University Policy 105

Centers and Institutes

Approved by Executive Council: February 23, 2009
Posted: February 23, 2009
Revised and effective: October 24, 2016

Policy Topic: Academic Affairs
Administering Office: Office of the Provost

I.  POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Western Carolina University (the “University”) to encourage partnerships that maximize the capacities of the University to address complex problems of importance to the Western North Carolina region and the state.  In accordance with University of North Carolina (“UNC”) Policy 400.5[R], centers and institutes may be formed when efforts require cross-constituent institution, cross-disciplinary or cross-unit coordination, which result in strengthened and enriched programs in furtherance of the University’s mission and strategic goals; enhanced opportunities for faculty, staff, and students; and heightened economic development in the Western North Carolina region.

II. SCOPE AND APPLICATION OF POLICY

This policy applies to the establishment of all centers and institutes as those terms are defined in Section III below.  This policy does not apply to associated entities as defined in UNC Policy 600.2.5.2[R].  This policy also does not apply to other coordinating entities, such as partnerships, consortia, collaboratives or centers formed within existing centers or single departments or units.

III. DEFINITIONS

“administrative campus” means the campus designated to provide general and fiscal oversight and management of centers and institutes.  For centers and institutes situated on a single campus, full authority and responsibility for the oversight of centers and institutes rests with that campus.  For centers and institutes involving more than one UNC constituent institution, the campuses must agree on the administrative campus designation, among other terms, in a written memorandum of agreement or understanding.  Each center or institute must designate an administrative campus.

“applicant” means a member of the University’s general faculty who submits a request for authorization to plan the establishment of a center or institute under Section VI.B of this policy.

“center or institute” for purposes of this policy, there is no technical distinction between the terms center and institute. In practice, an institute frequently refers to an entity having a broader scope of activity than a center. For example, an institute may create centers as separate units within its administrative structure. Centers and institutes may require new infrastructures to facilitate administration, fiscal management, and on-going activities. Many centers and institutes report to or involve only a single UNC campus. Some involve more than one UNC campus and require significant, sustained, and necessary multi-campus collaboration in one or more aspects including leadership, governance, mission, core activities, funding, and other   resources. A center or institute within UNC may, under appropriate circumstances, include the participation of other institutions, agencies, or organizations, such as other colleges and universities, schools, hospitals, industry, foundations, or governmental bodies. Centers and institutes do not have jurisdiction over academic curricula, although they may offer courses in cooperation with academic units.

“committee” means the center/institute review committee, established under Section VI.C.2 of this policy.

“general fund sources” means financial resources originating from the state’s general fund, including state appropriations and tuition receipts.

 “in-kind sources” means support that one or more UNC constituent institutions provides to a center or institute in the form of space, services (including faculty course buyout), or use of equipment or other materials, for which it does not receive cash payment.

“non-general fund sources” means financial resources originating from sources other than the state’s general fund, including fee receipts, endowment income, institutional trust funds, and outside grants.

 “political activity” means, as described in UNC Policy 300.5.1, actions directed toward the success or failure of a candidate for public office, political party, or partisan political group including, but not limited to, campaigning, political management, and soliciting financial contributions for political purposes.

IV. AUTHORITATIVE ROLES WITHIN UNIVERSITY CENTERS AND INSTITUTES

A. Administrative Campus
The University will enter into a memorandum of understanding with other institutions if it is designated as the administrative campus of a UNC system multi-campus center or institute. The document should provide sufficient detail pertaining to the University’s general and fiscal oversight responsibilities.

B. Board of Trustees
The board of trustees of the University has the authority to approve campus-level policies for its centers and institutes, and to authorize establishment and discontinuation of institutional centers and institutes consistent with UNC policies and the president’s directives. The board of trustees may delegate to the chancellor the authority to approve the discontinuation of institutional centers and institutes.

