DEFINING THE IAO IN THE CONTEXT OF PSU
Prince Sultan University aspires to become the leading non-profit private university in the Middle East, providing a quality education equal to other reputable universities in the world.
Prince Sultan University aims to provide the Middle East with quality education to the highest international standards.
In its efforts towards a successful and responsible life-long learning, PSU integrates modern technology, pedagogy and human values for the advancement of scientific research, productivity, and leadership towards a meaningful social life.
PSU is committed to effective management of institutional resources to optimize its multiple roles as the catalyst for new learning opportunities, national and international partnerships, continuous studies, professional growth, community service and diversity in educational horizons for the good of humanity.
The International Affairs Office’s (IAO) mandate is to facilitate and administrate PSU engagements with international partnering institutions and agencies. Its authorization is found in the PSU’s vision and mission statements. The first announces the University’s aim to be the premier private institute of higher education in the Middle East, one that offers a quality education equal to that found in strong schools elsewhere in the world. In the second, one of the means to achieve this end is via partnering with foreign schools. The work of the IAO in the main is the implementation of these directives by strategically cultivating partnerships with world-class universities and tactically engaging with analogous, nimble schools around the globe.
IAO ROLES, WORK, AND INSTRUMENTS
The IAO is the institutional interface between PSU top administration and the leadership of the colleges and departments. Its duties also include in organizing and leading PSU summer trips, administering the PSU study abroad program, oversight of university benchmarking, management of the Fullbridge Program, and performing various ad hoc assignments for senior administration.
The IAO is directly under the Rector’s Office. The Director of the IAO meets regularly with the Rector to learn about, probe and explore and critically discuss strategic planning and initiatives relating to international schools, programs, scholars, and agencies. This work usually includes the following elements
Research on targets; write-ups of summary notes and briefs
Contacts and discussions with relevant PSU administrators and faculty
Assessments and/or recommendations are written out and discussed in meetings
If a decision is made to contact the school and/or person, IAO Director will start a correspondence (usually via email) with the target(s) pursuant to reaching an understanding with other schools in regards to the benefits to be gained by both PSU and the prospective partner. Once common grounds and interests are found, work to formalize ties via written agreements.
Faculty members cannot on their own make ties with foreign schools, scholars and/or agencies in the name of Prince Sultan University. Rather they must first make formal proposals for establishing institutional or personal ties via the following process:
Draft and edit a proposal that lists its object(s), explains how the partnership will benefit PSU, the anticipated costs of the ties, target(s) contact information if any, etc.
Proposal is first reviewed, remarked on and approved by the College Dean or Departmental Chair and then forwarded to the International Affairs Office.
If College or Departmental support is strong and a good case can be made for the proposal, the IAO Director will forward it to the top administration for review, comment and decision. If approved by the Rector’s Office, the targeted school and/or person will be contacted as described above. No action will be taken on proposals not approved.
Partnership ties with foreign schools and scholars are formalized through written and signed
Documents. To date, the two most common type of documents are Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Agreements.
MOUs formalize institutional (i.e. school to school; school to organizations, etc) and feature general
language designed to prompt both parties to look for opportunities to work together
for mutual benefits. The documents are usually short and feature the following elements
Announcement of comity of interests between PSU and University X to explore
for opportunities for partnering activities such as
student and faculty exchanges
joint research programs
design and establishment of programs
…other activities of mutual interest
Operationalizing (roles, costs, timelines, etc.) such activities to be worked out between the two parties in contractual form at a later time
General conditional paragraphs
end ties options: time frame, 5-years and then ties are up for optional renewal;
six-month notice of cancellation of ties, etc
legal obligations and jurisdictions, etc.
Signatures and Date - MOUs are signed by PSU Rector and his equivalent at partnering institution - or by someone authorized to sign for the same
MOUs in effect invite both parties to find areas and activities of common interest to team together in. For the current list of PSU MOU* partnerships see Appendix)
Agreements are formalized relationships below the institutional level. One might be between an individual scholar and a PSU department, another between an agency and a PSU program and so on. To date, the IAO involvement in Agreements is limited to the PRAs (Program Review Agreements) that facilitated a number of PSU Colleges and Programs entering contractual agreements with Professors from well known foreign universities. Unlike MOUs, PRAs list general details of the contract and reference to the terms of engagement. The signatories of PRAs are the PSU College Deans or Department Heads along with the engaged Professor.
* PSU – University of Florida [UF] have an Agreement of Cooperation [AOC]which functions the same as an MOU as described above. UF's practice is to use its own AOC template with the precise terms and language negotiated by the two parties before printing and signing.