Affiliation Agreement Approval Process
Tufts University, its schools, centers, departments, and units frequently enter into memoranda of understanding and other affiliation agreements with both domestic and international partners in order to expand the student experience, conduct and enhance the impact of research, and provide opportunities for faculty development. A list of current, active agreements is available to members of the Tufts community on a UTLN protected website. For more information about active and lapsed agreements, please contact MOU@tufts.edu.
What is an Affiliation Agreement?
“Affiliation Agreement” is a general term that refers to any inter-institutional agreement between Tufts (or one of its schools or the HNRCA) with a Collaborating Institution or Entity in support of academic cooperation and educational programs, such as academic programs, co-curricular or service opportunities, exchange of students, faculty, scholars and staff. They can have different names: Memorandum of Understanding, Memorandum of Agreement, Affiliation Agreement, Exchange Agreement, Cooperation Agreement, Collaboration Agreement, and more.
A General Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Cooperation Agreement is an agreement confirming an intent to develop cooperative activities between the institutions, potentially in multiple areas, without commitments to a specific action or funding.
Activity Agreement or Implementation Agreements commit Tufts and the other institution to implement specific activities or programs and outlining their respective roles and responsibilities. These often (but not always) derive from the umbrella framework of a general MOU or cooperation agreement but can also be negotiated on a stand-alone basis.
Affiliation agreements can cover a wide range of academic and educational activities. Although all are forms of affiliation agreements, different activities will need different terms and conditions.
Other types of agreements formalizing cooperation between Tufts and other entities in connection with sponsored projects, research activity, data, and gifts are not referred to as Affiliation Agreements and are not covered by this policy.
What is the approval policy for Affiliation Agreements?
These Affiliation Agreements (including renewals, modifications, and additions) require approval of the school dean or HNRCA director and the Provost prior to signing:
- Academic agreements, student exchange agreements and student internship or externship agreements (other than clinical patient-facing rotations) not using Tufts’ approved templates;
- Joint degree or certificate agreements;
- Joint admissions agreements or expedited admissions agreements; and
- All agreements or programs with activities outside the United States or with parties outside the United States.
All Affiliation Agreements that must be approved by the Provost as set forth above may be subject to additional review, as determined by the Provost, which may include review by the Office of University Counsel and OVPR, and certain types of Affiliation Agreements must contain standard clauses as required by the Office of University Counsel.
These Affiliation Agreements (including renewals, modifications and additions) require the approval and signature of the school dean or NHRCA Director (or their designee), but not of the Provost:
- Health sciences residency agreements and hospital affiliations with institutions within the United States;
- Academic agreements, student exchange agreements and agreements for placement of student interns and/or externs (and other agreements for placement of students in patient-facing clinical rotations) within the United States using Tufts’ approved templates or documents approved by the Office of University Counsel.
These agreements must contain standard clauses as required by the Office of University Counsel and may be subject to additional review, as determined by the relevant school dean. This may include review by the Office of University Counsel.
Any Affiliation Agreements may only be signed by authorized signatories. Consult the Signatory Authority Policy to determine who can sign an Affiliation Agreement. In general, the following people are permitted to sign an affiliation agreement: the President, Provost, Executive Vice President, Deans, Vice Provosts, Senior Vice Presidents, and Vice Presidents.
- Discuss initiative with Department Chair, Dean (or their designee) or unit head, and EAD to obtain their support and learn about any applicable school policies and review or approval procedures.
- Confirm financial needs and support.
- If the agreement concerns an academic program, submit a Letter of Intent to PDAC@tufts.edu. If the program is subject to PDAC review, the Affiliation Agreement cannot be executed until PDAC approval has been received.
- Contact MOU@tufts.edu to request a template for the type of agreement being proposed and adapt it for the proposed collaboration. Include in the request the name of the collaborating institution any information that will be helpful in determining what the proposed collaborative activity is. If there is no template, or if there are any questions regarding the collaboration, you will be contacted by the Office of the University Counsel or the Provost’s Office so that a specific agreement can be drafted for you.
- If you are using the other institution’s template, proceed to Step 3 and send it and any supporting documentation to MOU@tufts.edu. Please note that we encourage the use of Tufts’ templates, as this will reduce the amount of time to approve and conclude the agreement but recognize that there are circumstances when it will be appropriate to use the collaborating institution’s (e.g., if Tufts is sending students or faculty to the collaborating institution, if there are special laws or regulations that apply, etc.).
