Establishing Local Unit Policies and Procedures
In most cases, schools within the university are responsible for ensuring compliance with institutional policies related to international activity in their areas. It is therefore critical for school deans’ offices to keep apprised of new and newly revised central policies and to establish a local process for distributing those policies to stakeholders.
Local units with significant international activity will likely have representation on central policy and review committees—a situation that typically makes local communication easier. Local units without central committee representation may also assign designees. In all cases, local unit designees may maintain an updated list of local stakeholders and work collaboratively with central administration to ensure that stakeholders keep apprised of new and newly revised central policies and procedures related to international activity.
As described above, local units will likely have standing internal committees related to international activity. In order to ease administrative burdens, an institution may grant these local unit committees the right to approve international ventures up to a certain annual budget threshold or in other situations defined by central policies as low risk. (when a local unit with established study abroad programs is establishing a new study abroad program, for example.) All local unit evaluations and approvals of proposals for new international activity may be conducted before a proposal is forwarded to the central committee.
Local unit committees related to international activity are typically formed for the following purposes:
- Establish local policies and procedures related to international activity:
- Always comply with central/institutional policies related to international activity.
- Involve significantly affected local stakeholders and subject matter experts (see “Defining Local Unit Roles Related to International Activity” section, above).
- Make sure the local policy is always more restrictive than the central policy, never less restrictive, in cases involving inconsistencies between central and local policies.
- Review proposals for new international programs:
- Approve proposals in accordance with central policies.
- Approve proposals at the dean or equivalent level prior to forwarding to central committee.
- Ensure proposals have feasible implementation plans, including communication plans.
- Establish procedures for clearly communicating with local unit home- and host-country stakeholders, including forwarding timely updates related to the following: (Note: Local units may solicit feedback from host-country offices to ensure that policies and procedures can be implemented in host-country offices and to keep apprised of any changes to host-country laws of which the local unit may be unaware.)
- New and newly revised central and local policies related to international activity.
- Immigration, tax, and Social Security rules in specific host countries.
- Monitor established programs on a regular basis:
- Determine period between reviews, which is typically annual and may vary depending on the size and scope of the program, contract terms, or other factors.
- Ensure consistency with original proposal and institutional mission.
- Ensure compliance with central policies and local laws.
- Review budgets and adjust accordingly.
- Ensure that local policies are current:
- Update on a regular basis.
- Strive to draft policies that will keep current for as long as possible (e.g., using job titles rather than specific employee names).