Identifying an International Partner

MUSC’s successful collaboration with foreign institutions and our reputation in the international community depends in part on the nature and strength of our partnerships.  Thus, careful consideration should be given to the status of the proposed foreign institution, whether it is public or private, institutional size and areas of specialization, among other factors.  Signing of documents simply for presentation or ceremony, or without substantive activities being envisioned or planned, is discouraged. In initiating any type of agreement with foreign institutions, MUSC faculty and administrators should carefully consider the following factors.  

Institutional Compatibility. The partnership should add value to MUSC’s mission, strategic goals, and other areas of research and academic growth.

  • Reciprocity. The partnership must provide strong potential for long-term, mutual benefit, and the potential risks to MUSC must be manageable.
  • Reputation.  Consideration should be given to the relevant strength of the foreign institution and whether the proposed partner would be an appropriate fit for MUSC.  Useful information about the proposed collaborating institution includes the following: 1) status of institution as a degree or non-degree granting education institution; 2) status as a government or private organization; 3) institutional size and areas of academic expertise; 4) ranking and other quality indicators; 5) accreditation status; and 6) the proposed institution’s existing relationships.

Sustainability. An agreement should only be developed if the collaboration is likely to be sustainable and with measurable outcomes that benefit both institutions.  Factors indicating sustainability include the following:  

  • Internal Resources.  Consideration should be given to the type of financial and logistical support, if any, that the foreign institution and MUSC must provide during the term of the relationship as well as infrastructure needs of the proposed project/activity, and the related costs.  
  • Institutional Support.  The initiating Department Chair, Dean and all other departments, Colleges and programs that may be involved or needed as participants in the agreement must approve the proposed partnership/collaboration.  Final approval is required by the Provost.
  • History.  Consideration should be given to the number and scope of reciprocal visits between the institutions, number of faculty members from both institutions involved in the collaborations, and the existence of prior joint projects or exchanges.
  • Coordination. Specific individual(s) at each institution must be identified to be responsible for coordinating the activities that comprise the relationship, e.g., initiating publicity, communicating information to the other institution.

Compliance. Certain types of collaborative relationships, research activities, and country affiliations may be restricted or limited by law or policy despite promising academic possibilities. All elements of a proposed partnership must comply with the State of South Carolina and U.S. federal laws, including immigration, export control regulations, Office of Foreign Assets Control and sanction programs, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Anti-Boycott laws, among other requirements. Adherence to the laws and regulations of the host country as well as policies and practices of the proposed partner institution may require further due diligence on MUSC’s part.  

Evaluation. The proposed partnership/collaboration should outline criteria and measurable goals in order to evaluate the success of the relationship prior to the renewal of the agreement. University practice is to sign agreements for a period of three to five years, renewable with both sides’ consent and a review of activities.