Collaborative Academic Arrangements Policy and Procedures

Policy and Procedures Involving the Award of Credit via Collaborative Arrangements


The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) has provided guidance for its member institutions for collaborative (cooperative) academic arrangements (affiliations, partnerships, technical assistance agreements, articulation agreements, cooperative agreements, consortial agreements, contracts, and memoranda of understanding) established for credit-bearing and degree-granting activities. The guidance is intended to ensure integrity and quality of academic outcomes in all such arrangements. EMU’s policy is designed to comply with these guidelines.

Policy Statement

As a member institution, it is the policy of Eastern Mennonite University to fully comply with the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation. The university will also consider policies and guidelines offered by SACSCOC. All arrangements involving articulated transfer of credit to EMU must adhere to SACSCOC Standard 10.8 Evaluating and awarding academic credit. Examples of such arrangements include guaranteed admission agreements and transfer articulation agreements. All collaborative academic arrangements through which EMU records courses or credits offered through collaborative arrangements as its own must adhere to SACSCOC Standard 10.9 Cooperative academic arrangements and must include provision for EMU faculty and administrative oversightExamples of such arrangements include collaborative degree programs involving one or more external institutions or organizations, and memoranda facilitating students' earning of EMU credit via courses offered by other institutions. Any agreement pertaining to the situations outlined above must be approved and signed by the president or the provost or an authorized designee.

In all cases, copies of agreements and required documentation are to be kept on file in the provost’s office. Memoranda are to be reviewed and updated as-needed on regular basis; at the point of review the appropriate dean and/or director or chair of the department where the collaborative arrangement is lodged shall reevaluate the quality of the program, determine whether the program continues to serve the mission of EMU, and update the agreement.

Agreements Involving a Collaborative Degree Program or Major

When EMU establishes a collaborative academic arrangement with (a) partner institution(s) to offer a degree program or major and EMU’s ability to offer that degree program or major is dependent upon courses taught by faculty from the partner institution:

  • Instructional faculty teaching in the program from the partner institution(s) are jointly appointed by the partner institution and EMU. EMU ensures that all partner institution faculty meet minimum qualification requirements as articulated by institutional policies, regional and specialized accrediting agencies, as well as other applicable state and federal guidelines. With regard to these joint appointments, EMU accepts as valid the promotion and tenure processes and outcomes of the partner institution. 
  • For jointly appointed faculty, EMU accepts as valid and reviews annually the faculty evaluations of the partner institution. Annually, the dean of the EMU school offering the program receives and reviews evaluation results for jointly appointed faculty and works with program directors to implement changes (or terminate the EMU joint appointment) as necessary in order to ensure program quality.
  • EMU maintains complete faculty records for jointly appointed faculty, including joint appointment letters, transcripts, CV, and faculty/course evaluation results.

Agreements Involving the Award of EMU Credit

In cases when EMU records courses or credit on student transcripts and the university has not had full control over all aspects of the delivery of the coursework (e.g. because the courses were offered by another institution or organization via a collaborative arrangement), EMU holds a particular obligation to ensure the quality and integrity of the work through faculty and administrative oversight. Arrangements leading to such cases must be codified in formal agreements between the parties involved and EMU must regularly evaluate those agreements. See Appendix 1 of this policy for a checklist to guide the development of collaborative arrangements involving the award of EMU credit.

Consortial/Partner Agreements Involving Transfer of Credit

Eastern Mennonite University maintains cooperative arrangements with selected institutions that offer programs that meet EMU requirements. Programs with such arrangements are ones that have distinctives compatible with the EMU curriculum. The purpose of these relationships is to allow students to meet cross-cultural requirements, provide courses that supplement on-campus coursework (that is, courses needed but not provided at EMU), or create a special program for EMU students. Examples of such programs include BCA Study Abroad and Central America Study and Service (CASAS). Students in these programs are EMU students. The following points apply to these programs:

1. The student must complete any admission requirements of the cooperating institution.

2. The student pays charges for tuition and, if applicable, room and board to EMU. The tuition charge is the higher of EMU tuition or the tuition of the cooperating institution. The room and board charge is equal to what is charged by the institution providing the room and board. EMU in turn pays the student’s program costs at the cooperating institution. (In some arrangements no money is exchanged between EMU and the cooperating institution because of mutual benefits.)

