Institutional Agreements Process: Steps to develop and approve agreements and pathways to GVSU

Academic Affairs Process and Procedures

Effective date:  2024

Institutional agreements that define curriculum, award transfer credit, share student cohorts, offer combined degrees, facilitate direct credit, dual enrollment, and other programmatic arrangements for student benefit are overseen and developed collaboratively by the university. The Office of the Provost is responsible for creating and maintaining all overarching agreements with partner institutions.

Memos of Understanding (MOU)
MOUs establish the principles and terms of collaboration between parties, emphasizing shared goals and commitments. Though generally not legally binding, they outline key aspects such as involved parties, objectives, roles, responsibilities, duration, financial arrangements, confidentiality, dispute resolution, and signatures. In some cases, parties may develop detailed contracts based on the MOU principles.

Articulation Agreements
Articulation agreements formalize the smooth transfer of credits between two educational institutions, ensuring continuity of education without credit loss. These agreements specify equivalent courses at the originating institution and fulfillment of requirements at the receiving institution, including admission criteria, GPA thresholds, and transfer conditions. All articulation agreements require approval from the relevant academic college dean before external discussions. Final approval rests with the provost. Departmental agreements must align with existing agreements. In the absence of overarching agreements, the Vice President for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach may sign as an approved authority.

Consortium Agreements
Consortium agreements represent collaborations between two or more institutions to achieve common objectives. These partnerships facilitate resource sharing, joint program development, and student and faculty exchanges, fostering collective advancement. Such agreements can span educational institutions or extend to research collaborations, pooling resources for large-scale projects, particularly prevalent in fields like healthcare.

Collaboration Agreements
Collaboration agreements formalize partnerships between parties for specific projects or objectives, outlining roles, responsibilities, duration, intellectual property, confidentiality, financial arrangements, dispute resolution, and communication protocols. These agreements mitigate misunderstandings and ensure clear expectations among collaborators.

Institutional agreements should clearly define:

  • Enrollment status of participating students (e.g., guest/non-degree status)
  • Academic rationale and expected student learning outcomes
  • Assigned responsibilities for each party
  • Agreement duration and renewal terms
  • Tuition, fee payment schedules, and expectations
  • Review, renewal, and termination procedures, safeguarding enrolled students
  • Procedures for addressing breaches
  • Included educational courses, programs, and services
  • Credit awarding institution(s)
  • GVSU faculty's course and program review processes
  • Delivery of necessary student support services
  • Assurance of student access to required learning resources

Before signing, agreements require approval from Grand Valley State University's Legal Counsel and appropriate university representatives. For questions about signature authority, contact the Office of the Provost.

Institutional agreement templates may be available through the Office of the Provost.

Page last modified April 24, 2024