated prior to the renewal of the agreement? What will the criteria be for a successful linkage? For what period will the agreement be in force? (University practice is to sign agreements for a period of five years, renewable with both sides’ consent. This provides a regular occasion for those involved from both institutions to discuss the mutual value of the agreement. Shorter or, more rarely, longer periods in which an agreement will be in force can be requested when appropriate.)

The initiating UI department or program must first complete the “Request for Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding” form and send the completed form to Lauren Powers ( in International Programs to begin the review process. Once renewal of the MOU has been approved, they may proceed by negotiating a preliminary MOU with the proposed partner institution, using one of the templates provided by UI’s International Programs. In many cases, the proposed partner institution may prefer to work from their own MOU template. In this situation, it will be important to submit the draft document to International Programs for review before either party signs the agreement.

Once an MOU draft has been reviewed and approved by all relevant parties, at least two original, hard-copy versions of the document will be routed for signatures or, if the partner institution finds it acceptable, the agreement may be routed for electronic signature instead. In some cases, a non-English version of the agreement may also be required by the partner institution.  The associate provost and dean of International Programs and the UI president must sign each new MOU and renewal. Other signatories, including deans and DEOs, may be included. One original, signed MOU is kept by International Programs and another is kept by the partner institution. Initiating and participating departments and colleges may also keep an original or copy on file. IP maintains a database of all formal linkages and is responsible for sending a reminder to the designated UI contact for each MOU before that agreement is due to expire. Depending on the nature of additional agreements that may be appended to the original MOU, the AP/dean of International Programs and the UI president may be required to sign these addenda. Initiating departments are advised to consult with International Programs before processing these additional agreements.

For more information on international linkages, contact:

Lauren Powers
Administrative Services Specialist
International Programs
1111 University Capitol Centre