In May 2004, UNC-GA established new policies that authorize each campus to develop procedures for establishing new institutional centers and institutes. 


Institutions may establish a center or institute on an individual campus without the authorization of the Board of Governors.  Each institution will implement policies for the campus to follow when planning and establishing a new center or institute.  Such policies shall include approval by the Board of Trustees.[r].pdf


According to the new policies, UNC-GA approval is now required only for inter-institutional centers and institutes.


The East Carolina University Board of Trustees approved the following criteria for establishment of institutional centers and institutes at East Carolina University on February 24, 2006.


Units interested in developing a new center or institute will develop a proposal which includes the following required information:


  1. Procedures for Approval/Review of Proposals to Establish Centers and Institutes at ECU

1.   Notice of center establishment. Immediate notification of the establishment of a center within an academic unit shall be sent to the Centers and Institutes Review Committee and to the Office of Academic Programs.  This notification will suffice under the following conditions:

A.  The new center will be housed completely within one college (Division of Academic Affairs) or school (Division of Health Sciences).

B.  There is no request for funding beyond that currently provided by the creating college or school.

      If there is the intent to secure external funding, please specify the sources being explored.

C.  There is no request for space beyond that currently available through the creating college or school.

D.  The newly established center will provide a one-year report of its functioning and funding to the Centers and Institutes Review Committee.

E.  Should external funding be secured, the center will immediately submit a formal proposal to the Centers and Institutes Review Committee for permanent establishment of an institutional center.


2.  The proposing team will present the proposal for a permanent center to the following:

• Centers and Institutes Review Committee

• The Chancellor’s Executive Council


3.  The Centers and Institutes Review Committee will forward its recommendations to the Provost, who will recommend new centers/institutes to the Chancellor’s Executive Council.


  1.  The chancellor will consider recommendations from the Executive Council and provide final approval of institutional centers and institutes.


5.       Requests to establish interinstitutional centers will be forwarded from the Office of the Chancellor to UNC-GA.


EXCEPTION:  In cases of immediate need, proposals may be submitted directly to the Academic Council with a stated justification of the need for immediate action on the request.  In response to the request for expedited review, the Academic Council may endorse the proposal and recommend the new center/institute to the Chancellor’s Executive Council, or it may return the proposal for campus review as stated above.


Please send all proposals for University centers and institutes to Linner Griffin, Office of Academic Programs, for referral to the Committee. 


B.         Centers and Institutes Review Committee


Because all university centers (those organized beyond single departments or schools) report to either the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies or to deans in the Divisions of Academic Affairs and Health Sciences, three persons representing these divisions serve as permanent members of the committee as well.  In addition, four other persons serve on the committee.   The four others are (1) a representative of the deans, (2) Chair of the Faculty representative, (3) the chairperson of the Education Policies and Planning Committee, and (4) a faculty representative from the Graduate School Administrative Board.


   Centers and Institutes Review Committee Membership:

Permanent Committee Members

• Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies (or designee)

• Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

• Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences (or designee)

Rotating Committee Members thru 6/30/07

• Representative of the deans

• Chair of the Faculty representative

• EPPC Chair

• Faculty representative of the Graduate School Administrative Board


Committee Functions: 

The committee has three functions. 

First, the Committee will evaluate the merit of proposals for new University-wide centers and institutes to ensure they serve an appropriate purpose and would not overlap with existing units.  The committee also will consider resources available to the proposed center or institute.

Second, the Committee will conduct reviews of centers’ and institutes’ annual reports during the first three years of the center or institute’s operation. After three years of successful operation, review of University-wide centers and their directors become part of the regular five-year academic program review process and will be the responsibility of the academic officers to whom they report.

Third, the Committee may from time to time be asked by the Academic Council to review the continued viability of existing centers.



Definitions for Specific Categories of Centers and Institutes



1.  Centers Versus Institutes    

For the purposes of classification within UNC, there is no technical distinction made between the terms "center" and "institute."  Both typically offer interdisciplinary programs attracting faculty, students, and staff from various academic departments or other structured units.  In practice, an "institute" frequently refers to an activity with a broader scope than a "center."  For example, an institute may create centers as separate units within its administrative structure.


2.  Institutional Versus Interinstitutional Centers and Institutes   

Centers and institutes may be either institutional or interinstitutional in nature, and may be designated as research, public service, or instructional units.  They may include the participation of other institutions, agencies, or organizations, such as other colleges and universities, schools, hospitals, industry, foundations, or governmental bodies.



Institutional centers and institutes report to only a single campus within the UNC system.  These centers or institutes may collaborate with units or departments from other institutions for specific activities or projects, but fiscal and administrative oversight is limited to a single institution.  Institutional centers do not submit planning, establishment, or discontinuation requests to the Board of Governors, but are subject to the policies and procedures for establishment and review that are established by their respective campus.  



Interinstitutional centers and institutes involve more than one campus within the UNC system for participation, including shared administrative and fiscal oversight or substantial involvement of more than one UNC institution in ongoing activities.  Centers are also considered interinstitutional if the Office of the President provides fiscal and/or administrative oversight.  Each interinstitutional center must designate the unit to provide administrative and/or fiscal oversight.   In some cases these responsibilities may be assigned to two separate institutions or assumed by the Office of the President.  The UNC Board of Governors provides oversight for all interinstitutional centers and institutes in accordance with these regulations.   


Interinstitutional centers serve to promote collaboration and to minimize duplication within the University.  They increase the opportunities for external funding by enhancing interdisciplinary collaborations and by facilitating access to a wider range of facilities, faculty, students, and other resources.  Interinstitutional centers may also enhance outreach and public service to the citizens of North Carolina by providing a coordination of "regional sites" in fields such as small business and economic development, cooperative extension, public health, the environment, and teacher training.   


3.  Types of Centers and Institutes 


A research center or institute has research as its primary mission.  Both institutional and interinstitutional centers may be designated for research.   Although classified as a research center or institute, such a unit may also provide instruction, training, technical assistance, or public service programs.  Although such units do not have jurisdiction over academic curricula, they may offer courses in cooperation with academic units.   


         Public Service 

A public service center or institute has public service or technical assistance as its primary mission.  Both institutional and interinstitutional centers may be designated for public service.  Research, instruction, and training activities may also be conducted as secondary components of the mission.  Although such units do not have jurisdiction over academic curricula, they may offer courses in cooperation with academic units.



An instructional center or institute has training or instruction as its primary mission.  Both institutional and interinstitutional centers may be designated for instruction, and these units may also conduct research and public service activities.  Although instructional centers and institutes do not have primary jurisdiction over academic curricula, they may offer courses in cooperation with academic units.


C.        Purpose and Scope of Centers and Institutes   

Centers and institutes are established within the University to strengthen and enrich multidisciplinary programs of research, public service, or instruction conducted by the faculty and staff.  They also may provide undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students with added research opportunities, facilities, and assistance, as well as enhance their involvement in public service and educational activities...  


Centers and institutes must avoid unnecessary duplication within UNC.  Each unit seeks to differentiate its mission, activities, and/or clientele from other UNC units, and to make its facilities available to other constituent institutions for cooperative activities as appropriate.