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Establishment and Review of Centers and Institutes - UB

University of Baltimore

Revised and approved by Provost Council 9/24/97
Approved by President 10/30/97

The mission of the University of Baltimore places special emphasis on application oriented research and the development of relationships with the community of practicing professionals for the purpose of enhancing advanced undergraduate and graduate/ professional education. In furtherance of that mission, the university will from time to time establish Centers and Institutes whose research or outreach programs bring faculty and students into closer contact with professional issues, address developing areas of scholarship, and effectively concentrate faculty excellence in scholarship and public service. Such Centers are established with the approval of the provost, the Provost's Council and the president, and will operate as units of a college/school responsible to a dean. They may involve external and/or State funding and may appear as an organized unit in the working budget.

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University of Baltimore, consistent with the procedures described below, to:

  1. establish Centers and Institutes to fulfill the mission of the university;
  2. review centers and institutes annually to insure that they are serving the purpose for which they were established through the effective and efficient use of university resources;
  3. maintain, expand, or abolish centers and institutes when appropriate, based on the results of the annual reviews;
  4. require that basic operating costs of the Center/Institute, salary for core personnel, space, phones -- come from the responsible academic unit. Additional personnel and associated costs should come from the responsible academic unit and support generated by center/institute programs and activities.


CENTER is a formal designation of an academic unit dedicated to the study of particular issues or the sponsorship of programs at the university that fall outside the routine duties or mission of an academic department. Centers may be highly specialized within a discipline, but more often are organized to draw upon the strengths and interests of faculty from several specialties within a discipline or across disciplines. Centers may be organized under the leadership of a division or school.

INSTITUTE usually designates a more specialized organization oriented to a specific area or the application of special skills.

MISSION STATEMENT is prepared by the center or institute to identify its purpose, constituency, and mandate, as well as long term goals.

For the purposes of this document, centers and institutes will both be referred to as centers.

Procedures for Establishing Centers

A Center or Institute will usually have a formal administrative structure, headed by a Director. Procedures for the establishment of centers and institutes follow:

  1. A formal proposal for the establishment of a new center shall be prepared by its proponents, who may be informal groups of interested faculty and administrators, a committee appointed for the purpose of determining the need, desirability and feasibility of a center, or any similar formal or informal group.
  2. The proposal, in the form of a prospectus, shall include:
    1. a statement of the purpose and programmatic focus of the center as it relates to the mission of the University;
    2. its intellectual agenda and rationale for its establishment;
    3. a description and justification of personnel and departments involved, governance, (including membership of any advisory board) and administration;
    4. relationship to existing programs, departments and schools;
    5. funding sources for the first three years of operation, including state funds, whether these will be restricted to the start-up, or longer term, and how other funds will be generated;
    6. activities during a start up period as well as long range program that justifies the FTE positions;
    7. standards by which it will be evaluated;
    8. space needs; and
    9. other requirements.
  3. The proposal shall be submitted by the organizing proponents to the dean of the school to whom the center director will report. (In those circumstances in which a center will reside within a division, the proposal will first be submitted to the division chair.) The dean will submit the proposal to appropriate committee(s) and faculty of the school in which the center is to reside, for advice and recommendations.
  4. After the proposal has been reviewed by the school: the dean of the school in which the center will reside will be responsible for identifying the source of funding (if any) necessary to create and maintain the center. These may be external funds, department funds, school funds, and/or short-term commitments from the provost or the University. If the proposed center requires space, the dean will be responsible for identifying the source of the additional space as well. The proposal, including commitment of funds, space, etc. will be forwarded to the provost for review by the Academic Policy and Review Committee and the Provost's Council.
  5. It is understood that in the review process, alterations may be recommended and made in the proposal by any of the reviewing administrators.
  6. Prior to the formal opening of a Center, a mission statement will be adopted along with procedures and criteria by which center policy will be evaluated. Centers are expected to have sufficient latitude to enable their missions to evolve over time.

Guidelines for Proposals for New Research Centers

In addition to clearly addressing the issues mentioned in the Policy and Procedures for the Establishment and Review of Centers and Institutes, specifically the details of the governance structure and the resources involved, proposals for new centers should address the following issues:

  1. What is the intellectual agenda of the proposed center?
  2. What is the programmatic focus of the proposed center? That is, how is the center to be related to the undergraduate and/or graduate instructional programs? How does it enhance those programs? Does it have any implications for future degree or certificate programs?
  3. What relationships will the proposed center have with existing programs, departments, and/or colleges?
  4. Why is a formal center needed rather than a group of faculty working in an informal structure?
  5. What is the proposed three-year budget for the center? Are State funds involved? If so, are these to be one-time start-up funds, seed money for grant generation, etc.? What other funds is expected to be generated?
  6. What will the proposed staff do? That is, justify any FTE included in the proposal, particularly any full-time positions.
  7. By what procedures and with what criteria will the proposed center be reviewed and evaluated?

Procedures for the Review of Centers/Institutes

  1. Centers will be subject to annual reporting to the Dean. (See attached report format.) Centers that reside entirely within one division will submit reports to the Dean through the Division chair; Center's that are school-wide will submit reports directly to the Dean.
  2. Board of Regents policy requires that centers be reviewed at five year intervals to assure that their missions are still appropriate within the university; to review the ratio between state support and external support, to review the organizational and reporting structures of centers, and to evaluate the degree to which centers are effectively promoting cooperation between academic divisions and between schools.
  3. At five-year intervals, the provost and the Assessment Committee of the university will review center reports. Upon receipt of the center's five year report, the dean will forward it to the provost with one of the following recommendations: maintaining the center in its current state; conducting a broader scale review; changing the definition, operations and/or director of the center; or terminating the center. The dean's review may be used to suggest how the center's administration might better meet the mission of the center. Based on the center's report and the dean's recommendation, the provost, in consultation with the Assessment Committee, will in turn recommend to the president, the maintenance, expansion or elimination of the center.
  4. A special review may be initiated at any time at the request of the responsible dean, or the provost, if circumstances suggest that a center is not functioning in a manner compatible with its mission or the best interests of the university.