Forms of Cooperation with Institutional Partners Abroad

The Office of International Programs has a wide variety of ways that faculty and students can work with our International Partners.   Below is an overview of the many programs offered, however, if you need more information please contact Phil Plourde at or 319-273-6807.

1. Visiting Scholars

One of the most common forms of cooperation for UNI academic departments  to host visiting scholars from abroad. These scholars may be self-sponsored, sponsored in whole or in part by the host or by their home institution.  The home institution does not have to have an agreement with UNI. Host departments are required to assign at least one person as host to provide help and guidance for the visiting scholar while they are on campus. All international visitors must be entered in the UNI International Visitor Registry.  Please go to Hosting International Scholars for details on the host process and visitor registry.

2. Study Abroad Programs

The Study Abroad Center offers a variety of options for students to study abroad. Students can go to one of our partner universities an exchange student for up to one academic year or participate in  a faculty-led program between 2 to 4 weeks in length at the partners institution. More information can be found at Get Started with Study Abroad explaining the many different programs they offer. 

If you are a faculty member and are interested in leading a Faculty-led program, please check out the information on the Prospective Course Leaders page.  Feel free to contact the Study Abroad Center at or call at 319-273-7078 for any questions.  

3. Ambassadors

This activity involves sending students, faculty, or staff to a partner institution for the purpose of cultural and academic exchange. These ambassadors can present topics, meet with peers, and tour local establishments or places of cultural significance. Often this involves spending time at the partner institution and meeting various parties.  Student ambassadors can be accompanied by staff or faculty, but the purpose of travel is not to earn course credit but to interact in a meaningful way with the members of the partner institution.  Examples of meaningful activities include students making presentations, teaching sample English language lessons to children at the partner’s laboratory school or camp, faculty members discussing their research, and staff members meeting colleagues to learn about the host school.  In all cases, the hosting partner organizes the itinerary for the short visit (usually a week or less). Back at the home institution, student ambassadors can help host student ambassadors visiting from the partner institution and reciprocate for the efforts made by the previous host institute. Departments or colleges at the home institution often sponsor these activities for their students, faculty or staff.

4. Event Centered Experiences

These are instances when students travel abroad to participate in an activity organized by a department, school, college, city, company, professional organization or other entity in order to showcase the students’ talents or allow them to gain practical knowledge. Examples of these types of activities include the UNI School of Music sending a group to perform at an event abroad or UNI students enrolled in Textiles and Apparel showcasing their creations in a fashion show abroad. Normally this type of activity would not involve a partner institution unless the event is hosted by them.  The UNI department, school, or college would work with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to secure VISAS and Study Abroad Center (SAC) for Travel Registration and Insurance, but the majority of the effort would likely be done by UNI Department, who will be accompanying the students.

5. Faculty Exchanges

Faculty members can travel to each other’s campuses for research, teaching, workshop presentations, etc.  These can be one-for-one exchanges that offer support to faculty (i.e. salary, housing, etc.) and require parity in numbers, or these can be less formal exchanges. Usually these types of exchanges are done for a semester or less and require special visas. However, some faculty exchanges can occur over the course of a year.  All student and faculty exchanges require legal agreements co-signed by the partners to establish the responsibilities of the host and home institutions and protect the safety and well-being of participants. In addition, if a visiting scholar is teaching credit-bearing courses, the host institution must accept and approve his or her credentials.

6. Dual Degree Programs

Not to be confused with joint degree programs, these academic plans involve both institutions awarding separate degrees to a student who has started studies at their home institution and later finishes his or her degree requirements at the partner institution abroad. In most instances, but not all, the student would spend equal amounts of time studying at both schools. However, due to the graduation requirements of either school, the student may spend more time studying at one institution than the other, or the total time spent studying for the dual degrees is longer than studying for a single degree at one school.  This is especially true when there is a difference in educational philosophies and approaches to education in the partner schools.  Liberal arts courses, for example, may not be offered or required by a partner institution which focuses on offering a curriculum comprised of courses directly related to the major discipline. In addition, dual degree programs require effort on both partners to analyze syllabuses, course descriptions, and other materials to determine the value and equivalency in credits for courses offered at one another’s institutions.  Unless special arrangements are made for support or parity, students usually support their studies. Dual degrees, however, can be very attractive to students who believe that study at the second institution will help them in the domestic or global job market.

7. Joint Degree Programs

These programs are rare, but occasionally partners will organize a curriculum by which a single degree recognized by both institutions is awarded. This type of program requires a great degree of synchronization between the two schools. Usually there are legal and academic policies impeding the creation of these types of arrangements.

8. Camps/Short Term Programs

This activity usually involves students coming to learn and study at the partner institution for a short period of time (i.e. 2-4 weeks) in a setting specifically organized to host them and meet their educational needs. A language or music camp is an example of this type of activity. The activity may or may not result in participants earning credits from their home institution or the host institution.

9. Conferences, Symposiums, Workshops Organized By Partner Schools

Partner schools often organize events that attract local and regional participation but they desire participants from abroad as well. So long as language is not a barrier, attending a symposium, workshop or conference hosted by a partner institution is a good way to learn about the school and the research interest of its faculty.  In some instances, partner schools may purposely co-organize an event to be held for the benefit of the faculty members at both schools. The event can be repeated and hosted by one partner institution then the other at a later time.

10. Joint Research Projects and Exchanges of Academic Materials and Other Information

Faculty, staff or students from partner institutions can be engaged in research that requires communication and school visits by members of both institutions. Joint research can be done most anywhere in the world, but having results presented to faculty and students at each school is an important benefit. Co-presentations and co-publications are also a nice result of joint research, which broadens the expertise of both universities in a particular field.

11. UNI Students Seek Admission to Partner School Outside of Agreement

Students can seek study abroad opportunities with a partner school outside of formal agreements between UNI and its partner.  The student undergoes the normal admission process to the partner school and is accepted on his or her own merits.  UNI Study Abroad will assist the student to be certain that course credits transfer and apply towards the student’s degree program.

12. Internships, Practicums, Other Practical Experiences for Students

Academic departments can host students from abroad for internships and other practicum-type experiences. The student would normally be provided a stipend or salary for the work and have support for food and accommodations. The students should perform activities related to their field of study and be supervised by a mentor from the faculty. A J-1 visa would be appropriate for this purpose.