Approval process for academic partnerships

The process below applies to all types of academic partnership. The Partnerships team should be contacted for advice prior to submitting any proposal to form a new academic partnership.

The following documents are only accessible by Essex users.

Process in full

Process summary

Stage 1: Outline approval

An initial evaluation of the strategic, financial, and legal/contractual aspects of the proposal, to establish a prima facie case for proceeding with the partnership. This early-stage evaluation will include:

  • an assessment of the benefits and risks of the proposal to our University and alignment with our strategic aims
  • due diligence to ensure that the organisation is reputable, financially sound, and has the legal capacity to enter into a contractual arrangement
  • an outline business case, detailed within the Institutional Alignment form, the Institutional Self-Evaluation form (to be completed by the Partner), and a financial appraisal

Stage 2: Alignment

Once approval is granted by the Dean of Partnerships, the proposal can proceed to the Alignment stage; the format and requirements for this may vary depending on the nature of the arrangement under consideration. Typical arrangements for validation or franchise partnerships and double or joint awards partnerships include an evaluation of the academic and quality assurance aspects of the proposal through mapping and collation of policies and procedure documents. Full details can be reviewed in the Institutional Alignment and Partnership Approval Process Overview. 

Stage 3: Panel

Once the alignment stage is completed, discussions between the University of Essex, the partner institution and external panel members regarding the of the evidence and documentation provided then takes place. Based on discussions at the institutional alignment event, the panel will set a deadline by which conditions and/or recommendations should be met and/or responded to, and the Chair and Secretary will liaise to ensure that draft conditions and recommendations are circulated as soon as possible after the event.

  • Conditions are those issues that must be addressed to the satisfaction of the alignment panel, normally prior the commencement of the partnership
  • Recommendations are those issues on which action is to be considered, possibly after the partnership has commenced.
  • The panel may also identify commendations, providing an opportunity to congratulate the institution on aspects of good practice.

Stage 4: Completion

Following institutional alignment of a new partner institution, and before any courses commence under the arrangement, a formal legal agreement should be drafted by the Partnerships Team in consultation with relevant colleagues within the University and at the partner institution, drawing on advice from the University's solicitors as appropriate.

Guidance notes and forms

If you have any problems accessing the documents, then please contact the Partnerships Team.

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