Global Partnerships

We seek innovative and sustainable collaborative educational initiatives of the highest academic quality with colleges and universities around the world. The sections below include a description of institutional agreement types, the approval process and a searchable database of PNW’s global linkages.

Developing Institutional Agreements

There are essentially three types of written “agreements” that structure international institutional partnership activities at Purdue University Northwest: (1) Letter of Intent (LOI), (2) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and (3) Activity Agreement (AA). Each document is designed to facilitate a particular purpose as described below.

Activities described in these documents should be mutually beneficial and consistent with the goals and strategic plans of participating colleges, departments, centers and/or programs. Particularly for agreements involving multiple colleges, the activities should be aligned with Purdue Northwest’s strategic plan.

The Office of Global Engagement (OGE) is prepared to assist interested parties with any questions related to establishing an institutional agreement or determining which document is most appropriate. Establishing productive, sustainable institutional relationships can be a challenging experience, even for the seasoned higher education administrator or faculty member.

The Information Collection Form (IC Form) is designed to assess if an agreement is necessary and to determine the appropriate agreement to pursue if one is appropriate.

Except in the case when agreements obligate Purdue Northwest to provide financial or other resources, such as Student Exchange Agreements (SEAs) or Activity Agreements (AAs), Purdue Northwest does not require that partnership activities be formalized through any of these instruments. It is more often the case that international partner institutions require agreements for their own administrative and prestige purposes.

Prior to entering into a Letter of Intent (LOI), Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Activity Agreement (AA) with an international institution, a query of Restricted Persons/Parties (RPS) lists maintained by federal agencies must be performed. This search will assist in identifying persons (individuals and companies) convicted of export control violations, debarred from federal funding, or otherwise prohibited from doing business with the US.

The RPS is initiated by OGE and facilitated by Procurement & Auxiliary Services, based on the information that the faculty/staff member provides in the IC Form.

  1. A Letter of Intent (LOI) is an official document designed to inform administrators, faculty and other institutional constituents that there is sufficient interest to at least explore, and in some cases pursue, modes of collaboration in the future. Generally, an LOI is appropriate at early stages of defining potential partnership activities. (LOI template – Coming Soon). See the ‘process’ tab for more details.
  2. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an official document designed to inform administrators, faculty and other institutional constituents of reciprocal resolve to engage in sustainable partnership activities. An MOU is generally broader and more formal than an LOI, with the potential for partnerships involving multiple faculty/staff members or multiple departments at both institutions. In most cases, Purdue Northwest’s concept of MOUs is that they do not contain specific and binding institutional commitments, but rather such commitments would be spelled out in separate Activity Agreements (see below). Please see the MOU template (Coming Soon). See the ‘process’ tab for more details.
  3. An Activity Agreement (AA) is an official document designed to inform administrators, faculty and other institutional constituents that the partnership has reached a stage where institutions commit the time and resources needed to develop and support specific tangible activities. Normally, an academic dean, department head, center director or their designee will generate internal documentation of the financial/resource commitments and interact with OGE to ensure the activity content that they want included in the AA is defined before OGE begins processing the request. While an MOU often serves as an “umbrella” document formalizing a non-binding institutional partnership, an AA can serve as an addendum that describes specific institutional commitments. An AA can also serve as a stand-alone document. Signing an MOU is thus not a pre-requisite for signing an AA. Please see the example AA template (AA example – Coming Soon). See the ‘process’ tab for more details.

Note: A Student Exchange Agreement is an example of a very specific type of Activity Agreement. Please consult with Education Abroad for procedures and issues related to Student Exchange Agreements.

In the case of a student exchange program, it is important first to understand:

  1. If there are PNW students interested with capacity for studying in the foreign country as a study abroad destination;
  2. If the curriculum at the international university has PNW course equivalencies that could be established.
  1. The faculty/staff member completes and submits the Information Collection Form (IC Form). The Office of Global Engagement (OGE) will then review the form, and a copy of the information will be shared with the Dean’s Office of the relevant college.
  2. OGE will search the global linkages (coming soon) database for existing agreements and initiate a Restricted Party Search (RPS) in collaboration with Procurement & Auxiliary Services. OGE will help the faculty member determine the necessity and/or desirability of the proposed agreement and the best instrument for that agreement given the proposed scope. As appropriate, the Head of Department/School and College/School may also be consulted during this stage.
  3. If it is determined that the agreement is not necessary, the responsible faculty/staff member will inform the overseas contact. Otherwise, if a standard template LOI, MOU, or AA is being pursued, OGE will prepare the document and help the faculty/staff member facilitate the negotiation. Business managers will be contacted at this stage to draft any necessary budgets.
  1. After completing all steps in Stage 1, if a standard template LOI or MOU is being pursued, OGE will provide a draft agreement to the faculty/staff member if one has not already been provided.
  2. If the partner institution insists on using its own template or an Activity Agreement is being pursued, the faculty/staff member should review the international partner’s suggested agreement for content and ensure they are in agreement with the proposed collaborations before forwarding a draft to OGE for review, or in the case when no agreement is provided, OGE will draft the agreement and then provide a copy for the faculty/staff member for review and approval.
  3. OGE will coordinate a review of the document by Academic Affairs and Legal, in additional to facilitating revisions with all necessary parties, as needed.
  4. Once all Purdue Northwest parties mentioned in steps 1, 2, and 3 have “cleared” the document, the faculty/staff member may send the document directly to the overseas partner/authorized signatories, or, if requested, OGE may conduct this step if the faculty/staff member prefers.
  5. Signature authority: For Purdue Northwest, all Letters of Intent (LOI) must be signed by the Provost, Executive Director Global Engagement, and college Dean; all MOU’s must be signed by Chancellor, Provost, Executive Director of Global Engagement, VC Finance & Admin (with cover letter signed by Senior Contract Analyst); and all Activity Agreements (AA) must be signed by Provost, Executive Director of Global Engagement, Dean, Senior Contract Analyst. Signature routing is coordinated by Procurement & Auxiliary Services.

Note: In special circumstances or for ceremonial purposes, a separate signature page is later attached to the document with the signatures of the authorized signatories.

Once any of the three instruments is fully signed, OGE and Procurement will coordinate to send an original and/or scanned copy to the international partner (as per the partner’s preference). Ultimately, all agreements are recorded in both the global linkages database and with Procurement & Auxiliary Services. OGE is responsible for ensuring that all agreements are recorded in the global linkages database and that template agreements are archived with Procurement & Auxiliary Services.


Purdue University Northwest has partnership agreements with many international institutions.

This page allows you to search among Purdue Northwest’s active programs and connections around the globe. Simply use the filters below to narrow your search window as desired and click on the ‘Search’ button.

Active Agreements Database