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International Agreements 101

International Agreements 101

Western Kentucky University is committed to achieving its vision of becoming a leading American university with international reach. The continuation of existing and development of new strategic, mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships with institutions across the globe is one way that the Office of International Programs (OIP) is helping WKU realize that vision. Those partnerships may be articulated in a variety of formats (MOU, MOA, Dual-degree, etc), depending on the goals of the relationship. WKU faculty and staff should consider OIP their primary resource when exploring an international partnership.

Role of the OIP in International Agreements 

  • Assisting in the development of MOUs which express the intent to explore mutual interests;
  • Assisting in the preparation of goal-oriented MOAs (the instruments enabling the signatories to engage in mutually advantageous projects to fulfill their institutional missions);
  • Monitoring the establishment of all MOUs and MOAs in order to ensure that they comply with WKU's policies for such agreements;
  • Guiding relevant parties through the development and approval processes;
  • Maintaining WKU's files and records of all agreements;
  • Making all agreements accessible to the WKU community.


WKU has a growing number of partnerships with international institutions of higher education in more than 20 countries. Each relationship has a unique history as a result of a distinct set of goals and players—yet each was designed to be mutually beneficial and to provide opportunities for creative and fruitful collaborations, whether those were based on student exchange, faculty exchange, or collaborative research.

As WKU seeks to expand its international profile, the exploration and development of strategic partnerships that will grow with and challenge our students, faculty and staff will be critical factors in determining our success. The WKU policy on Developing and Maintaining International Agreements was established to ensure that the University's objectives are being adequately considered and that all parties involved will benefit at the highest level possible.

In general, all formal agreements should:

  • Align with and bring international focus to the University's strategic goals;
  • Help facilitate the achievement of those goals;
  • Connect the University with institutions equally committed to the highest academic standards.

Depending on the purpose of the agreement, the full range of requirements may vary.

Content & Format for International Agreements 

Collaborations with international partners that necessitate a formal framework will, in all likelihood, fall into one of the following categories:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a general document drafted to reflect or promote good will between the parties. It usually does not specify detailed actions or projects, although it may allude to the development of such plans at a later date. The MOU may be a precursor to a more detailed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which does normally stipulate the specific terms, conditions, and implementation processes that govern the proposed partnership. (MOU Template) (MOU Editable Template)
  • Memorandums of Agreement (MOA)* are typically developed to govern the exchange of students, faculty, or projects that require specific commitments from the involved parties.
    • MOA for Student Exchange binds WKU and the partner institution(s) to an academic, tuition, and logistics plan for the exchange of students between the two institutions.
    • MOA for Faculty/Staff Exchange binds WKU and the partner institution(s) to a financial and logistics plan for the exchange of faculty or staff.

*Each MOA is likely to differ from another—due to variations of purpose, academic focus of Originating Department, etc. For that reason, no general template can be made available. OIP will help each department find and develop a document that meets the needs of the intended collaboration.

WKU recommends using the templates found above when developing international agreements. Where necessary, they may be modified to better outline the purposes of the partnership. However, the following items are required:

  • Start and End Dates
  • Dates for Review
  • Review Process
  • Termination Clause (i.e., a "get out" clause)
  • Responsible unit(s) and contact person(s) in managing the partnership
  • Relevant change notification clause (i.e., each institution should notify the other should a change occur that impacts the objectives of the partnership)
  • For an agreement committing WKU resources, the agreement must clearly state the responsible unit(s)* and how costs will be covered.

*Responsible unit(s) must be listed as signatories.

  • For agreements involving the sharing or exchange of academic resources, students, faculty or staff, the following accreditation statement must be included for partnership with institutions not accredited by SACS:

Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. [Name of Partner Institution] is not accredited by the Commission on Colleges and the accreditation of Western Kentucky University does not extend to or include [name of Partner Institution] or its students. Although Western Kentucky University accepts certain course work in transfer toward a credential from [name of Partner Institution], or collaborates in other ways for generation of course credits or program credentials, other colleges and universities may or may not accept this work in transfer, even if it appears on a transcript from Western Kentucky University. This decision is made by the institution subsequently considering the possibility of accepting such credits. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Western Kentucky University.

NOTE: The omission of or alteration to any of the aforementioned items should be considered exceptional and requiring of approval.

Be sure to make (2) two copies (or more if there are more than two parties involved) so that each party may have an original.

Once you have secured all signatures, scan and send a copy to the Coordinator of International Programs.

In some instances, potential partners will have an agreement template they are committed to using. In those cases, the aforementioned items still must be included in the external template. When altering a template or using an external version, please feel free to direct any questions or concerns to the Coordinator of International Programs.


Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 Last Modified 7/7/15