MOU/MOA Drafting Protocol
Download the MOU/MOA Drafting Protocal (pdf).*
1. Title information
Various titles are acceptable, including "memorandum of understanding” or a general international agreement”. In addition to the names of the institutions, the address should be provided in the heading of the document.
A general, short statement providing contextual information about the history and other background for the agreement is appropriate.
3. General purposes
A general agreement is usually the first affiliation document developed with a partner international institution. This agreement is a means to formerly recognize a relationship between a unit at MSU and an international partner. A general linkage identifies the activities that the two institutions wish to work toward. Before these activities can be implemented, however, both parties should discuss the problems involved to the satisfaction of each party and enter into specific activity agreements based on the forms of implementation mutually agreed upon.
This section should outline the various purposes of the agreement. Such purposes might include:
Exchange of faculty and/or research scholars
Exchange of students (student exchanges require additional documentation)
Joint research and meetings for education and research
Exchange of materials, documents, and information
4. Specific activities to be pursued and implementation plans.
Specific activities may be mentioned as well as implementation plans and assignment of roles and responsibilities of the parties. It also is possible to create additional agreements for specific activities after the linkage is initiated.
If an exchange of students is to take place, a separate Student Exchange Agreement and supporting documents will need to be completed.
5. University units that might be involved/named in the agreement
The agreement should name each unit that will be involved. It also could mention, if desired, that expansion to other units might be sought in the future and identify directions that future development might take. It could involve centers, institutes, departments, colleges and/or the university as a whole. The Dean's Office of ISP does not initiate agreements.
6. Parameters of the agreement
The agreement should include a statement to the effect that "this document constitutes the entire agreement between the parties, and that all prior discussions, agreements, and understandings, whether verbal or in writing, are merged in this document."
It also should include a statement which indicates that "the agreement is not considered to be a contract creating legal and financial relationships between the parties. The agreement is designed, rather, to facilitate and develop a genuine and mutually beneficial exchange process/research relationship, and so forth."
7. Funding arrangements, if any
If funds are available to support the agreement activities, they should be identified in the agreement. The text should identify the source and amount of the funds and the time during which the funds will be available.
8. Duration of the agreement
All agreements should have a specified life span. Typically agreements are signed for five-year periods with the possibility of renewal upon the written agreement of both parties. Language should include "this Agreement shall become effective as of the last date of signature of both parties."
This section should specify the ways in which the agreement may be terminated by either party. Typically the language would include, "the agreement may be terminated by written notice by either party with a minimum of 120 days written notice. Activities in progress at the time of termination of this Agreement shall be permitted to conclude as planned unless otherwise agreed."
10. Review and evaluation of the agreement
All agreements should have a provision that specifies that review and evaluation of outcomes will take place at the end of the stated life span. Persons (by position) responsible for the evaluation should be identified
The agreement should contain a statement that indicates that "both parties subscribe to a policy of equal opportunity and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, height, weight, marital or familial status, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or disability."
12. Communication between the parties
This section should name the contact persons, including their addresses, telephone, fax, and e-mail addresses, for each participating institution. This section also should specify the language of communication and the process by which communication will take place (e.g., mail, fax, e-mail).
One or more signatures from each institution is required to make the agreement effective. It is desirable to have the heads of all participating units sign, but it is not required. The only required signature from MSU is that of the Dean of International Studies and Programs. The President is not required to sign international agreements, but some of our partners prefer it. It is unusual for the Provost to sign.
Generally, signatures are paired, with the equivalent official of each institution signing the agreement. It is recommended that the director of the relevant area studies center (e.g. African, Asian, Europe and Eurasia, Caribbean and Latin American, or Canadian Studies Center) be included as a signatory.
14. International Review
Upon the completed drafting of the Agreement by the MSU unit, it should be forwarded to the international partner for review and approval. Once both parties agree on the wording and contents of the Agreement, the document should then be forwarded to ISP for review and processing.
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