For UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and units, international collaboration brings forth new challenges in developing and managing institutional agreements. Many challenges are like those involved in domestic agreements, but widely varying contractual practices worldwide present a more compelling case for institutional diligence. The Global Relations team in UNC Global has responsibility for agreements between UNC units and international institutions (except those related to sponsored research). UNC Global also maintains a database of agreements between UNC units and institutions around the world.
There are three main types of international agreements:
- Letter of Intent: After faculty or units have begun collaborations on an individual and informal basis, the institutions can draft a Letter of Intent to express their interest in establishing a partnership with the goal of drafting a formal Memorandum of Understanding as the partnership progresses.
- Memorandum of Understanding: An MOU provides a framework for formally establishing a partnership between institutions. MOUs are primarily signed at the university level to guide general collaborative activities by any institutional unit but can also be executed between individual schools.
- Addendum: After a general MOU has been executed, addenda are drafted to govern specific activities. The most common form of addendum is a Student Exchange Agreement to clarify the terms and conditions under which the formal exchange of students will take place. Addenda are also frequently developed to operationalize a joint academic program, a specific research project or a contract for services or facilities use.
UNC Procedure for Agreement Approval
Melissa McMurray, International Liaison Officer for UNC Global, oversees the drafting and approval of international agreements. Units are advised to contact Melissa when developing an agreement, and she will help them consult with relevant offices to ensure that the proposed collaboration is developed properly and the appropriate procedures are followed. She will also work with the Office of University Counsel to review and negotiate agreement terms and conditions.
After the agreement content has been finalized, Melissa manages the official review and approval process, which includes the Office of University Counsel; director/chair of the initiating unit; applicable dean; and the chief international officer. Other individuals may be added as necessary. After all approvals are secured, Melissa obtains the necessary UNC signatures on the agreement. The Chancellor is required to sign all international agreements; the relevant dean or other individuals can also sign if requested. Agreements are then returned to the unit to secure partner institution signatures. A copy of the executed agreement should be sent to Melissa.
For more information or for assistance drafting an international agreement, please contact:
International Liaison Officer, UNC Global