International Agreements

The University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) supports the international engagement of our faculty, staff and students, whose diverse research, teaching, learning, and service activities extend beyond the boundaries of our campus to influence people’s lives around the world. Recognizing that international collaborators often require an international agreement to formalize a partnership before collaborations can proceed, the International Division is ready to work closely with faculty and staff to develop and fully execute international agreements.

Any UW–Madison faculty or staff may initiate an international agreement. Foreign partners and UW–Madison students must find a UW–Madison faculty or staff member who is willing to engage in or support an international collaboration.

However, only a few people on campus have authority to sign agreements with foreign institutions on behalf of UW–Madison: The Chancellor, the Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services and Controller, and the Vice Provost and International Division Dean. Other school or college leadership often sign in support.

The International Division is responsible for ensuring international agreements generate mutual benefit, set realistic expectations, manage risks, adhere to campus, state, and federal policies, and are signed by someone with authority to sign on behalf of UW–Madison.

About International Agreements

International agreements involve at least one foreign entity such as a university, organization, company or government outside the U.S. International agreements typically are non-binding and non-monetary. If you need an agreement with a foreign entity, but are not sure which type of international agreement you need or whether you need another type of agreement or contract, please contact the International Agreements Specialist, Carrie Golden, at carrie.golden@wisc.edu or 608-262-3929.

Common international agreement types include:

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – A document expressing shared interests and intent to explore future collaboration toward a common goal.
  • Implementing Agreement – An agreement detailing resource commitments, contact people, and relevant terms (e.g. intellectual property) for a known activity.
  • Collaborative Academic Agreement – An agreement regarding academic programs (e.g. Dual Degrees or 3+1+1 programs).
  • Exchange Agreement – An agreement facilitating study abroad for academic credit.
  • International Affiliation Agreement – An agreement enabling students to have clinical health sciences learning experiences at non-US clinical facilities.
  • Internship Agreement – An agreement enabling UW–Madison students to have work experiences abroad.

Common agreement terms include:

  • Purpose of collaboration
  • Formal, legal names of partnering entities
  • Responsibilities of each party
  • Date of signatures
  • Duration (date the agreement will be in effect and expire) UW–Madison does not sign auto-renewing or indefinite international agreements. 
  • Termination (conditions under which a party may end the agreement early)
  • Modification (conditions under which a party may modify the original terms of the agreement)

Developing an International Agreement

In general, faculty and staff who need an international agreement must fulfill the following:

  • Inform and receive endorsement from Department Chair.
  • Complete International Agreement Development Form, and submit it and any draft to the International Agreements Specialist, Carrie Golden, at carrie.golden@wisc.edu.
  • Serve as primary contact with partners, including:
    • Sharing UW–Madison-approved draft international agreement with foreign partner, once the International Agreements Specialist has provided it;
    • Communicating partner feedback to the International Agreements Specialist until all parties approve a final version of the international agreement; and
    • Seeking partner’s authorized signature(s).
  • Ensure that UW–Madison receives a fully executed version for campus files.

The process for developing an agreement varies because each international agreement tends to be unique, but the process typically includes initiating, seeking review/approval, facilitating signatures, and recording international agreements.

First, the proposing faculty or staff seeks endorsement from their Department Chair for the prospective partnership. Then, the proposing faculty or staff contacts the International Division’s International Agreements Specialist, Carrie Golden, at carrie.golden@wisc.edu to:

  • Submit an International Agreement Development Form
  • Ask for a template or share an existing draft (in Word format)

Download: International Agreements Development Form

The International Division’s International Agreements Specialist and the Office of Legal Affairs review and approve every international agreement before anyone from UW–Madison signs.

The International Agreements Specialist works with the proposing faculty and staff as well as relevant campus partners to develop a draft, seek Office of Legal Affairs’ review, and return a UW–Madison-approved draft with guidance on implementation to the proposing faculty or staff.

The proposing faculty or staff shares the UW-approved draft with the prospective partner and asks for the foreign institution’s feedback (using track changes), partner logo (if desired), and names/titles of signatories.

Repeat steps above until UW–Madison and the foreign partner agree on a final version of the agreement.

Note: UW–Madison does not sign auto-renewing or indefinite international agreements.

Although school or college leadership often sign in support, only a few people on campus have authority to sign agreements with foreign institutions on behalf of UW–Madison. The International Division’s International Agreements Specialist determines who has the authority and is required to sign an international agreement on behalf of UW–Madison.

As a best practice, Deans of proposing units should review and approve or deny before someone with signatory authority signs. If a Dean denies an agreement, it will not move forward for signatures. If a Dean approves an agreement, the Dean can elect to sign or not (e.g. due to timing/logistics); although if a Dean elects not to sign, the IAS stills need indication of approval (e.g. email or signed cover letter).

Once the UW–Madison and the foreign partner agree on a final version of the agreement, proposing faculty and staff should ask partners to sign first, then seek any school/college signatures, and return all partially signed documents to the International Agreements Specialist, who will seek the final signature and stamp from the relevant person authorized to sign on behalf of UW–Madison.

Note: UW–Madison does not sign auto-renewing or indefinite international agreements.

If the partner signs first, the International Division’s International Agreements Specialist will retain an original hardcopy for campus and return the remaining original hardcopies to the proposing faculty or staff to send to the partner. If UW signs first, the proposing faculty or staff will send the UW-signed documents to the partner for signatures and is responsible for obtaining a fully executed original hardcopy for campus files.

The International Agreements Specialist will create and share an electronic version of the fully executed agreement with the proposing faculty or staff.

Proposing faculty and staff should contact the International Agreements Specialist to discuss modifying, terminating, or renewing an agreement as well as to share the outcomes of the collaboration.

Contact

Please contact Carrie Golden, International Agreements Specialist, to submit an International Agreement Development Form, if you are not sure whether you need an international agreement, or if you have any questions:

Carrie Golden

International Agreements Specialist

University of Wisconsin–Madison

International Division

Office: 269 Bascom Hall

Mailbox: 261 Bascom Hall

Phone: 608.262.3929

carrie.golden@wisc.edu