Frequently Asked Questions

How do we define our partnerships at AKU?

What are the different levels of partnerships that we have?

How can I assess the value of new or existing partners?

What do I need to prepare to have a partnership considered or discussed at AKU?

What is the approval process once I have prepared the proposal?

Do I need to inform the University Partnerships Office before establishing a partnership?

Who will prepare the formal agreement and help me develop the broader objectives and vision for the partnership?

What role will the University Partnerships Office play once the agreement has been signed?

My partnership has been very successful and I would like to extend the length of the partnership. How would I do that?

What partnership resources are available?

How does AKU define partnerships?​
A current or proposed relationship between AKU and another entity that has the following features:

  • Involves contributions from both the partner institution and AKU, reflecting their respective strengths.

  • Achieves results benefitting both the partner institution and AKU in ways that reflect respective needs.

  • Advances the higher education mission of both institutions.

  • Develops sustainable partnerships that enable both AKU and its partner institution to provide high quality education to students through innovation, real world challenges and access to new research, teaching and models for development.

  • Provides opportunities for faculty, student/staff exchange, collaborative research, and teaching.

What are the different levels of partnerships that AKU has?

Partnerships can be established at three distinct levels within the institution. These are:

Institutional: Partnerships between one or more AKDN institutions and others that are approved by their respective leadership. These commit institutional resources and are expected to govern a portfolio of joint efforts in more than one area. Institutional partnerships are supported and have a high level of commitment from the senior administration of AKU, as they represent cornerstone partnerships for the University's development and growth.

Entity: Partnerships centred on a particular project or programme that may commit institutional resources and require approval from the leadership of all involved institutions, or one of their constituent entities, but does not represent a portfolio of joint projects. Entity level partnerships require the approval of the deans and directors of various units.  These should be flagged to the University Partnerships Office so that such activity can be reported and monitored as the partnership grows and develops. Funds for supporting such partnerships are at the discretion of the deans and directors.

Individual: Collaboration between an employee of an AKDN entity and a partner institution that does not commit institutional resources or require approval of institutional leadership.


How does AKU assess the value of new or existing partners?

AKU uses the following guidelines for assessment of existing or potential partnerships.  It asks if the partnership would:

  • Improve AKU's education system?

  • Position us better in higher education in a country of interest?

  • Build multi-polar ties of strategic value?

  • Advance a substantive area of priority to the AKDN and to AKU, for example, pluralism, civil society, ethics, language?

  • Advance AKU's research agenda?

  • Help attract or develop faculty?

  • Provide a model that others can follow, yielding leverage?

  • Lead to access to new human or material resources?

  • Be an efficient application of AKU's resources?

  • Have long-term credibility?

What do I need to have a partnership considered at AKU?

You will be required to prepare a short proposal for your partnership to be considered. The proposal should consist of:

  • Introduction

  • Background on the partner institution

  • Scope and value added by the partner institution to AKU (specific areas) and vice versa

  • Objectives and expected outcomes

  • Deliverables and ongoing milestones for assessment

  • Activity areas of collaboration

  • Resources (human, financial and physical) and funding options and commitments made

  • Potential links to other AKU programmes in Pakistan, East Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt or other AKDN agencies

  • Challenges/risks and potential opportunities

  • Conditions of success/ partnership performance

  • Preliminary (2-year) work plan

  • Project team and team leader.

This information will help us define our position and what we want out of the partnership; Track and manage the partnership; and teport on the partnership.


What is the approval process once I have prepared the proposal?

  • Institutional partnerships can be formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement, which essentially binds the institutions to their commitments in this procedure. It enables both parties to fully understand their rights and responsibilities. An institutional Memorandum of Agreement and its associated annexes will require the approval of the AKU Board of Trustees (as appropriate) after consideration by the respective deans/directors and partnership committee. Standard templates for these documents have been approved, which are available upon request.

  • Entity partnerships can be formalised through a Letter of Intent, which highlights an understanding of the project and can be signed by the entity head. A copy should also be sent to the UPO for their information and reference.

Do I need to inform the University Partnerships Office before establishing a partnership?

We request faculty to contact us when in the early stages of planning partnerships. Institutional partnerships cannot be formalised without involving the UPO. At the entity and individual level, we ask that the UPO be informed. The office is responsible for oversight and due diligence in the development of partnerships. Support will be provided to the University community for developing partnerships.

Who will prepare the formal agreement and help me develop the broader objectives and vision for the partnership?

The UPO has many templates available that faculty/staff can use and we can assist in framing your collaboration.

What role will the University Partnerships Office play once the agreement has been signed?

The UPO will help in:

Defining and organising the partnership planning:

  • Establishing the project organisation: who is accountable for the partnership, the project team that will help implement the partnership, responsibilities and expertise required.

  • Developing the scope of the project: what are the objectives and outcomes expected during the partnership, definition of key deliverables, definition of the stakeholders,

  • Developing project guidelines: composition of the core team, how often will they meet, communicate, hold regular reviews.

  • Developing the core project document, which will include:

    • Introduction

    • Project objective statement

    • Final deliverable and major deliverables - definitions of deliverables

    • Major deliverable and target dates

    • Project team roster

    • Major risks and contingencies

    • Budget codes for funding and proposed budget

    • Operational processes (project file, tracking sheet, meeting schedule and reporting guidelines).

Implementing the partnership:

  • Identifying  the task list for each area of the partnership;

  • Scheduling and developing a Gantt chart;

  • Identifying and allocating resources;

  • Integrating the partnership;

  • Understanding risks and opportunities.

Monitoring and Evaluation of the partnership:

  • Reporting mechanisms;

  • Documenting best practices and key learning;

  • Preparing a partnership review - shortfalls and how to enhance progress.

How do I extend the length of the partnership?

  • The Partnership Panel, chaired by the Provost, and including the department dean, a senior member of academic faculty with current experience, a member of the UPO and a department head, will ​review the partnership. Other project members and or partnership coordinators will also be invited to participate in discussions as relevant.

  • The objective of the Panel is to review the partnership goals and objectives, assess progress accomplished, impact and contributions made, and identify any issues of concern (governance, operational, institutional, among others).

  • Once confirmed, extension of the partnership and signing of MoU with the partner institution can proceed.

What partnership resources are available?​

Funding is critical when establishing a partnership.  While the institution or your deans and directors may have some seed funding, we recommend that you identify other sources of funding prior to committing to the collaboration.​