University-wide Centers: Establishing, Operating and Evaluating
Printed on: . Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
A University-wide Center is an entity authorized by the President and Senior Vice Presidents to support and advance research, education, or public engagement initiatives aligned with key University strategic priorities. University-wide Centers differ from intercollegiate and collegiate centers in two ways:
- University-wide Center leadership receives assistance from the Senior Vice Presidents and President to secure budget, space allocation and support infrastructure.
- University-wide Center authorization is granted to relatively few entities in order to provide focus to the University's commitments.
Establishing a University-wide Center:
A University-wide Center may be created only by the President and Senior Vice Presidents. The President and Senior Vice Presidents work with deans and faculty to designate a center director and establish a governance structure. These centers do not need additional authorizations for designation as a University-wide Center.
At any time in an existing or proposed Intercollegiate or College Center’s life cycle, center faculty or staff may request that it receive consideration for University-wide Center designation. Centers seeking such designation must submit a proposal to the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Team (see contacts section of policy) including the following information:
- A profile of the center including focus, brief history, organizational structure and governance, participants, research productivity, and evidence of excellence.
- A strategic plan for the center.
- An explanation of the relationship between the center’s goals and the University’s strategic objectives.
- Rationale for designation as a University-wide Center.
- Budget information including a concise budget history, a current budget, and budget projections.
If the center’s request is advanced for further consideration as a result of the administrative review process, it may be subject to external review by a team of distinguished scholars in the center’s primary areas of expertise. The team reviews the supporting material and confers with center leadership and other relevant University officials. The review team also considers:
- Degree of strategic importance to the University
- Extent and complexity of the effort including number entities involved
- Need for central resources
- Prospect for leveraging central resources to secure external funding
Findings and recommendations from the review process are forwarded by the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Team to the Provost. Ultimate authority for conferring University-wide Center designation resides with the President and Senior Vice Presidents.
Operating a University-wide Center:
University-wide Centers report to a Senior Vice President or his/her designee. Operating guidelines are established upon authorization of a University-wide Center. The center director must follow these guidelines, facilitate continuous progress toward the academic objectives cited in its authorization request, demonstrate its ability to offer competitive or educational advantages, and document how it measurably contributes to the University's strategic goals. If the University-wide Center seeks outside support, it must share indirect cost revenue between or among participating units according to the procedure for Sharing Indirect Cost Recovery Among Collaborating Collegiate Units. Center directors must submit annual reports to the Senior Vice President (or his/her designee) to whom they report, with a copy to the Provost and the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Team. They must also update information annually in the University's database of centers and institutes.
Evaluating a University-wide Center:
Authorization for University-wide Centers is for a limited period of time, subject to renewal following formal review and assessment at intervals of no more than five years.
Formal Review and Assessment
Designated University-wide Centers are subject to periodic review to assess their quality, productivity, continuing alignment with the strategic priorities of the University, and opportunities for future growth and development. These reviews are conducted at intervals of no more than five years unless more frequent reviews are requested by the central administrator to whom they report. The Provost’s Interdisciplinary Team has responsibility for administering and facilitating these periodic reviews, including approval of the proposed list of external reviewers.
The review process includes the preparation of a self-study by the director of the university-wide center, according to guidelines that call for general and center-specific information. Upon completion of the self-study, an independent review team is appointed, in consultation with the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Team, consisting of distinguished external scholars in the center’s primary areas of expertise; internal members may be added to the team as needed. The review team’s findings, accompanied by recommendations from the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Team, are forwarded to the Provost for review and action. Actions may include renewal of the center’s university-wide designation, termination, or transition to departmental, collegiate center, or intercollegiate status.