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Establishment of the Manoa International Exchange Advisory Committee (MIXAC)

As of November 2018, the Manoa International Exchange (MIX) Office has convened a new faculty advisory council, the Manoa International Exchange Advisory Committee (MIXAC) to assist with the formal review of new and existing international student exchange agreements and to aid the MIX Office in the promotion, facilitation, and integration of new and existing international student exchange agreements at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The Committee consists of five faculty members, one APT, and is chaired by the Director of Manoa International Exchange, Vinnie Burns. Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Office of International and Exchange Programs (OIEP), R. Anderson Sutton, serves ex officio. The committee holds regular meetings every two months to review new and existing programs.

For Existing Agreements:
MIXAC aspires to review all existing international student exchange agreements within six months to one year before the agreement’s expiration date. This should allow sufficient time for the agreements to be renewed before they are set to expire (note: automatic renewals are no longer possible). Prior to the review, MIXAC will contact the departmental home for the agreement to gather information about the exchange that will be used in the review. Programs will generally be reviewed in chronological order by the agreement expiration date.

For New Agreement Proposals:
Any UHM faculty member who wishes to propose and develop a new International Student Exchange Partnership should contact Vinnie Burns, the MIX Director, at uhmix@hawaii.edu, to request the appropriate proposal forms and to go over the proposal process.

Review Criteria:
Submission of an agreement proposal or renewal form does not automatically lead to approval of a program. The following criteria will be considered when reviewing proposal or renewal forms:

  • UHM student interest
  • University and subject rankings
  • Curricular fit
  • Faculty support
  • Competitiveness/redundancy
  • Student services/policies
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Cost of living
  • Fit with UHM’s academic calendar
  • The language of instruction/availability and relevance of courses taught in English
  • Additional benefits provided (i.e. scholarships, housing subsidies, etc.)

It is extremely important to UHM that the MIX Office sponsors only exchange programs that will be equally beneficial to UHM students in ways beyond what is already available to them via existing programs. A common problem with exchange programs is that many students from one institution want to attend the other, while on the other side few students are attracted to attending the partner institution. This creates an imbalance and the partnership ends up benefitting primarily only one partner. Another common problem is when an exchange program is established without considering whether or not there are a sufficient number of courses offered in English that benefit a wide range of students and academic interests. If the scope is too limited or if there are too few courses offered in English, it becomes very difficult to attract participants for that program, which again leads to program imbalance.

Major Changes to Internal Agreement Review/Approval Process

Roughly one year ago, our University’s Office of General Counsel announced that there would be some substantial changes to our internal agreement review/approval process and to our agreement templates. This had the unfortunate effect of slowing down agreement signing activity significantly. As a result, for nearly a year, we were unable to renew agreements that had expired or were set to expire. Now that we have new templates and procedures in place, we’ve been working hard to renew as many of these expired agreements as we can (pending approval by MIXAC). Once that is complete, it is the committee’s intention to review each International Student Exchange and Hoakipa Scholars Program agreement no later than six months before the agreement is set to expire.

We Need Your Help!

If you are interested in renewing any of the agreements affiliated with your unit, we would appreciate it if you could fill out the MIX Student Exchange Agreement Proposal Form, including signatures, for each of your agreements you wish to renew and submit these forms to the MIX Office (QLC 206) at your earliest convenience. Any comments or concerns about agreements can also be emailed to uhmix@hawaii.edu. Please note that the MIX Student Exchange Agreement Proposal Form is a document internal to UHM and should be completed by UHM faculty or staff, not by a representative from the prospective partner university. It is also the form used to propose new student exchange partnerships.

If the time comes to review an agreement and no supplemental information is provided, MIXAC’s evaluation will be based solely on the data compiled by the MIX Office and research by the committee members.

Regular Status Updates

Moving forward, the committee and the MIX Office hope to send out a regular report to all departments focused on the following items:

  • Newly established International Student Exchange or Hoakipa Scholars Program agreements;
  • The list of active agreements for each academic unit;
  • Recently reviewed agreements and the outcome of these reviews;
  • Upcoming reviews and a request for supplemental information from the respective academic units.

Emphasis on the “Student” Aspect of Student Exchange

I recognize that these changes to the agreement proposal and renewal process are substantial. If any aspects of these changes are still not entirely clear to you, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to answer any questions you have by email, phone, or in person if you would like to schedule a time to meet with me.

Contact information for Vinnie Burns:

  • Office: QLC 206
  • Phone: 808-956-4728
  • Email: uhmix@hawaii.edu
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