Building International Partnerships

We seek to establish productive and sustainable institutional relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Consider the following parameters of the proposed collaboration:

  • Learning goals and/or research objectives
  • Alignment with the goals of Western’s internationalization strategic plan – Achieving Excellence on the World Stage
  • Prior activities and history of collaboration with the partner institution
  • Directed outcomes and potential impact
  • Scope of work to be undertaken by both institutions for the proposed activities and availability of resources to create and manage the collaboration
  • Partnership capacity and interest in growth

Partnerships must meet Western’s Safety Abroad Policy with regard to the Government of Canada travel advisory warnings for international locations and demonstrate commitment to safety protocols, in particular where student mobility is concerned.

Establishing an agreement is a multi-step process. This section provides guidelines on how the process works.

Take the Next Step

1. Exploring the Partnership

Complete the International Partnership Proposal Form. This helps determine if and what type of agreement is needed. Confirm support at the department and faculty level. Supporting signatures are required!

Need help? Contact the Director, International Learning to scope feasibility and mutually beneficial outcomes of the proposed partnership.

2. Getting Started

Submit the International Partnership Proposal Form to  Western International.

A proposal review will be completed by Western International in consultation with other campus units, as required, based on the type of agreement being proposed to determine fit with Western’s international strategy.

A partnership decision regarding the outcome of the proposed partnership will be communicated to the faculty/staff member initiating the proposal.

3. Developing the Agreement

Templates are provided by Western International. We are also here to help liaise with partner institutions and campus units to develop agreement language acceptable to both institutions and formalize a draft.

Agreements drafted using the template of the proposed partner will need to be reviewed by Western’s Legal Counsel.

4. Finalizing the Agreement

Collection of signatures is the last step of the process. Western International will coordinate with the partner institute and at Western in the collection of signatures.

Original copies of the agreement are retained by Western International.


Looking to Partner with Western?

If you are interested in building a partnership with Western, you are able to fill out the International Partnership Proposal form and send by email.
Be sure to identify an academic or non-academic unit where you feel there are opportunities for collaboration.
Once the International Partnership Proposal Form has been received, Western International will facilitate introductions and engage appropriate faculty and staff members.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of Western International?

Western International (WI) is the central office at Western for the coordination of international agreements (excluding research agreements). WI works in collaboration with campus units to support and advise staff in the drafting of agreements and manages the process with Western Legal and for the collection of signatures.

WI must review all international partnership agreements before signatures can be obtained. This is to help mitigate risks, ensure against the development of duplicate agreements with institutions abroad, and maintain Western Worldwide as the central database for all international partnership agreements at Western.

For research agreements, should I work with Western International or Western Research?

Collaborative research initiatives involving faculty and/or graduate students, faculty exchanges, or other types of joint activities whose primary purpose is the pursuit of research are initiated through Western International using the Partnership Proposal Form. Western International will then connect with the Research Office who will work with the individual to finalize the details and the agreement itself.

See also Guidelines for International Research Partnerships.

Other types of partnerships, including student learning abroad, transfer of academic credit, collaborative academic programs, study and/or work experience programs should consult Western International. See also Establishing International Academic Partnerships and Procedures.

How long will the agreement negotiation and approval process take?

The timeline depends on agreement complexity, whether the Western templates are used, and the changes proposed by the partner institution.


  • Partnership Review: Account 3 weeks for the review of the International Partnership Proposal and communication of the decision.
  • Agreement negotiation and Draft: We will work to finalize a draft for signing as quickly as we can! Some negotiation and review periods may take a while as multiple bodies at Western and the partners institution may be involved. Account for a minimum of 4 weeks.

Why must this approval process be followed?

International agreements can be complex and often require multiple stakeholders to provide input.

Consultation and input from Western International and/or Western Research, and Western Legal Counsel is required for all international agreements provided to the Western leadership for signature.

This comprehensive vetting process helps mitigate risks, ensures against the development of duplicate agreements, and seeks to help ensure that new partnerships strengthen and support Western’s internationalization strategic plan.

Can we use a template provided by the collaborating institution?

Yes. While we encourage the use of our templates, template provided by partner institutions may be considered. Agreements drafted using the template of the proposed partner will need to be reviewed by Western’s Legal Counsel. Additional review can result in delays.

Who is eligible to submit an International Partnership Proposal?

International Partnership Proposals can be submitted by a Western faculty member or department administration. Support of the Head of Unit or Department Chair and the Faculty Dean is required.

Who must sign international agreements at Western?

This will vary depending on the type of agreement. Common signatories from Western can include:

  • Provost and Vice President (Academic)
  • Secretary of the Board of Governors
  • Faculty Dean (for faculty-specific collaborations)
  • Vice-Provost, School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (for graduate programs)
  • Vice-President (Research) (for research collaborations)
  • Vice-Provost (International) (for MoUs and Letters of Intent)

Additional details can be found under Types of International Agreements. Western International will support the securing of required signatures

What is the process for renewing a partnership?

The renewal proposal process is the same as that for new agreements. To renew a partnership, complete the International Partnership Renewal form and submit to Western International. The timeline for a renewal may be shorter than that of a new agreement so long as the terms of the original agreement remain current with limited or no revisions required.

What is the process for terminating a partnership?

Each agreement has a termination clause which specifies the process and notification requirements. If there is a decision to terminate an active agreement prior to expiration, please contact Western International for guidance.