Establishing New Agreements

University of Alberta International is pleased to assist faculty, staff, and prospective partners in developing and signing formal international agreements.

We have experienced team members with international expertise to guide all parties throughout the entire process of developing, implementing, and renewing agreements.

Do I need an agreement?

Not necessarily - not all international activities require a formal agreement. For example, individual research projects do not normally require a formal agreement if there are no financial implications or other university resources involved. Many UAlberta collaborations work well without a formal agreement in place.

There are times when a formal agreement is required, such as when:

  • the partnership commits UAlberta to financial obligations
  • the partnership impacts UAlberta’s academic standards and programs, such as student mobility programs that involve for-credit courses/research

Agreements are required for:

  • Student mobility programs including exchanges, international field experience, practicum, co-op or internship placements
  • Programs for joint-funding of students sponsored by a foreign government or company
  • Articulation and transfer credit agreements
  • Joint and double degree programs
  • Non-academic/non-degree professional development programs delivered at UAlberta or by UAlberta abroad
  • Programs, including for faculty mobility, that involve commitment of resources
  • Commitments with funding agencies for international activities
  • Commitments to participate in consortia on international projects. 

If a collaboration is purely research-related, the Research Services Office is responsible for reviewing and vetting the proposal.

If you are unsure whether your initiative requires an agreement, please contact the relevant UAI regional contact.

All international agreements that are not research-specific must be approved and signed by the Provost and Vice-President Academic, on behalf of UAlberta’s Board of Governors, as per the Contract Review and Signing Authority Policy (Schedule A).

If a collaboration is purely research-related, then the Research Services Office is responsible for reviewing and vetting the proposal.

What are the types of international agreements available?

UAlberta signs several types of agreements, which are normally in effect for 3-5 years:

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - confirms mutual commitment and interest; not legally binding:

  • An umbrella document that is broad in scope and identifies a range of possible collaborative activities between UAlberta and the potential partner.
  • May be university-wide or specific to a Faculty, Department, or other university unit. When a university-wide MOU already exists, Faculty-specific MOUs are generally not signed since the activity is likely covered under the institutional agreement.
  • Typically not a legally binding document: signing an MOU does not commit either party to activities, but instead contemplates future collaboration. Operational details of specific projects and collaborations can be addressed in a legally-binding Agreement as outlined below. 

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) - outline specific responsibilities and processes; is legally binding:

  • More detailed than an MOU, and outlines the legal and financial responsibilities of each party.
  • Legally binding so both parties must abide by its terms and conditions.
  • Usually outlines the specific activities to be undertaken, roles and responsibilities of each party, period of activity, fees and financial matters, and legal commitments regarding intellectual property, confidentiality, liability, etc.

Process for Establishing an Agreement

  • A. Discussion
    Discussion between UAlberta and potential partner regarding formalizing a collaboration, including initial consultation with the relevant UAI regional contact. Faculty member consults with and confirms support of the Department and Faculty’s designated international contact.
  • B. Proposal

    UAlberta Faculty/Department/unit completes Linkage Proposal Form and submits to UAI.

    Linkage Proposal form (PDF)
    (Please download and save the form to your desktop before completing; you can then save your completed form.)

  • C. Assessment

    UAI assesses proposal, based on information provided in the proposal and UAI knowledge of the country. Criteria for evaluation may include:

    • Existing agreements with the country
    • Existing agreements and relationship with the institution
    • Number of Faculties, professors, and students involved in the collaboration
    • Quality of proposed institution
    • Alignment with Faculty’s and UAlberta’s international strategies
    • Feasibility of proposed activities
    • Availability of resources to support the linkage

  • D. Development of Draft Agreement

    UAI consults with the Faculty and other campus units as appropriate to develop a draft using standardized templates when possible. UAlberta stakeholders consulted (when appropriate) include:

    • Office of the General Counsel,
    • Risk Management Services,
    • Information Privacy Office,
    • Education Abroad Program,
    • Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research,
    • Registrar’s Office,
    • Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic Programs and Instruction),
    • Research Services Office

  • E. Approval by the Provost (if Required)
    Approval by the Provost is needed at this stage if any governance process will be required.
  • F. Partner Feedback
    Draft agreement provided to proposed partner for review and comment.
  • G. Finalization of Draft
    UAI and proposing Faculty/Department/unit negotiate and finalize agreement content with the proposed partner.

