UMD: A Globally Connected University

About Global Partnerships


The University of Maryland believes that a great university must be a globally connected one, and we want to help you develop more international partnerships.

What is a global partnership?

Lots of UMD faculty, researchers, units, and programs work with counterparts around the globe.  These collaborations are often informal; for example, a faculty member at UMD might arrange for a UMD student to spend time doing research at a colleague’s institution in another country.  Such a relationship becomes a global partnership when a formal agreement is signed between the two institutions.

Why should I/we propose a global partnership?

The normal threshold for going from an informal international collaboration to a formal one is your desire or need to share institutional-level resources. For example, if you and your partners want your students to take courses for credit at each other’s institutions, then there needs to be a formal agreement between the institutions on how that is to be done, because those course credits need to be paid for.  Or, if your department wants to exchange faculty with a department at an international partner on a regular basis, then there needs to be a formal agreement between the schools on how that is to be done, since there are institutional services being promised.

Who can propose a new UMD global partnership?

Any unit or member of UMD’s permanent staff (full-time faculty, researchers, and administrators) can propose a formal collaboration with an international partner institution. The main prerequisites are a previous track record between the UMD sponsor and the proposed partner and a plausible plan for the collaboration.

Are there reasons NOT to establish a global partnership?

Sure. If your collaboration with an international partner does not involve the exchange of institutional resources and you do not plan a more intensive relationship, then there is no need to create a formal relationship. In fact, UMD generally prefers to avoid international agreements that are not connected to a substantive plan for collaboration.  Unsure? This Decision Tree for International Academic Agreements may help.

What is the process for establishing a global partnership?

The first step in establishing a global partnership is normally the crafting and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UMD and the partner institution. This is a very general document, indicating that the leaders of the two institutions support more specific cooperation between them. Learn more about creating an MOU. An MOU is normally accompanied—or followed soon—by a detailed programmatic agreement, such as a student exchange or joint degree program. Learn more about the types of programmatic agreements UMD has with international partners.

Who can I talk to for guidance on establishing a global partnership?

Contact Joe Scholten, OIA associate director, for further information and advice.