East Carolina University Centers and Institutes Policy - Interim
|Title||East Carolina University Centers and Institutes Policy|
|Category||Governance and Administration|
|Sub-category||Governance - General|
|Authority||Board of Trustees|
Approved 2/24/2006; Revised 1/11/2016
Vice Chancellor of Research, Economic Development, and Engagement, Phone: 252-328-9471
Chair of the Centers and Institutes Committee
1. Introduction, Purpose, and Definitions
East Carolina University (ECU) encourages multidisciplinary and multi-institutional partnerships that maximize the ability to address complex problems of importance to North Carolina, the nation, and the world. Such partnerships may take the form of centers and institutes. Centers and institutes are particularly effective structures when efforts require cross-disciplinary or cross-unit coordination. Centers and institutes, when formed, should result in strengthened and enriched programs around the core missions of research, service, and instruction; enhanced opportunities for faculty, staff and students; heightened economic impact and societal well-being in Eastern NC and the State; increased efficiency; and reduced duplication of effort. Centers and institutes are expected to consolidate and coordinate activities across multiple entities or disciplines, or catalyze implementation of new multi-disciplinary initiatives, and therefore will encompass more than one department, office, or institution.
UNC Policy Manual 400.5[R] provides guidelines for establishing and managing institutional centers and institutes; defines University System Multi-Campus Centers or Institutes and the oversight role of UNC General Administration (UNC-GA); and outlines expectations for management oversight and reporting on centers and institutes. In accordance with these guidelines, the Chancellor approved the following Policy governing planning, establishing, reviewing and operating for Centers and Institutes with ECU as their administrative home.
1.1.1. Providing guidelines for planning, establishment, management, and discontinuation of institutional centers and institutes;
1.1.2. Providing guidelines for management and oversight of centers and institutes at East Carolina University (ECU); and
1.1.3. Setting forth requirements for management oversight and reporting on centers and institutes.
1.2.1. “Center or Institute.” For purposes of classification, 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. Centers and institutes may involve only units within the institution, or may 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.
1.2.2. “General Fund sources” means financial resources originating from the State’s General Fund, including state appropriations and tuition receipts.
1.2.3. “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.
1.2.4. “In-Kind sources” means support that one or more constituent institutions provides to a center or institute in the form of space, services, graduate assistantships, faculty course buyout, or use of equipment or other materials, and for which it does not receive cash payment.
1.2.5. “Political activity” means, as described in Section 300.5.1 of the UNC Policy Manual, 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.
2. Policy Provisions for Centers and Institutes
2.1. The following provisions apply to centers and institutes with ECU as their administrative home.
126.96.36.199. Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees approves campus level policies on centers and institutes and authorizes establishment and discontinuation of institutional centers and institutes consistent with regulations and the directions of the president or the Board of Governors. The Board of Trustees may delegate to the Chancellor the authority to approve the discontinuation of centers and institutes.
188.8.131.52. Chancellor. The Chancellor is ultimately responsible for the oversight and management of all centers and institutes at ECU. The Chancellor is responsible for carrying out the requirements of the applicable policies of the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees with respect to centers and institutes, and for ensuring that all requirements of this Policy are implemented and followed. The Chancellor delegates authority for division-level administration of centers and institutes to the Academic Council (Provost, Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, and Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development, and Engagement).
184.108.40.206. Centers and Institutes Committee. The Centers and Institutes Committee oversees all centers and institutes at ECU and ensures operations are in compliance with the established policies and procedures. The Committee reports to Academic Council. It is charged with carrying out the following duties:
220.127.116.11.1. Establish the composition and membership of the Committee;
18.104.22.168.2. Ensure alignment between the University’s Centers and Institutes Policies and Procedures and the UNC Policy Manual, and advise the Academic Council on changes to the institution’s policies and procedures to rectify discrepancies;
22.214.171.124.3. Authorize permission to plan for new centers and institutes;
126.96.36.199.4. Authorize or recommend, as appropriate, establishment of new centers and institutes;
188.8.131.52.5. Establish the processes for periodic review of centers and institutes and their directors for performance relative to their stated objectives, goals, and mission;
184.108.40.206.6. Oversee conduct of periodic reviews of the established centers and institutes and their directors;
220.127.116.11.7. Recommend discontinuation of centers and institutes when warranted; and
18.104.22.168.8. Liaise with UNCGA on issues related to centers and institutes.
22.214.171.124. Directors. Each center or institute must have a director, with a direct report to a senior academic officer appointed by the Chancellor. Directors are responsible for the day-to-day programmatic, fiscal, and personnel decisions associated with the center and institute mission and core personnel.
126.96.36.199. Boards and advisory committees. Each center and institute with ECU as its administrative home will maintain a board or advisory committee of at least four members that represent the primary constituents. The boards or advisory committees will report to the directors, providing advice and guidance, and helping coordinate. The board and advisory committees do not have authority to make hiring offers or to discontinue directors or other staff or to access, use, or otherwise control funds associated with the center or institute.
188.8.131.52. Bylaws, memoranda of understanding, and other governing documents. Commitments, responsibilities, and interactions of the constituent departments, colleges, schools, divisions, and institutions involved in activities of centers and institutes with their administrative home at ECU must be defined by bylaws, memoranda of understanding (MOUs), or other governing documents such as the original proposal that is signed by all parties. All documents defining the commitments, responsibilities, and working relationships of the above-referenced entities must be approved by 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.
