Preparation

There are a number of different ways in which proposals for collaboration or partnership development may be initiated:

  1. as a result of the College strategic plan; 
  2. through an approach from a prospective partner institution (e.g. through former academic colleague or alumnus); 
  3. a request from the University’s senior management to investigate a possible collaboration; or 
  4. a combination of these and other routes. 

Before taking discussions too far it is important to establish if

  • the proposed collaboration is consistent with the University’s and the College’s strategic and regional priorities.
  • it is appropriate to undertake the proposed collaboration given the University’s/ College’s existing partnership arrangements and other commitments.

The main preparatory steps are outlined below.

To start the ball rolling we strongly recommend that you make early contact with the following contacts:

Key contacts Can provide information on...
College International Leads  ... strategic priorities for internationalisation in the College, based on the College’s strategic plan.

Mrs Jackie McCluskey


Deputy Head of Academic Collaborations Office

For the College of Arts and the College of Social Sciences

... the different types of collaborations and how to proceed. The Academic Collaborations Office will liaise with colleagues to support initiatives throughout the process, facilitating passage from conception to implementation, linking as appropriate with other University Services and officers and external agencies and officers (such as providers of legal services and opposite numbers in the partner institutions).  

Mr Ryan Reed

Senior Academic Collaborations Manager

For the College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences and the College of Science and Engineering

... the different types of collaborations and how to proceed. The Academic Collaborations Office will liaise with colleagues to support initiatives throughout the process, facilitating passage from conception to implementation, linking as appropriate with other University Services and officers and external agencies and officers (such as providers of legal services and opposite numbers in the partner institutions).  

Ms Nancy Donald


Head of Academic Collaborations Office

... the development of different forms of transnational education provision and the associated quality and standards issues.

Head of 
International Affairs (
Vacancy)

In the interim contact mario-international-affairs@glasgow.ac.uk

 ... the University’s Internationalisation Strategy and associated operational plans, international market information and who to speak to for in-country advice.

... the International Partnership Development Fund is available to assist with forging strategic alliances, developing international business cases, high level negotiation (annual funding of £120,000 from SMG and Colleges). The funds may be used for travel or related costs for support of projects being initiated within Colleges to develop an international dimension to their collaborative academic activities and contribute to sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships.

The investment in developing a programme and in a partnership is considerable so, before any development work is approved, it is only sensible to be sure that the proposal is based on a realistic assessment of the demand for the programme.  This must be based on accurate data and factual information, such as:

  • Market features and potential - main competitors, patterns of market demand,  specific opportunities within subject areas, students, programmes, etc;
  • the political, legal and educational environment of the region, if an international collaboration is proposed;
  • the partner’s reputation and experience in delivery of education or research.

The School/RI leading the proposal, together with the partner, need to ascertain how big that market is now and how it is likely to grow in, for example, the next five years. Colleges will want to assure themselves that it is worthwhile proceeding and committing time and energy to the development process.  Consequently, evidence of the market potential should be submitted to the College as part of the business case and approval process.

If a new partnership is proposed which involves the specific development of a new programme or the modification of an existing programme you should ensure that you take soundings on the reputation and standing of the partner institution first before you invest time in developing the programme.

A number of key members of University staff can help you determine the answers to the above.

Key Contacts Can provide information on... 
International Deans  ... strategic priorities for internationalisation in each global region and opportunities within those regions. They oversee the development of regional plans which encompass:  student recruitment; collaborative provision and partnership building; research links; alumni networking, reputation building and other related activities.
International Officers (External Relations)   ... market intelligence and information on the country, market potential and proposed partners in each global region.  They have been appointed to support international developments and work closely with International Deans.
College Business Development Managers   ... opportunities for income generation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the experience of University staff there are some key factors to relationship building and to developing successful partnerships:

  • Build trust – essential to creating relationships.
  • Establish ‘relationships’ before ‘partnerships’.
  • Ensure the relationship will be mutually beneficial, that there is reciprocity, and make obvious that the University is in it for the long term.
  • Sustained contact, communication and follow-up are critical.
  • Demonstrate the quality of what we can offer through proof of practice and ‘what you see is what you get’.
  • Maximise your presence in the country – build lecture or seminar opportunities into your visit as this can help with proof of practice.
  • Benefit from the knowledge, experience and contacts of in-country alumni – they can be key to opening doors, particularly with government ministries.

