Develop a Partnership

University of Montana (UM) welcomes and supports initiatives to establish working collaborations between UM scholars and units, and their international contacts and counterparts. Global Engagement Office (GEO) provides administrative support for internationalization initiatives driven by the competence and passion of UM faculty and staff.  This resource is designed to support UM units seeking to establish international partnerships for the benefit of UM students, faculty, and staff.

Types of Partnership Agreements

GEO has established several types of partnership agreements including, but not limited to:

  1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). A very broad and general agreement; this agreement type is recommended as a first step in establishing a formal partnership between UM and an international institution. The agreement mentions what type of collaboration is anticipated, such as student, faculty and/or staff exchanges, shared research projects, teaching, visits, and other specific activities. However, any planned student exchanges need to have a more specific exchange agreement (explained below).
  1. Student Exchange Agreement. Establishes the structure for UM students to enroll full-time at a comparable international institution, whereby a reciprocal number of students from the international institution may enroll full-time at UM. If approved, this agreement allows students to register and pay tuition to UM while enrolling at the international institution for a semester or a full year. Student exchange agreements can also contain provisions on faculty and staff exchanges.
  1. Collaborative Degree Agreements. Collaborative degree agreements establish a degree program that is designed and delivered by two or more partner institutions in different countries. Examples of these agreements include dual degrees and joint degrees.
  1. In certain rare instances, a specifically-tailored agreement may be preferable

Procedures for developing a new Institutional Partnership

  1. Establish a University of Montana Advocate(s) who has a working knowledge of the potential partner institution. This advocate must agree to serve as the point of contact for questions regarding the proposed partnership. Advocates must be:
    1. Full-time tenured or tenure-track Faculty member or
    2. Dean or Director and level Administrator
  2. Schedule a consultation meeting between GEO and the Advocate(s) to discuss ideas and complete a proposal.*
  3. GEO reviews the proposal and adds the proposed institutional partnership as an agenda item for discussion at an International Committee Meeting. Advocate(s) are strongly encouraged to present their proposals to the International Committee in person.
  4. The International Committee reviews and recommends successful proposals for approval to the President or the Designee.
  5. The President or the Designee signs the agreement. 

*The new Institutional Partnership Proposal

New Partnership Proposal Form

Proposals that are more detailed typically create more sustainable partnerships. The proposal should include the following:

  • The quality of the proposed institution and how the institution aligns with the strategic vision and goals of UM; The advocate must demonstrate that significant academic merit and institutional compatibility (similar/complementary) exists;
  • The units on campus that would benefit from the establishment of a formal partnership; Provide evidence that the partnership will strengthen research, teaching, or other scholastic activity and will substantially enhance existing student and/or faculty opportunities at UM;
  • The objectives for the partnership and timeline for the implementation of objectives;
  • Significant new opportunities to UM faculty and students, particularly if UM already has agreements in place with other universities from the same country or the same region;
  • An explanation of potential challenges for the partnership, including regulatory and/or language issues;
  • A discussion of the financial ramifications of establishing a formal agreement (proposed arrangements for exchange student tuition & fees, discussion of grant proposals to be submitted as part of the collaboration, etc.);
  • A letter of support for the proposal by affected units at the Dean or Director level.