Executive Council

Authorizes Release:

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Responsible Area:

Academic Affairs

Review Cycle:

Annually or as required

Last Review:

August 2023

Related Policies and Additional References:



  1. At St Mary’s University, a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU) designates a collaborative agreement between two (or more) parties that outlines cooperative research and/or educational partnerships, professional training opportunities, professional clinical training required by specific programs or agencies, and/or any other academically enriching activities. MOUs are typically not legally binding agreements. MOUs do not necessarily exact a commitment of university resources. Each institution is responsible for managing its own costs. Instead, MOUs describe complementary activities that mutually benefit all parties.
  2. “Letters of Intent” (LOI) are expressions of intended cooperation that inform MOUs or agreements. LOIs establish guidelines and principles to outline responsibilities and contributions that both parties have agreed to discuss further for various collaborative partnerships.
  3. “Academic Partnership Agreements” include LOIs, MOUs, cooperative academic agreements, and any other broad academic arrangements designed as mutually beneficial to all signatory parties.
  4. “Responsible departments” or “initiating units” refer to the academic department(s) or administrative unit(s) that will bear primary responsibility for effectively working with the MOU partner.
  5. For the purpose of MOUs and academic partnerships, the President’s Office and the Provost’s Office designate “academic leadership” and “direct academic officers” to include Deans, Vice Provosts, Vice Presidents, and Administrative Directors.
  6.  “Term of agreement” refers to the period of time MOUs or agreements shall remain in effect following the signature of all parties. Agreements may be terminated with due process and followed by written notice by either party.


All academic Memoranda of Understanding and Partnership Agreements must adhere to the following:

  1. All University MOUs, academic partnerships agreements, and cooperative academic agreements (where offsite courses receive St. Mary’s credits) must follow university guidelines and comply with SACSCOC standards and all other accrediting criteria. To this end, any new, revised, or renewed MOUs and all academic partnership agreements must follow the detailed process of review at the link in the policy library: Related Policies and Additional References: “MOU Help get you started Handout”
  2. Responsible departments or units must first seek support from their respective academic leadership before pursuing any MOU or academic partnership.
  3. Designated academic leadership or direct academic officers indicate their official support for MOUs by uploading vetted and updated (due for renewal), or revised, or new MOUs through the Gateway portal to initiate the review and approval process through the Provost’s Office (
  4. The responsible department or unit will also track, in collaboration with the Provost’s Office, the MOU’s expiration date and work with the MOU signatory to gather the information to assess the desirability of renewals.
  5. Modification: Agreements may be modified in writing by approval of both parties. Related Policies and Additional References: “Addendum draft for small revisions or insertions in MOUs”
  6. Termination: Due causes and violations of Texas or US applicable laws result in immediate termination of the agreement and must include a way to protect students or employees currently in the programs for completion. Notification must be given immediately in writing.
  7. The Vice President of Enrollment Management reviews MOUs or academic partnerships concerning admissions, financial aid provisions, or scholarships prior to Provost’s Office review and approval.
  8. Before Provost’s Office review and approval, the Vice Provost for Vocation and Career Development reviews MOUs involving internships, except MOUs exclusively concerning J.D and L.L.M. students, which are reviewed by the Law School’s Externship Program Office. 
  9. The Director of the Center for International Programs reviews all MOUs concerning study abroad programs and international partnership agreements prior to Provost’s Office review and approval.
  10. The Director of the Sponsored Projects Academic Research & Compliance (SPARC) Office reviews all MOUs concerning extramural funding and sponsored projects prior to Provost’s Office review and approval.
  11. St Mary’s assesses programs, MOUs, and academic partnerships on a regular basis before renewal of the arrangements or every five (5) years, whichever comes first. Existing perpetual MOUs or existing partnership agreements with open-ended terms from domestic and foreign partners will undergo review every 5 years by the Office of the Provost. Related Policies and Additional References: “INTERNAL REVIEW PROCESS FOR MOUs & Partnerships 2023”
  12. Original MOUs with original signatures arepreferred (scanned originals and electronic signatures are acceptable). MOUs are deemed fully executed on the date signatures from all parties are affixed unless noted otherwise in the document. Therefore, the initiating unit is responsible for obtaining signatures from the external signatory partner after the MOU has been signed by the Provost’s and/or President’s Offices. The responsible department or initiating unit will provide the fully executed original MOU or agreement with all parties’ signatures to the Provost’s Office.
  13. The responsible department or initiating unit will also track the MOU’s expiration date and work with the MOU signatory partner to gather the information to assess renewals.
  14. The President’s and/or Provost’s designees will review all existing and current MOUs that now fall under this new policy.
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