InsightUnderstand Little Details and Make Great Things Happen
It is not enough to know that there is a vast market for U.S. college education. If you don’t know how to tackle it, the market is never yours.
Academic Collaboration Agreement for International Outreach
An effective academic collaboration agreement begins with and is maintained through a concerted public relations campaign. The plan must be well thought out, and all relevant departments must be kept in the loop. It’s not uncommon for a school to be unprepared, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on staff, travel, and antiquated marketing materials only to return home with agreements that produce nothing.
How to Make an Academic Collaboration Agreement Work
MOU is “A memorandum of understanding (MoU) describes a bilateral or multilateral agreement between two or more parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action.” （Wikipedia)
Getting the very best schools in Asia to sign MOU agreements with lower-tier US schools is hard work. Making the arrangement work is even more difficult. To do so requires knowledge and sustained public relations efforts.
Common Mistakes of U.S. Schools
U.S. schools often make the common mistake of thinking “if you sign it, they will come.” But as a relatively unknown entity, and unless you have properly positioned yourself, it is just not going to happen.
It’s important to understand that your school may well be just one of more than a hundred with whom your partner school has signed MOU agreements. Here is an example of just one such partner University.
Another problem many schools fail to recognize is that an MOU is a two-way street in which both institutions expect to benefit. So, be prepared to give. It’s not surprising that those considering only their own interests stand nothing to gain from these arrangements.
MOU and Academic Collaboration Process
Establishing effective MOU agreements is an involved and protracted process. Here is the procedure we follow when we help a U.S. college sign an MOU with a foreign school. Each sequential step is a job unto itself, posing a unique set of challenges before moving forward.
Stage 1: Prepare for first contact
Stage 2: Identify first contact for possible collaboration
Stage 3: Initiate dialog
Stage 4: Preparation for first meeting
Stage 5: Meet face to face for detailed pathway collaboration
Stage 6: Draft and sign general MOU
Stage 7: Develop and sign a detailed pathway MOU for a program or various programs and also make sure the MOU follows regulations in both countries
Stage 8: Promote interest on campus
Stage 9: Assist students from MOU schools apply to your school
Stage 10: Deliver pre-departure orientation
Stage 11: Prepare to meet the unique needs of arriving international students
Stage 12: Maintain communications and continue building relationships
Due to the complexity of the entire process, any number of things can go wrong before and after students begin arriving on your campus. Even a seemingly minor miscalculation at any stage of this process can breed mistrust. It’s important to prepare for any eventuality, and to move quickly should problems arise.