Policy 7: Sponsorships, Associations, and Partnerships

1. Guiding meta-principle for partnerships

We are committed to enhancing the effectiveness of teaching and learning in Canada’s institutions of higher education.

Joining our resources, expertise, varied perspectives and experiences with other organizations increases our effectiveness and strengthens and enriches common projects and shared goals. Collaboration means choosing to build with and through others, because alone, we cannot do it all, we cannot do it as well, and we cannot achieve the same impact. In order to be agents of change, to help achieve our goals, we need others, and others need us. Thus, STLHE is a Canadian organization whose strength and vision are rooted in active, dynamic collaboration with complementary current and future partners.

Building effective relationships requires careful planning and effective management. The range of interests brought to the table can compound the challenges inherent in working with others. Often, these interests are in harmony; however, they can also appear contradictory or in competition with one another. It is proposed, therefore, that in consideration of any collaborative work we do, that our partners and the Society be guided by a common vision and guiding meta-principles.

2. Types of Relationships with other Organizations

Using the Guiding Meta-Principles for partnerships as a starting point, and referring to our vision and strategic goals, there are three types of relationships or collaborations the Society may wish to enter into: sponsorships, associations, and partnerships.

Sponsorships

Sponsorship agreements may be entered into with a person, a corporation, a post-secondary or training institution, a non-profit corporation, or an agency that promotes or supports an event, initiative, or an award by providing funds, services, and/or other resources in exchange for specific benefits or outcomes, such as: brand awareness, philanthropic goals, or for profit (usually through advertising or publicity as part of an overall promotional strategy). An example of this type of arrangement is the sponsorship of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship and 3M National Student Fellowship programs by 3M Canada.

Each sponsorship is unique and should be reflected in a formal agreement by way of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or contract that clearly defines the terms of the sponsorship, including:

  • the type of event, initiative, or award being sponsored;
  • the name, contact details, and background information about the sponsor;
  • the responsibilities and commitments of each party involved, including:
    • the amount of money and/or the nature and scope of the services or resources provided by the sponsor;
    • details about what the sponsor receives in return, including their company/organizational logo on the STLHE website; and
    • communication and reporting mechanisms;
  • terms to extend, renegotiate, and/or dissolve the agreement;
  • a schedule of dates and deliverables appropriate to the agreement;
  • an invoicing and payment schedule;
  • a list of partner contacts to facilitate communication and meet agreement commitments;
  • a list of individuals or parties consulted in the preparation of the agreement; and
  • the duration of the agreement with start and end dates clearly articulated.

The selected dates of renewal and cancellation and the duration of agreement should reflect short- and long-term planning and coordination needs of the sponsored program or initiative (e.g., award cycles).

Agreement benefits associated with the annual conference should be discussed with the STLHE Vice-President (the conference liaison for the Board) prior to proposing them to the sponsor as they may have cost and logistical implications for the Society and/or the conference host.

Associations

An association represents a voluntary on-going relationship between two or more entities for the purpose of reciprocal benefit. An example of this type of arrangement is the Society’s affiliation with the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.

Benefits of an association may include such things as:

  • a reciprocal complimentary membership for the President or Chair of each organization for the duration of his or her term of office and the agreement, inclusive of all benefits of an individual membership;
  • a reciprocal complimentary or discounted registration for the President, Chair or designate of each organization at their respective annual conference;
  • discounted registration or purchase of services or products provided by each organization;
  • publicity of each organization’s annual conference, signature events, services, and/or resources via hardcopy or digital means. For example:
    • a notice, communication, or web link included in/on an organizational newsletter, website, or social media platform;
    • an announcement on the conference or event website;
    • space or a table at a conference or event exhibitor’s hall;
    • other, as deemed appropriate; and
  • developing strategies and implementing actions that address significant issues and concerns in higher education that have strong implications for each other’s organization, the sector, and/or the scholarship of learning and teaching.

Agreement benefits associated with the annual conference should be discussed with the STLHE Vice-President (the conference liaison for the Board) prior to their proposal as they may have cost and logistical implications for the Society and/or the conference host.