C. Chancellor
The chancellor is responsible for the oversight and management of each center or institute situated at the campus. The chancellor is responsible for carrying out the requirements of the applicable policies of the board of trustees and UNC with respect to centers and institutes, and for ensuring that all requirements of these policies are implemented and followed.

D. Directors
Subject to the approval of the chancellor, each center or institute must have a director, who shall report to a senior academic officer designated by the chancellor. Center and institute directors are responsible for the day-to-day programmatic, fiscal, and personnel decisions associated with the center and institute mission and core personnel.

E. Advisory Boards or Committees
The chancellor may determine that an advisory or policy board is needed for a particular center or institute. Boards or committees are particularly useful when the center or institute must coordinate efforts across departments, units, or institutions. Such boards do not have the authority to make hiring offers to directors or other staff. While boards may make recommendations regarding the use of center and institute funds, such entities do not have the authority to access, use, or otherwise control funds associated with the centers and institutes.

V. GOVERNING DOCUMENTS FOR CENTERS AND INSTITUTES

Centers and institutes, particularly those requiring sustained involvement across multiple constituent institutions, may address certain aspects of their management through bylaws, memoranda of understanding or other governing documents, subject to the oversight and approval of the chancellor or the chancellor’s designee. Centers and institutes that involve multiple campuses, but without such documents, are considered under the full authority of the administrative campus.

VI. PLANNING

A.  Planning Period

The planning period serves many purposes for a conceptualized center or institute, including time to demonstrate the validity of the concept, define partner relationships and roles, or identify fiscal and other resources required for sustainability.

B.  Requesting Authorization to Plan

In consultation with his/her supervisors and other appropriate administrators, an applicant may request institutional authorization to plan the establishment of a center or institute. Requests shall be accepted for review once an academic year, and must be submitted no later than September 15th each year.

The applicant shall submit his/her written request for authorization to plan a center or institute to the provost.  The request must include the following information at a minimum: (1)  the relevance of the proposed center or institute to the mission of the University and UNC; (2) the mission, vision, and objectives of the proposed center or institute and why the objectives cannot be achieved within existing University colleges, schools, departments, and/or programs; (3) discussion of differentiation from similar centers, institutes, or units at the University or within UNC and the state, and proposed relationships with them; (4) the potential sources and estimates of funding to initiate and sustain the proposed center or institute, presented as a five-year projection, including the amounts of general fund support,  non-general fund support, and in-kind support; and (5) statements on the inter-institutional nature of the proposed center or institute, whether it be mission, leadership,  activities, funding or other aspects, if applicable.

The applicant shall also submit proposed milestones, timelines, and responsible parties associated with center and institute planning periods.

C.  Review and Approval Process

1.  Provost’s Preliminary Review (2 Weeks)

Upon receipt, the provost will conduct a preliminary review of the applicant’s request for authorization to plan to determine whether or not all required elements of the request, as specified in Section VI.B above, have been completely and clearly addressed.  The provost shall complete this preliminary review within two weeks of receipt of the request. Deficiencies, ambiguities, and/or inconsistencies detected by the provost shall be corrected by the applicant before the request is reviewed as provided in this section.  The provost shall forward the final draft of the request to the center/institute review committee for its review.

2.  Review by Center/Institute Review Committee (3 weeks)

The center/institute review committee (the “committee”) is hereby established and shall be comprised of thirteen individuals: (1) the chair of the faculty senate, who shall serve as the chair of the committee; (2) the deans from each academic college or school; (4) the dean of the honors college; (5) the dean of library services; (6) the dean of the graduate school and research; (6) the director of budgets, financial planning and analysis; and (6) two members of the general faculty.  One general faculty member shall be appointed by the dean of the college or school most closely associated with the proposed center or institute, and the other general faculty member shall be appointed by the chair, with the general consensus of the other committee members.

The committee shall review the applicant’s request for authorization to plan.  The committee shall complete its review within three weeks of receipt of the request.