- NOTE that all affiliation agreements, whether Tufts-drafted or not, must contain certain clauses as required by the Office of University Counsel.
- Complete the Affiliation Agreement Intent Form, with appropriate endorsements, and submit to MOU@tufts.edu. Include as attachments any draft agreement (with changes proposed), if any, or attach the collaborating institution’s template or proposed draft (with changes clearly marked) if you plan to use that. Include detail of any financial arrangements related to the collaboration.
- EXCEPTION: Domestic Health sciences residencies/rotations and student field placements must seek approval from Dean and EAD and use appropriate templates, but do not require further approvals, and do not need to submit an affiliation agreements intent form.
- Once the Form and accompanying documents are received by the Office of the Provost, they will be reviewed by the Provost and OUC and approved or returned with revisions. Please allow up to 10 business days for review. Some agreements—especially international agreements—may require input and/or approval from various campus units as part of the approval process. The Office of the Provost will consult those offices and/or provide additional instructions to the agreement lead if needed.
- After the Agreement has been reviewed or drafted by OUC (and any other relevant campus units) and returned to you, you may share the document with the Collaborating Institution, which may propose edits.
- If the Collaborating Institution proposes any changes to the draft, resubmit the draft, with the changes clearly indicated to MOU@tufts.edu.
- Following approval of the draft by OUC and the Office of the Provost, and the Collaborating Institution, the Agreement is ready for signature. If the agreement is for a program requiring PDAC support, it should be executed (i.e., signed) only after program approval is received. Faculty and staff may not sign an affiliation agreement on behalf of Tufts.
- The final approved agreement must be signed by a designee from Tufts and from the collaborating institution. Faculty and staff may not sign an affiliation agreement on behalf of Tufts. The agreement can only be signed by authorized signatories, as provided in the Signatory Authority Policy.
- Once signatures are obtained, submit a copy of the fully-executed agreement to MOU@tufts.edu and to the school dean and EAD.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your agreement needs to be approved if it involves:
- An institution or institutions located outside of the United States.
- The exchange of people (faculty, scholars, staff, or students).
- Any organization that is a:
- For-profit university
- Public or private research institution
- Non-profit organization outside of higher education
- A university-, school-, or department-level commitment, rather than a commitment by an individual faculty member. This includes:
- Open-ended agreements for lectures, conferences, etc.
- The creation of any consortium or cooperative in which Tufts University is a member
- Agreements to host meetings, joint conferences, etc. on a monthly or yearly basis
- A new joint degree, certificate, or continuing education program.
- A scalable agreement to exchange information pertaining to developments in teaching, student development, and research. This includes:
- Agreements to build internship programs
- Agreements related to joint applications for research funding
- Agreements to accept students to attend Tufts University
Your agreement does not need to be approved it if involves:
- Health sciences residency agreements and hospital affiliations. These agreements must be submitted for information purposes only.
- Co-authoring agreements.
- Grants, contracts, and sponsored projects must be submitted directly to Research Administration and Development in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.
- Technology transfer, industry collaboration agreements, or any agreements related to intellectual property must be submitted directly to the Office of Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration.
If you still do not know if your agreement needs to be approved, please email MOU@tufts.edu.
This approval process ensures coordination and compliance across Tufts’ schools, units, and departments. Specifically, it is designed to:
- Ensure agreements advance the institutional mission of the university and enhance Tufts’ standing in the academic community
- Protect Tufts’ reputation as a research university of the highest regard
- Identify institutional and geographical overlap
- Keep an accurate record of Tufts global presence
- Track agreement end dates and ensuring renewals are processed appropriately
There are many instances in which an agreement that does not involve payments must be approved by the Office of the Provost. This includes agreements for faculty, scholar, staff, or student exchange, university-level agreements to host regularly occurring joint conferences or events, and agreements with any for-profit institution of higher education.
Generally, it takes the Office of the Provost up to two weeks to approve an agreement, once the completed draft and signed Routing Form have been received. Agreements requiring substantial edits may take additional time.
Yes. Please send a high quality scan with legible text and signatures.
Please contact MOU@tufts.edu and we will send you the proper form for the type of agreement you wish to propose.