Each association is unique and should be reflected in a formal Letter of Agreement (LOA) that defines how the respective organizations will relate to each other. Such an agreement should include:

  • the identity and mission of each organization;
  • the responsibilities and activities of each organization;
  • the purpose/goal(s) of the association;
  • the commitments made to one another as a result of the association;
  • the means by which communication and reporting will take place;
  • the duration of the agreement with start and end dates clear articulated;
  • a list of individuals/parties consulted in the preparation of the agreement; and
  • terms to extend, renegotiate, and/or dissolve the agreement.

Associated organizations become partners when involved in specific projects or shared resources. Such initiatives would then require the preparation and signing of a separate partnership agreement.

Partnerships

Partnerships represent shorter- or longer-term collaborations between the Society and one or more entities (e.g., individuals and organizations) for the purpose of reciprocal benefit and the agreement to work together on a specific project, event, or initiative; to join resources toward achieving a shared goal; and/or to provide a service or support to the Society (or one another). Two examples of this type of partnership would include STLHE joining forces with another association to jointly host a (inter)national symposium or working with an academic institution to provide editorial management of a Society publication like the Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching or CELT.

Each partnership is unique and should be reflected in a formal Letter of Agreement (LOA) that clearly defines the terms of the agreement and how the parties involved will relate to one another and fulfill their specific commitments.

Such an agreement should include:

  • the name, contact details, and identity of each partner;
  • the type, purpose, and scope of the collaboration or partnership;
  • the duration of the partnership with start and end dates clearly articulated;
  • terms to extend, renegotiate, and/or dissolve the agreement;
  • the responsibilities and commitments of each party, including fund management and project governance;
  • a budget or payment schedule as appropriate to the partnership;
  • the potential benefits and risks to each partner, including financial;
  • communication and reporting mechanisms;
  • a schedule of dates and deliverables associated with the responsibilities and commitments of each party;
  • a list of parties/members consulted in the preparation of the agreement; and
  • a list of partner contacts to facilitate communication and meet agreement commitments.

3. Negotiation and Implementation of Agreements

Endorsement to move forward with negotiating or renewing agreements as well as approval of all finalized agreements is conferred at the Board level. The negotiation of new agreements or the revision of existing agreements is done in consultation with the Society’s President and members of the Board as appropriate to the agreement and portfolio responsibilities (e.g., sponsorship of awards with the Awards Chair). Renewal of an agreement should be viewed as an opportunity to:

  • reflect on the partnership relationship;
  • revisit organizational developments that many need to be reflected in a revised agreement;
  • review aspects of the portfolio(s) impacted by the agreement and consider if positive and/or constructive change, of any kind, is warranted; and
  • determine if governing policies and procedures continue to serve the Society well.

Signing authority for the Society includes the President and the Chair of the Standing Committee for Partnerships, including the Society’s conference host agreement. Individuals or parties consulted in the preparation of each agreement should be acknowledged by way of an appended list. Coordination of signatures, formatting of finalized agreements, and distribution of documents is done in consultation with and the support of the Secretariat of the Society. Approved expenses associated with the preparation and signing of agreements are covered by the Society (e.g., courier charges).

Once an agreement is approved and signed off by all parties involved, it is the responsibility of the Chair of the Standing Committee for Partnerships to:

  • ensure that a signed copy of the agreement is saved to the appropriate STLHE Dropbox folder;
  • coordinate amendments to existing Society documents (e.g., Conference Handbook) through the appropriate Board member, Secretariat, and/or designate;
  • communicate responsibilities associated with agreement deliverables and/or benefits with the appropriate Board member(s), Secretariat, and/or designate;
  • update the partnerships page of the STLHE website (as appropriate);
  • maintain a list of current and past sponsors, partners, and associates;
  • identify to the Board when an agreement is coming due; and
  • facilitate regular communication and, through the Secretariat, coordinate distribution of the Society’s annual report to all sponsors, partners, and associates.