  • H. Translation (if Required)
    Agreements at UAlberta are prepared in English. If translations are required, it is the responsibility of the other institution or the proposing Faculty to prepare the translation. This is only possible when UAI has staff capabilities to review the translation. In some cases for Faculty-specific agreements, the Faculty may need to identify someone at UAlberta who can verify the accuracy of the translation. UAlberta cannot commit in advance to accepting documents in other languages.

  • I. Approval by Department and Faculty Council (if Required)
    Department and Faculty Councils need to approve shared credential agreements, and it is recommended they approve articulation agreements as well.

  • J. Letter of Support
    A letter/e-mail of support from the relevant Dean or Dean’s designate is required in some cases, including if an agreement will be proceeding through a governance process. The letter/e-mail can be addressed to the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International) and sent to agreements@ualberta.ca.

  • K. Governance Process

    Certain types of agreements need to go through university governance, such as:

    • Registrar’s Advisory Committee on Fees (RACF) for establishment or changing of fees.
    • FGSR Council for graduate shared credential and articulation agreements; Registrar’s approval for undergraduate shared credential and articulation agreements.
    • Academic Standards Committee if the proposals involve variations to University policy on admission or academic standing.
    • Academic Planning Committee for shared credentials agreements.

    Further committee approvals, such as General Faculties Council Executive, may be needed in some cases, including if a shared credential agreement requires that a partner institution be mentioned on the University degree parchment.

    The University Governance Office is the authority which advises on the required governance steps.

  • L. Final Approval and Signing
    A memo from the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International) is submitted with the agreement requesting approval and signing by the Provost and Vice-President (Academic). For Faculty-specific agreements, the Dean needs to sign in advance. 

    Documents are then sent to the other party for signing. For Faculty-specific agreements, it is the responsibility of the Faculty to send the documents to the collaborating institution. If the other party prefers to sign first, documents would follow the same approval process once received.

  • M. Record Kepping
    UAI records the agreement in its database and retains one of the original agreements, once fully-signed. The collaborating institution keeps the second signed original. The Faculty/Department/unit may retain a scanned copy of agreement.

  • N. Implementation and Reporting

    The relevant Faculty/unit is responsible for implementing the agreement. With regard to Faculty-specific student exchange agreements, among other related responsibilities, the Faculty is responsible for maintaining balance in the number of students exchanged, as described in the agreement.

    With regard to collaborative programs such as shared credentials programs, it is important for Faculties to note that the Government of Alberta has Guidelines for Off-Shore Delivery of Alberta Post-Secondary Programs and Training. Faculties should ensure that they are aware of expectations, including as relates to program delivery and reporting.

Timelines

The amount of time required to prepare an agreement varies depending on the type of agreement, whether a standard UAlberta template is used, the amount of negotiation between parties that is required, the complexity of the agreement, and whether or not other offices and committees need to review the agreement, etc.

The time required can vary from several weeks to many months. Please contact UAI well in advance to ensure enough time is allowed for document preparation.

Detailed Process for Certain Types of Agreements

Please also refer to the following if you are interested in developing these types of agreements:

Renewing an Agreement

Please complete the Linkage Renewal Form (please click to download the form) and send it to agreements@ualberta.ca if you are interested in renewing or amending an agreement. The process to renew or amend an existing agreement is similar to the above, but simpler.

When there are new clauses required by the University, these would need to be incorporated into the renewal document. Working from the current template is preferred.