It is also important to realise that, because of the need to build trust and to establish a relationship, it can take time to develop collaborative arrangements.  However, this is where sustained contact, communication and follow-up can make a significant difference and assist in progressing the relationship and achieving a partnership. Sustained contact and communication will also help in determining if a potential partner is serious or not.

It is equally important to be aware that there can be barriers to effective collaboration.  According to the PIECC project (2005), these are:

  • Collaborating organisations have different visions, missions, goals and priorities;
  • Organisational culture and methods of communication are often different;
  • A lack of understanding of the expertise, knowledge and language of the other collaborating participants;
  • A lack of focus and consensus on the delegation of tasks;
  • An imbalance of resources:  time, money, human (frequent turnover of participants) etc;
  • Confidentiality, Intellectual Property and legal considerations;
  • Technological incompatibility.

Before a proposal grows arms and legs it is important to establish if

  • there is a sound rationale for the proposed collaboration;  
  • the proposed collaboration is consistent with the University’s Internationalisation Strategy and with the College’s strategic priorities
  • it is appropriate to undertake the proposed collaboration given the University’s/ College’s existing collaborative arrangements and other commitments;
  • the proposed collaboration is likely to command the commitment and support of the senior management of the College and of the prospective partner organisation;
  • there is a sound outline business case.

Consequently you should address these matters at an early stage with the senior management in the School/RI and College as the Head of School/RI Director and the Head of College will have to sign off on proposals further down the approval line.

Further information can be found here.

You should then make contact with the Academic Collaborations Office whose staff will make an initial assessment of the nature of the proposed collaboration and provide advice on the best way forward.  To facilitate discussions you should complete a Collaboration Proposal Form.

As part of the development phase you should undertake a risk assessment and due diligence checks as well as complete a business case

You need to be mindful throughout of issues relating to the public availability of information on collaborative arrangements.  These include, but are not limited to, the following.

Publicity and marketing of collaborations

Regardless of the type of collaborative arrangement, the University must maintain effective control of publicity and marketing materials, especially where these are published by a partner organisation. All material used to advertise or inform prospective students about the collaboration should clearly outline the University’s role in the arrangement.  For example, this may mean using similar wording as “validated by the University of Glasgow”; “in collaboration with the University of Glasgow” or other wording as applicable.

In particular the University seeks to ensure that publicity and marketing materials avoid:

  • inappropriate or misleading comparisons with other providers;
  • derogatory statements about other providers;
  • misleading statements about recognition of awards by public or other authorised bodies;
  • misleading advice about the recognition of awards by professional bodies or bodies in other countries;
  • bringing UK HE into disrepute.

The University will agree with the partner organisation whether it will publish all publicity and marketing materials or, if this is to be done by the partner, mechanisms for approval of such materials prior to publication. Any materials should be approved by a nominee of the School.  As a minimum, the sponsor School will be expected to monitor the quality and accuracy of promotional material on an annual basis. This should be specified in the Memorandum of Agreement

The University’s marque may be used to promote collaborative arrangements but only with the University’s written agreement and in accordance with Corporate Communication’s specific guidance on using our marque.  This should also be reflected in the Memorandum of Agreement

Collaborations Database

The QAA requires the University to have a register of approved educational partnerships, including the name and title of the School/RI contact.  The Academic Collaborations Office maintains this information database and publishes the information so that it is publicly available. On conclusion of the formal agreement, details of the new collaboration will be included on this database by Academic Collaboration Office staff.

You must advise the Academic Collaboration Office of any changes to the arrangement so that information on the database can be as current as possible, in particular where partners indicate an intention to withdraw from the arrangement or where it is proposed to contract with a new partner.

The Academic Collaboration Office will alert the College Head of Academic and Student Administration when an agreement is entering its final year so that the process of renewing or renegotiation can commence.