Comprehensive Standard 3.4.7: Consortial Relationships/Contractual Agreements
The institution ensures the quality of educational programs and courses offered through consortial relationships or contractual agreements, ensures ongoing compliance with the Principles, and periodically evaluates the consortial relationship and/or agreement against the purpose of the institution. (See Commission policy “Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures.”)
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) has academic agreements with four international programs and one domestic program, including a dual degree program with International University of Applied Sciences, Bad Honnef, Germany; Certificates in Hospitality with Shih Chien University in Taiwan, National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism in Taiwan, and Institute Paul Bocuse in France; and USF in Tampa’s Hosted Hospitality Program. USF Sarasota-Manatee students also engage in student exchange programs. USF Sarasota-Manatee, however, does not have any contractual academic agreements. The only program for which students may take online courses is the program with USF in Tampa, which is a SACSCOC-accredited institution.
SACSCOC received notification of the international agreements and provided a Letter of Approval for International Agreements. The hosted program at USF in Tampa also went through appropriate substantive change procedures, including a prospectus, which SACSCOC approved by the Letter of Approval for Hosted Program in Tampa. All credits transferred into USF Sarasota-Manatee meet the normal credit hour policy, USF System Policy 10-065, including credits earned from study abroad.
USF Sarasota-Manatee’s document, Procedures for Initiating International Agreements, guides faculty and deans in developing relationships with international partners. USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Global Engagement Office (GEO), a liaison to USF World (a USF System resource), assists faculty with the design, development, execution, and implementation of international agreements. USF Sarasota-Manatee’s procedures align with USF World’s Guidelines for Preparation of an International Agreement and Florida Board of Governor’s Regulation 8.009 for Establishing Educational Sites. The four phases of development of an international agreement are the following:
Phase I: Feasibility Report: The initiator prepares a USF World Feasibility Report Template with the knowledge of the College Dean, GEO, Student Services, Academic Council, and Institutional Research & Effectiveness (IR). USF World reviews and approves the report.
Phase II: General Agreement for Collaboration: The initiator and the foreign partner institution agree to the terms of the collaboration using the USF World Agreement for Collaboration template that the General Counsel developed and then approves before going forward with signing.
Phase III: Memorandum of Understanding: If an MOU has an academic component, the agreement must follow USF Sarasota-Manatee’s curriculum approval processes (See Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1 (Academic Program Approval). GEO coordinates finalization of the MOU with USF World, the General Counsel, and the partnering institution, including obtaining appropriate signatures.
Phase IV: SACSCOC Notification and Approval: The initiator meets with Institutional Research & Effectiveness (IR) to determine if the MOU involves a substantive change as defined by SACSCOC and assists IR in preparing any needed documentation for SACSCOC notification and/or approval within the appropriate time-frame before implementation. USF Policy 10-061, Reporting Substantive Change, governs all MOUs that require a substantive change notification or prospectus to SACSCOC to assure continuity and compliance with all SACSCOC requirements.
Each new agreement must fulfill the USF Sarasota-Manatee mission (Example: NKUHT MOU). USF Sarasota-Manatee periodically evaluates the agreements against the purpose of the institution. Following the approval of Focus on Quality 2020: USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020, the Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research & Effectiveness reviewed each of the academic agreements to ensure their alignment with the new mission in the 2015 Academic Agreements Report.
Regarding program quality, only USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty teach in the programs with international agreements. They monitor the curricular processes closely and participate fully in annual academic program assessment. In addition, the Hospitality faculty have already planned to compare student performance in the current Sarasota degree program with the hosted Tampa program when it starts in fall 2015 (Hospitality Assessment 2015-16 Draft sent with substantive change prospectus).
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION AND EVIDENCE