UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: Establishment and Review of Bilateral Articulation Agreements

I. Executive Summary

These procedures serve to ensure the integrity of academic curriculum and policy as set forth by the UNC Charlotte faculty through a process for the establishment and review of bilateral academic agreements between UNC Charlotte and other institutions including but not limited to articulation agreements and 2+2 agreements. The establishment and review of North Carolina Community College Baccalaureate Degree Plans (BDPs) is governed by the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement and is not covered in this procedure. For the establishment of dual or joint degree programs with other institutions (not covered under this process), please refer to the UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: External Dual Degree and Joint Degree Establishment.

II. Procedure Statement

The North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA) is a statewide agreement governing the transfer of credits between NC community colleges and NC public universities. This agreement was designed to promote the smooth transfer of students. The transfer of credits from Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degree programs are governed by the CAA. Uniform articulation agreements also exist and apply to Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degrees as well as Early Childhood Education and govern the relationship between the North Carolina Community College System and certain NC public universities.

Additionally, there may be bilateral agreements between UNC Charlotte and NC Community Colleges to govern transfer of credit for AAS and AFA degrees. A bilateral agreement is a written agreement that the university and NC community colleges will work in unison to help students who have earned a AAS or AFA degree earn a baccalaureate degree. Bilateral agreements are needed for the AAS and some AFA degrees because they are not designed for transfer or require special consideration. The AAS and AFA degrees are designed to meet the workforce preparedness mission of the community colleges and may differ from the baccalaureate degree paths by having different accreditation criteria for faculty, and different general education requirements programs.

Under bilateral agreements, UNC Charlotte and one or more community colleges may join in a collaborative effort to facilitate the transfer of students from AAS and AFA degree programs to baccalaureate degree programs. Each bilateral agreement must be created in accordance with the UNC Charlotte Academic Policy and Procedure: Transfer Credit and Advanced Academic Standing and clearly demonstrate that its objectives are consistent with the UNC Charlotte mission and that it is appropriate to the degrees, programs, or courses to which transfer credit will be applied.

The procedures for establishing bilateral agreements are designed to ensure the development and documentation of a smooth path for students seeking to transfer to UNC Charlotte.

Approval Procedure for New Bilateral Agreements

  1. The chair of the originating UNC Charlotte department completes a draft Agreement (the Bilateral Course Transfer Agreement and 49er Next Bilaterail Course Transfer Agreement are examples). Each agreement must contain the following:

A preamble containing a general statement regarding the nature of the agreement.
b. A clause that allows either institution to terminate the agreement provided 30-day notification is offered. Reasons for terminating the agreement may be, but are not limited to, the following:

  • insufficient student enrollment in programs associated with the agreement,
  • revocation of institutional or other accreditation,
  • program discontinuation,
  • misalignment between mission of the university, or
  • other reasons as may reflect on the appropriateness of the agreement.

c. A start date, a review date (must be evaluated by the department at least once every 7 years), and an ending date.
d. A description of the parties entering into the agreement.
e. A specific set of criteria for which the agreement will function, including course equivalencies, program requirements, etc., and against which the participating UNC Charlotte department can annually evaluate its effectiveness.

  1. Each agreement must be reviewed by the Office of the Registrar, as well as the Offices of Undergraduate Admissions and Undergraduate Education (for undergraduate agreements) or the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate School (for graduate agreements).
  2. Each agreement must be reviewed and approved by:
  • Department chairperson or unit head where applicable;
  • Dean of the college(s)

If the agreement is with a UNC Charlotte interdisciplinary degree program, the chair of the program’s coordinating committee (faculty from different disciplines/departments) presents the agreement to the cognizant dean under whose authority the interdisciplinary degree resides.

  1. After review and signature by the department chair and dean, the agreement is forwarded to the Office of Assessment and Accreditation for review. After review and a positive recommendation by the Office of Assessment and Accreditation, the review is forwarded to the Office of Legal Affairs for review.
  2. Following review by the Office of Legal Affairs, for any agreements with an institution(s) outside of the University of North Carolina System (including all community colleges), the Agreement is forwarded to the Provost for review and signature. Following campus approvals, the agreement should be forwarded to the partner institution for signature.
  3. A copy of each signed bilateral agreement will be forwarded to the office responsible for managing undergraduate transfer course equivalencies, to the University Registrar who is the university repository for the original documents, and to the Offices of Undergraduate Admissions and Undergraduate Education (for undergraduate agreements) and the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Graduate School (for graduate agreements). The Office of the Registrar manages the list of agreements, dates of last and next reviews, and contact information. All signed agreements are available digitally to the campus in Google Drive.

Review Procedure for Bilateral Agreements

1. The parties shall engage in a comprehensive review of the agreement at least once every 7 years, with the first 7-year period commencing on the effective date of the agreement. At a minimum, review criteria should consider:

a. Evaluation of student success measures, including the extent to which the agreement allows for timely degree completion.
b. Alignment of the requirements in the agreement with the program’s requirements for native UNC Charlotte students at the time of review.
c. Consistency with the institutional mission and appropriateness to the degrees, programs or courses to which it applies.
d. Verification that the courses articulated in the agreement are still offered.
e. Verification that the dates of the agreement are current.
f. Consistency of the specific criteria contained within the agreement with current university or UNC Board of Governors policies and regulations.

2. The review should conclude with one of the following recommendations:

a. Extension of the existing agreement.
b. Recommend changes to the agreement.
c. Recommend renegotiation of the agreement if significant programmatic changes have occurred.
d. Recommend terminating the agreement for a specified reason.

3. The review process will be overseen by the Associate Dean in the academic college within which the program resides, with the review and recommendations presented to the Dean of that college. The Dean, in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs and the Provost will determine extension, amendment, or termination of the contract.

International Agreements

  1. The Office of International Programs (OIP) administers and manages all academic agreements with international institutions. Colleges interested in developing an articulation agreement with an international partner must initiate consultation with OIP. The International Exchange Agreement Procedure includes procedural steps, exchange agreement criteria and components as well as the institutional authorization process.
  2. International agreements result in the awarding of UNC Charlotte credit and grades, not transfer credit.
  3. The OIP manages the list of international partner agreements, dates of last and next reviews, contact information, and is the University repository for such documents. Colleges should work closely with the Graduate School and Graduate Admissions (for graduate programs) and OIP in developing each proposal and draft agreement in accordance with the UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: External Dual Degree and Joint Degree Establishment and SACSCOC Agreements Involving Joint and Dual Academic Awards: Policy and Procedures.

III. Definitions

  • Cooperative Academic Arrangement – Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) defines a Cooperative Academic Arrangement, which will be covered by this regulation as: An agreement with an entity (or entities) to deliver program content recorded on the SACSCOC institution’s transcript as its own. Examples of a cooperative academic arrangement include geographic or denominational consortia, statewide distance education agreements, collaborative agreements with international institutions, and contractual instruction.

IV. Procedure Contact(s)

V. History

  • Revised: April 7, 2022 (Added 49er Next Bilateral Course Transfer Agreement)
  • Established: March 12, 2021

VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this procedure referenced?
    The procedure is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website.