3. The academic credits received through the cooperating institution are transferable to EMU and applied toward the student’s degree program. Upon completion of the program the student is responsible for requesting an official transcript of credit to be sent to the EMU Registrar’s Office.

4. Financial aid for the student is provided only by EMU. In determining enrollment status for purposes of financial eligibility, credit hours from the cooperating institution are considered equivalent to EMU credit hours. The following points pertain to financial aid arrangements with various institutions with which EMU has consortial arrangements:

a) Students participating in approved programs where the enrollment is for the purpose of meeting the EMU requirement for a major in foreign language receive the same financial aid as if they were on campus.

b) Students participating in programs to meet the EMU cross-cultural requirement or take additional language courses are eligible only for non-institutional financial aid. Institutional aid (including the EMU and employee CMC/MSC/MEEC discounts) does not apply to off-campus programs unless necessary to meet EMU requirements as described in point a) above.

c) EMU students enrolled in the Washington Community Scholars’ Center may take up to 6 semester hours of credit at approved schools. Because the WCSC program is an extension of EMU, students will receive full financial aid as if they were on campus.

5. An agreement with each institution or organization must be on file in the Financial Assistance Office before any financial aid is released.

Memoranda of Understanding with Non-regionally Accredited Organizations

EMU has established relationships with selected non-regionally accredited organizations in order to provide credit for courses offered by these organizations.  EMU charges at the rate for “miscellaneous credits” per credit hour (see the business office website for rates and charges for a particular year) or other negotiated rate and ensures quality by completing the requirements outlined in the Checklist included with this policy (Appendix 1) and completing a Memorandum of Understanding.

Responsible Party

The provost is responsible for the administration and review of this policy. Deans and program directors/department chairs carry responsibility along with the provost to implement the policy. The provost’s office maintains a chart of organizations with whom EMU has current agreements and memoranda of understanding.

Policy Review

This policy is to be reviewed by the provost on an annual basis to ascertain that it continues to be compatible with SACSCOC requirements. Annually in August the Provost's Council also shall review the files to ensure that all memoranda and documentation are up to date.


Faculty/Staff Handbook

Approved by President’s Cabinet, June 28, 2006
Revised March 11, 2009
Revised February 6, 2020 for 2018 SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation
Revised and approved by Provost's Council, September 1, 2020

Appendix 1: Checklist for Development and Evaluation of Collaborative Academic Arrangement Involving the Award of EMU Credit

SACSCOC refers to collaborative (cooperative) academic arrangements in The Principles of Accreditation in Standard 10.9: “The institution ensures the quality and integrity of the work recorded when an institution transcripts courses or credits as its own when offered through a cooperative academic arrangement. The institution maintains formal agreements between the parties involved, and the institution regularly evaluates such agreements.”(2018 edition)

Additional guidance is provided in the SACSCOC Resource Manual for the 2018 Principles of Accreditation and in a document of the SACSCOC, "Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures.” The EMU procedure is intended to assist in use of the policy and guidelines statement to ensure compliance with the Principles

EMU must ensure that the following principles have been followed and satisfied with respect to any course or program offered. All collaborative academic arrangements must be formalized via a Memorandum of Understanding or similar document that is approved by all parties involved. In addition to completion of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the file (and/or the MOU itself) for each collaborative academic arrangement should include the following:

  1. Description of the practices used for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for any course or program.
  2. Evidence that the course or program has been approved by the faculty and administration.
  3. A statement or statements clarifying the means by which EMU faculty and administration oversee the program (including curriculum, faculty qualifications, and assessment).
  4. A statement about acceptable student success and appropriate student progress, and evidence of assessment of success, progress, and outcomes.
  5. A description of how student academic advising, student support services, and appropriate learning resources are provided.