Upon completion of the review, the chair of the committee will prepare a brief report that includes the committee’s recommendation regarding whether the applicant’s request should be approved and the basis for such recommendation.  The committee’s report and a copy of the request shall be forwarded to the faculty senate.

3.  Review by Faculty Senate and Members of the General Faculty (4 weeks)

The faculty senate shall review the applicant’s request for authorization to plan and the committee’s report.  The faculty senate also will arrange for the distribution of the request among the general faculty for concurrent review and comment.  Faculty comments should be collected in writing for review by the Faculty Senate.  Review at this level shall be completed within four weeks of faculty senate’s receipt of the request.

Upon completion of the review, the chair of the faculty senate will prepare a brief report that includes the faculty senate’s recommendation regarding whether the applicant’s request should be approved and the basis for such recommendation.  The faculty senate’s report shall be forwarded to the provost, along with copies of all comments from the general faculty. 

4.  Provost’s Review and Recommendation (2 weeks)

The provost shall review the applicant’s request along with the reports from the committee and faculty senate.  The provost shall also consider comments from the general faculty.  The provost shall complete his/her review within two weeks of receipt of the request. Upon completion of the review, the provost shall provide to the chancellor a brief report that includes his/her recommendation regarding whether the applicant’s request should be approved and the basis for such recommendation, including a summary of the comments from the general faculty.

5.  Chancellor’s Review - Notification of Authorization to Plan (2 weeks)

The chancellor shall review the applicant’s request along with the reports from the committee, faculty senate, and provost.  The chancellor shall complete his/her review within two weeks of receipt of the request. 

Upon completion of the review, the chancellor shall provide the applicant with his/her written determination regarding whether the applicant is authorized to plan the center or institute.  The chancellor shall report his/her determination to the University’s board of trustees and the office of research and graduate education at UNC general administration within thirty days of the chancellor’s approval, or by the next regular meeting of the board of trustees, whichever is later.

VII. ESTABLISHMENT

A.  Requesting Authorization to Establish

When a center or institute approved for planning is ready and able to demonstrate its viability, a formal request for authorization to establish must be prepared.  The applicant shall submit his/her written request for authorization to establish a center or institute to the provost no later than February 1 each year.

The request must include the following information at a minimum: (1) the items listed in the authorization to plan documentation; (2) name of the proposed center or institute, which appropriately reflects the center or institute mission and scope; (3) identification of the proposed center or institute as either a research, public service, or instructional unit, in accordance with its primary mission and core activities, with the understanding that the center or institute may also conduct complementary activities outside of its primary designated mission; (4) organizational structure of the proposed center or institute, including name of a proposed director, description of the membership and function of any proposed advisory or policy boards, and proposed responsibility structure; (5) statement on the anticipated effects of the proposed unit on the instructional, research and/or public service programs of the administrative campus; and, when inter-institutional arrangements are involved, a statement on the anticipated effects of the proposed collaboration on the instructional, research and/or public service programs of all participating campuses; (6) statement on immediate financial needs, including the  amount of general fund, non-general fund, and in kind support that will be required; (7) statement on immediate operating needs, such as equipment, library resources, and space needs, and five-year projections of future space needs; (8) when relevant, evidence that inter-institutional arrangements regarding leadership, governance, activities, funding, or other aspects have been reached by the cooperating chancellors or designees; and (9) an accountability plan that complies with policy of the administrative campus, noting specific dates for the initial director and center reviews.

The applicant shall also submit proposed milestones, timelines, and responsible parties associated with center and institute establishment.

B.  Review and Approval Process

1.  Provost’s Preliminary Review (2 Weeks)

  1. Upon receipt, the provost will conduct a preliminary review of the applicant’s request for authorization to establish to determine whether or not all required elements of the request, as specified in Section VII.A above, have been completely and clearly addressed.  The provost shall complete this preliminary review within two weeks of receipt of the request. Deficiencies, ambiguities, and/or inconsistencies detected by the provost shall be corrected by the applicant before the request is reviewed as provided in this section.  The provost shall forward the final draft of the request to the committee for its review.

