01.015: Establishment and Review of Centers and Institutes




March 1, 1998

Approved by:

Issued by Carol Blum

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Purpose

    To effectively address specific societal needs in education, research or service, it is sometimes necessary to establish centers and institutes within the University. This policy indicates the process to insure their orderly establishment and provides for a periodic review for their continuation.

    To the extent possible, a distinction will be made between "centers" and "institutes.":

    1. A "center" is a program-oriented activity of a group of faculty (inter- or intra- department or college) which has minimal or no need for special funding. The activity will normally be teaching or limited research.

    2. An "institute" is defined as a research-oriented activity which requests and requires significant funding for its infrastructure and existence. The research focus implies an emphasis on multi-disciplinary, inter-department, or college participation. The ability to obtain outside funding will be necessary for the institute's viability.

  2. Plan

    1. Governance

      A standard rule of governance is that an operating unit should report to the lowest organizational level which can make those decisions required for the on-going activities of the unit. Under this guidance, technical direction should come from a center director (in most instances, this is the individual around whom the center was formed). Where center activities are conducted entirely within one department, the center director could report to a department chair. Where all center activities exist within a single college, the Dean of that college will be the responsible individual. Where more than one college is involved, the responsibility for final decisions related to research activities is the Vice President for Research with the advice and counsel of the Deans of the involved colleges. These advisory committees will meet at least annually.

    2. Establishment

      In order to recommend establishment of a center or institute, an operating plan will be required. It must identify funding for administration, equipment, support personnel, research promotion, and space needs.

      Centers and institutes are temporary in nature and reviewed every five years to determine viability and need for continuation. Both require action by the Board of Trustees for establishment.

      See also Policy and Procedure 19.056, "Funding Centers and Institutes."

  3. Policies and procedures

    1. Prospectus

      A request for the establishment of a center or institute will be in the form of a prospectus that addresses the following items:

      1. a statement of need specifying the particular role to be accomplished.

      2. a description of the manner in which the center or institute will effectively meet this need in a way existing units cannot.

      3. the unique value of the program to the University.

      4. identification of personnel and departments to be involved initially and a projection for such involvement over a five-year period.

      5. estimated fiscal resources and sources of funding for a five-year period.

      6. space and equipment needs and a description of how they will be met.

      7. description of administrative control and lines of authority for the center.

    2. Initial review and approval

      The establishment of a center or institute requires the review and approval of the appropriate college Dean(s) and the Vice President for Research. It may then be recommended to the Provost and the President, and with their support, submitted to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

    3. Faculty status

      Regular faculty associated with a center or institute will retain all rights and privileges of their home department. All salary, promotion, and tenure considerations will be made by their home department and college within the regular review and evaluation process.

    4. Research faculty

      The Vice President for Research, with the concurrence of an appropriate academic department and college Dean, may recommend to the president that center staff who are supported solely on external funds (grants or contracts), with appropriate academic credentials and background, be given a nontenure track position and be designated as assistant research professor, associate research professor, or research professor within the employing center or institute. The appointment is coterminous with the external funding.

    5. Continuation

      1. A center or institute will be formally reviewed five years after its creation. This review will be accomplished under the direction of the Vice President for Research and the Dean. They will establish an appropriate committee to carry out the review of the program and to evaluate its accomplishments. A report will be submitted through the Dean(s) to the Vice President for Research. The Vice President for Research will recommend to the President whether the center or institute should be continued. If the president approves, the recommendation for continuation is submitted to the Board of Trustees for final action.

      2. The review process is normally repeated at five-year intervals unless a different review schedule is established for a particular case.