Memorandum of Understanding | Kent State University

Memorandum of Understanding

This understanding is made between Kent State University, herein known as the founding partner institution, and the founding partner institutions that will comprise the Consortium of Universities for Research and Graduate Education (COURAGE).

The purpose of this understanding is to establish the required components (i) so that an initial set of students can begin their doctoral work under a provisional COURAGE arrangement within conventional bi-lateral exchange provisions among the member institutions and (ii) at the same time member institutions can begin developing the detailed arrangement for the consortium that will meet the intended vision and objectives stated as below for fostering collaborative graduate education and research.

1. Vision

The future vitality of the science and technological prowess of any country crucially depends upon its ability to intellectually prepare its young generation to take on the looming challenge of globalization. The next generation of scholars must be aware of the international context of their scholarship. The doctoral program is the most comprehensive component of the classical education system, preparing the best and most promising future scientists, engineers, scholars, and technology leaders of society. However, there is a great variation between the preparedness of the institutions, though we believe each can help other. Hence we propose to establish a consortium model for collaborative direction of doctoral students, aimed at fostering long-term interaction between scholars. This consortium will foster peer-to-peer support between institutions to build up this program leveraged by communication technology. We will explore all forms of pertinent creative collaboration such as building up supervisory strength, sharing of research facilities, access to graduate courses, and training research faculty with the above objectives. The members can also further undertake additional programs by mutual arrangement to meet their specific institutional goals.

2. Objective

The objective of this MoU is to establish an international Consortium of Universities for Research and Graduate Education (COURAGE), initially consisting of the founding member universities listed above and led by Kent State University. The consortium will enable participating institutions to conduct collaborative research, jointly supervised doctoral research and education leveraged by emerging information and communication technology (ICT), including the use of emerging high-speed research and education networks (RENs).

The consortium will create the infrastructure for following component activities for its member institutions to help their pursuit of the above goals.

3. Components

3.1 Joint Doctoral Education, Supervision and Research

Admission Process: Qualified degree students will be admitted for doctoral education and research between member institutions on a case by case basis. The consortium institutions will take the necessary steps in order to: (i) arrange inter-institutional bridging by overlapping preparatory stages; (ii) support collaborative and substantive co-supervision; and, (iii) ensure high quality.

Supervision Committee: A dissertation supervisory committee will be assigned after the qualifying review. Primary supervisor’s institutions will be the degree granting (host) institution, but each committee will also have one or more co-supervisor(s) from the respective home and/or foreign (foreign) institution(s). Foreign students may undertake various combinations of coursework and research work both at their degree host institution and at the foreign institution(s), according to the need of their research topics.

Standards and Rules: Elements in the degree process (qualifying examination content, field research, proposal defense, candidacy, dissertation defense, etc.) will be structured as per the existing rules and standards of the degree host institution. Each student must qualify and pass all exams at the level of the degree granting institutions’ current degree standards.

Rights and Responsibilities: The supervisor should be both a scholar and an active researcher, as well as a full-time faculty member of the host university. The supervisor is responsible for mentoring the student’s academic progress, the quality of work, and will help the student in the pursuit of scholarship by means of offering continuous advice and constructive criticism.

The co-supervisors role is also similar in nature to that of the supervisor but may be complementary to a particular sub-area of the scope of the research. The foreign co-supervisor of the COURAGE student will also play a substantive role to enhance the level in the field and integrate a global, country-specific, or alternative perspective.

The host institution should provide the necessary infrastructure to conduct the doctoral research and facilitate the collaborative environment. The home institutions of the supervisors’ and co-supervisors should provide usual and customary remunerations (such as monetary compensation or fractional release time during active supervision) for the efforts to ensure quality supervision and substantial collaboration.

Funding: The partial/full financial support for each doctoral student is expected to be borne by the respective home institution, the higher education entity, by grants, or by self-funding of the students concerned. Tuition and fees should not exceed above and beyond the usual and customary rates of the degree granting institution. COURAGE will encourage members to offer further reduction of fees to each other when appropriate. Those students coming under this agreement from outside the United States and studying at Kent State University will benefit by a waiver of the out-of-state surcharge and pay in-state tuition for the semester(s) in which they are enrolled.

3.2 Joint Graduate Courses, Workshop and Seminars

Member institutions may develop and offer joint graduate and research preparatory courses, workshops or seminars remotely or through faculty exchanges in multiple institutions as appropriate. The courses may be cross-listed. The students of such courses may hold guest student status in the visiting/offering faculty’s home university.

3.3 Post-Doctoral and Faculty Research Exchanges

COURAGE research faculty, doctoral students and post doctoral scholars may visit each other. Such visits should be encouraged and facilitated as a routine component between the member institutions. Funding such opportunities will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

3.4 Joint Grant Activity

Faculty of the member institutions are encouraged to submit research grants to attract extramural funding from national and international funding agencies using the combined strength derived from this consortium.

3.5 Access to Research Laboratory and Facilities

Member institutions will make their research facilities and various online resources accessible (at least at the level of visiting scientists) to faculty and doctoral students when possible.

3.6 Facilitation of Inter-Country and Inter-Institutional Research Projects

COURAGE will facilitate research which is broad, global, multi-national, and multi-ethnic in scope. Member institutions may extend as much logistics support as feasible to facilitate research activities (such as data collection, student-help, data analysis, etc.). It will also encourage the flow of benefits of the research into the countries and communities represented by its members.

4. Technology Integration

The member institutions will facilitate the integration of the supporting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure for the program. This includes provisioning Advanced Research and Education Networks (APAN, SINET, MyREN, PERN) and the support for advanced collaborative applications (such as Internet2 Commons, Access Grid, Shibboleth, etc.) developed by the research and education networking (REN) community to keep the members of each dissertation team connected in a virtual space for the duration of a program.

5. Organization

Consortium members will work towards making the COURAGE program independent within a short period of time by developing the details and arrangements that will meet the intended vision and goals stated as above. The intent is to build an open management based educational consortium such as OhioLINK or OLN. During the first three (3) years Kent State University will take the leading role in the organization and implementation of the consortium as the lead partner institution. The provisional period may be extended one time for an additional two (2) years. New members can be included at any time.

6. Coordination

Each member institution will designate an office and officials, namely an executive director (ED) (chief-executive of the partner institution or a designated representative), academic program directors (AD) (for each participating departments), and a technology director (TD) from within its current full-time administrators, faculty, and/or staff. The consortium can add additional contact persons as the need arises. The lead partner institution (KSU) will be in-charge of the overall co-ordination of the consortium.

7. Modification and Termination

Any of the founding members can terminate their membership to this consortium with the provision that the ongoing doctoral student or research activity currently underway is allowed to carry its natural completion with minimum disruption. Members can expand their mutual activities to foster their institutional mission and goals.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have offered their signatures:

KSU – Kent State University

As represented by:


Provost Date

Signing Authority

Kent State University


Dept. Chair Date