2.  Review by Center/Institute Review Committee (4 weeks)

The committee shall review the applicant’s request for authorization to establish, which shall include a formal presentation to the committee by the applicant, and request the attendance of individuals who had a role in the development of the request and/or will have a role in implementing and managing the center or institute.  In the event the applicant revises the request following his/her presentation to the committee, the revised request(s) shall be provided to the committee for expedited review.  In any event, the committee shall complete its review within four weeks of its initial receipt of the request.

Upon completion of the review, the chair of the committee will prepare a brief report that includes the committee’s recommendation regarding whether the applicant’s request should be approved and the basis for such recommendation.  The committee’s report and a copy of the request, including all revisions, shall be forwarded to the faculty senate.

3.  Review by Faculty Senate and Members of the General Faculty (4 weeks)

The faculty senate shall review the applicant’s request for authorization to establish and the committee’s report.  The faculty senate may request a formal presentation by the applicant.  The faculty senate also will arrange for the distribution of the request among the general faculty for concurrent review and comment. Faculty comments should be collected in writing for review by the Faculty Senate.  Review at this level shall be completed within four weeks of faculty senate’s receipt of the request.

Upon completion of the review, the chair of the faculty senate will prepare a brief report that includes the faculty senate’s recommendation regarding whether the applicant’s request should be approved and the basis for such recommendation.  The faculty senate’s report shall be forwarded to the provost.

4.  Provost’s Review and Recommendation (2 weeks)

The provost shall review the applicant’s request along with the reports from the committee and faculty senate. The provost shall complete his/her review within two weeks of receipt of the request. Upon completion of the review, the provost shall provide to the chancellor a brief report that includes his/her recommendation regarding whether the applicant’s request should be approved and the basis for such recommendation.

5.  Chancellor’s Review (2 weeks)

The chancellor shall review the applicant’s request along with the reports from the committee, faculty senate, and the provost.  The chancellor shall complete his/her review within two weeks of receipt of the request.  Upon completion of the review, the chancellor shall provide the board of trustees a brief report that includes his/her determination regarding whether the applicant’s request should be approved and the basis for such recommendation.  The chancellor’s report, along with copies of the applicant’s request, shall be forwarded to the board of trustees at least three weeks before the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting.

6.  Board of Trustees Review - - Notification of Authorization to Plan

The board of trustees shall review the applicant’s request along with the report from the chancellor at its regularly scheduled meeting in June of each year.  Upon completion of the review, the chancellor’s office shall provide the applicant with a written determination regarding whether the applicant is authorized to establish the center or institute.  The chancellor’s office shall report the determination to the office of research and graduate education at UNC general administration prior to establishment.

VIII. MANAGEMENT

Each active center and institute shall undergo a comprehensive review at least once every five (5) years to evaluate ongoing alignment with departmental, college and/or institutional missions and resources, success in accomplishing stated objectives, and sound fiscal status and practices.

A.   Annual Review

The director of a center or institute shall submit an annual report at the end of each fiscal year to his/her senior academic officer, with a copy to the provost.  The annual report shall include, at a minimum: a summary of center activities for the year ended; objectives and goals for the upcoming year; the fiscal year-end financial report; and the proposed budget for the upcoming year.

B.  Comprehensive Review

Comprehensive reviews shall include the following elements at a minimum:

 1. Process for director searches, including steps of the process, participants and responsible parties, and appropriate decision-making procedures;

 2. Cycle(s) for annual and comprehensive reviews of center and institute activities, including designation of the responsible office or offices;

 3. Evaluation criteria to include at a minimum: (a) performance against specific objectives and goals; (b) quality and quantity of scholarly activity (as appropriate per mission), teaching and other instructional activity (as appropriate per mission), and service (as appropriate per mission); (c) sufficient budget to continue operation, including the amount and proportion of funds received from general fund and non-general fund sources as well as in kind support; (d) fiscal oversight; (e) analysis and assurance that the entity does not duplicate other institutional, UNC, or state entities; (d) analysis and consideration as to whether the entity’s work can be effectively accomplished by a single department or program; and (e) stakeholder feedback (stakeholder defined as appropriate per the unit’s mission).

 4. Listing of other considerations, outside of the above performance review criteria, to be discussed during review periods, including facilities, personnel, or other operational needs;

 5. Cycle(s) for reviews of center and institute directors, including designation of the office or offices responsible for conducting the review;

 6. Criteria for director review, to include at minimum:

 7. Performance against individual objectives and goals;

 8. Feedback on leadership and communication from center/institute staff, partners and/or clients;  

 9. Management of fiscal and human resources;

10. Standard practices and procedures for involving other UNC constituent institutions in review processes, when relevant;

11. Articulation of the type of unsatisfactory performance that could merit conditions for discontinuation of a center, institute, director, or others; and

12. Clear plans for occasions when centers, institutes or directors do not meet minimum review expectations, including process, milestones, and responsible parties.

IX. DISCONTINUATION

A center or institute may be discontinued for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to lack of fiscal resources for sustainability, termination of a supporting grant or award, lack of fit with departmental, college or institutional missions or objectives, or a change in institutional priorities.

A.  Discontinuation of University Centers and Institutes

Upon consultation with the provost and the committee, the chancellor may recommend, at any time, the discontinuation of a center or institute to the board of trustees.

Upon approval by the board of trustees, the chancellor’s office shall notify the office of research and graduate education at UNC general administration of the discontinuation of a center of institute prior to discontinuation.

B.  Discontinuation of Multi-campus Centers and Institutes

For those centers and institutes that require significant and sustained cooperation among more than one UNC constituent institution, agreement must be reached and documented by the partner chancellors or designee before the discontinuation recommendation goes before the board of trustees at the administrative campus. If such an agreement cannot be reached by partner chancellors or designees, then UNC general administration, through the office of research and graduate education, will convene partners and determine an acceptable solution.

C.  Discontinuation by the President or Board of Governors

If the UNC president or the UNC board of governors determines that a center or institute should be considered for discontinuation, the president shall  give written notice of that determination to the chancellor and chair of the board of trustees of the constituent institution functioning as the administrative campus, notifying them that they may request a hearing on the matter before the committee on educational planning, policies, and programs by transmitting a written request for a hearing to the president within thirty (30) days after receipt of the president’s notice. The chancellor and board of trustees chair may bring to this hearing such administrative staff members and faculty members as they may deem useful in representing the institution. If the chancellor and board of trustees chair request a hearing, they shall, not later than two weeks prior to the hearing, file with the president a written statement of reasons why the center or institute should not be discontinued, together with such supporting data as they may wish to provide. After such hearing, the committee on educational planning, policies, and programs shall recommend to the board of governors action deemed appropriate.

The “phase-out” period for centers and institutes that are to be discontinued shall be sufficient to permit an orderly termination or transfer of contractual obligations and to allow an effort to find alternative employment for full-time staff. Normally, the “phase- out” period shall be no more than one year after the end of the academic year in which final approval is given to discontinue the center or institute.

X.  REPORTING

Each administrative campus shall notify the office of research and graduate education at UNC general administration of the establishment or discontinuation of any center or institute. Each center or institute must be designated as a research, public service, or instructional unit in accordance with its primary mission and core activities, with the understanding that many centers and institutes will also conduct complementary activities outside of their primary designated mission. Administrative campuses must also designate when a center or institute that they administer is a UNC system multi-campus center or institute.

XI. UNIVERSITY SYSTEM MULTI-CAMPUS CENTERS AND INSTITUTES

A.  Participants in a Federal Program

Centers and institutes that are established via a federally funded and formula-based program must, with guidance from UNC general administration, identify an administrative campus in UNC. The administrative campus will retain responsibility for general and fiscal oversight with exception of the budget expansion request process, in which UNC general administration will assist. A reporting line to UNC general administration through the UNC office of research and graduate education will be maintained throughout the existence of these centers and institutes to ensure appropriate system level involvement in the center mission and the federal review processes for these centers, institutes, and their directors. These entities shall reach agreements with their administrative campuses to have any regularly occurring and extensive federal review meet the requirement for periodic comprehensive review. A center or institute participating in a federally-funded and formula-based matching program may be discontinued if the sponsoring unit of the federal government terminates funding for the program. Otherwise, when it becomes necessary for UNC to discontinue one of these centers or institutes, the chancellor of the administrative campus should, in consultation with the other participating constituent institutions, prepare and forward a written request to the UNC president, with copy to the vice president for research.  The president will then make such recommendations as are necessary to the UNC board of governors for approval of the discontinuation. The “phase out” period considerations noted in Section IX above also apply to these centers and institutes.

B.  Legislatively Sanctioned Multi-Campus Centers and Institutes 

Centers and institutes that are established via legislative action of the North Carolina General Assembly and that require multiple campus engagement must, with guidance from UNC general administration, identify an administrative campus in UNC. At the time of the enactment of the legislation, UNC general administration will assist these entities and the administrative campus in the creation of planning, establishment, and other governing documentation (e.g., bylaws and memoranda of understanding). After these governing documents are effective, the entity will come fully under the auspices of the administrative campus for general and fiscal oversight. Discontinuation provisions should be noted in the governing documents and should involve the counsel of UNC general administration in the discontinuation process, through the office of research and graduate education.

C.  Other multi-campus centers and institutes

UNC general administration, through the office of research and graduate education, can offer assistance during the planning phase of complex multi-campus efforts. Upon the need to discontinue one of these entities, the provisions in Section IX will apply.

XII. POLITICAL ACTIVITY AND LOBBYING

Each center or institute functions as part of the University and is subject to the administrative management, oversight, and control of the chancellor or designee as to all activities undertaken by the center or institute, including with respect to the use of funds, services, supplies, equipment, information technology resources, vehicles or other University property.

University employees assigned to centers and institutes are subject to UNC policy 300.5.1, concerning political activities of employees, which includes prohibitions against engaging in political activity while on duty and using the authority of one’s position or University or center or institute funds, services, supplies, equipment, information technology resources, vehicles or other resources for such activities, as described in the policy.

The Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) limits the extent to which charitable organizations that are tax-exempt pursuant to §501(c)(3) of the IRC may engage in activities directed towards influencing legislation (“lobbying”), subject to applicable exceptions. The University is a tax-exempt body pursuant to IRC §115, IRC § 501(c)(3), or both. The University is also covered by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, as amended by the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, 2 U.S.C. §1601, et seq.  Each center or institute remains subject to the direction of the University when engaging in lobbying, which shall be conducted in compliance with all state and federal laws, including regulations adopted by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service. Each center or institute will be guided by the IRC §501(c)(3) limits on lobbying activities that would apply if it were an independent charitable organization described in IRC §501(c)(3).

The chancellor or designee is responsible for overseeing and exercising appropriate control over the activities of each center or institute, and for ensuring that the director and professional staff of each center or institute receive comprehensive annual training concerning IRC restrictions on political and legislative activities by §501(c)(3) organizations covered by the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

XIII. POLICY REVIEW AND REVISION PROCESS

This policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary every four (4) years or as may be necessary due to changes in applicable UNC policies.

XIV. RELATED POLICIES AND RESOURCES

UNC Policy Manual, Section 400.5[R], http://www.northcarolina.edu/apps/policy/index.php?pg=vs&id=5575&added=1

 

 








 

 

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