3. Obtaining Authorization to Plan Centers and Institutes
3.1. Units seeking permission to plan a center or institute will develop and submit a written proposal which includes the following required information:
3.1.1. Name of the proposed center or institute;
3.1.2. Relevance of the proposed center or institute to the mission of ECU and UNC;
3.1.3. Specific objectives and goals of the proposed center or institute and why the objectives and goals cannot be achieved within existing institutional or UNC structures, including individual schools, departments, and/or programs;
3.1.4. Discussion of differentiation from similar centers, institutes or units (if any) within ECU, UNC and the State, and proposed relationship with them;
3.1.5. Center/institute’s relevance to ECU’s mission, including a statement on the impact upon academic, research, and outreach programs of existing academic departments, schools, institutes and centers;
3.1.6. Names and credentials of participants in the proposed institute/center and criteria for inclusion of future participants/members;
3.1.7. Description of the expected benefit/value added to the campus or community anticipated within five years due to the existence of the center or institute;
3.1.8. Budget estimates for the first year of operation, and projections for the following four years, including the amount to be derived from General Funds, non-General Funds and in kind support, and the source of the required funds (i.e., department, institution, sponsor, etc.);
3.1.9. Statement of capital needs such as equipment and library resources and documentation of how these needs will be met, such as MOU’s, award notices, and letters of commitment from the sources of the resources;
3.1.10. Description of immediate space needs, projections of future space needs, and documentation of commitments from the parties committing the space for center and institute activities;
3.1.11. Plan for becoming self-sustaining and independent of General Funds and ongoing in-kind support including course buyouts and release time for center and institute directors, faculty, and staff; and graduate assistantships used to support operations. Any requirement for ongoing support from General Funds and in-kind support must be justified by the benefits derived from the activities of the center or institute;
3.1.12. When relevant, statements on the inter-institutional nature of the proposed center or institute, whether it be mission, leadership, activities, funding or other aspects;
3.1.13. Milestones, timelines, and responsible parties associated with center and institute planning periods.
3.1.14. Any additional supporting information; and
3.1.15. Signatures of administrators of all participating units.
3.2. Submission of Proposal to Plan
3.2.1. Proposals to plan centers and institutes must be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development, and Engagement for referral to the Educational Policies and Planning Committee and the Centers and Institutes Committee. The Centers and Institutes Committee reviews the proposals, considers input from the Educational Policies and Planning Committee, and recommends approval or disapproval of the proposal to plan to the Academic Council and the Chancellor. If the Chancellor authorizes the planning of a center or institute then the approval to plan shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees and the UNC Office of Research within 30 days of the Chancellor’s approval or by the next meeting of the Board of Trustees, whichever is later.
3.3. Obtaining Authorization to Establish Centers and Institutes
3.3.1. After receiving permission to plan a center or institute, units seeking permission to establish a center or institute will develop and submit the following required information:
184.108.40.206. Name of the proposed center or institute;
220.127.116.11. Identification of the proposed center or institute as either primarily research, service or instructional
18.104.22.168. 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 impact upon academic, research, and outreach programs of existing academic departments, schools, institutes and centers of all participating campuses;
22.214.171.124. Organizational structure, including name of the proposed director, description of the membership, proposed organizational structure, and a description of proposed advisory or policy boards;
126.96.36.199. Statement on immediate financial needs, including the amount of General Fund, non-General Fund, and in kind support that will be required;
188.8.131.52. Statement on immediate operating needs, such as equipment, library resources, and space needs, and five-year projections of future space needs;
184.108.40.206. An accountability plan that complies with the policy of the home campus, noting specific dates for the initial director and center or institute reviews;
220.127.116.11. A schedule of milestones, timeliness, and responsible parties associated with establishment; and
18.104.22.168. When relevant, evidence that inter-institutional arrangements regarding leadership, governance, activities, or funding of other aspects have been reached by the cooperating chancellors or designees.
3.4. Submission of Proposal to Establish
3.4.1. Proposals to establish centers and institutes must be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development, and Engagement for referral to the Educational Policies and Planning Committee and the Centers and Institutes Committee. The Centers and Institutes Committee reviews the proposals, considers input from the Educational Policies and Planning Committee, and recommends approval or disapproval of the establishment of the center or institute to the Academic Council and the Chancellor. A proposed center or institute satisfying all the above-referenced criteria may be established after approval of the Chancellor and Board of Trustees and notification to the Office of Research at UNC General Administration.
3.5. Reporting and Reviews
3.5.1. All centers and institutes must submit an annual report of activities to the Centers and Institutes Committee via the Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development, and Engagement for archiving and transmission to the Academic Council and the Chancellor. Annual reports must include:
22.214.171.124. Performance against the stated objectives;
126.96.36.199. Annual expenditures from General Funds, non-General Funds and in kind support;
188.8.131.52. Source of the expended funds (i.e., department, institution, and/or sponsor); and
184.108.40.206. Progress on the plan to become self-sustaining and independent of General Funds and ongoing in-kind support including course buyouts and release time for center and institute directors, faculty, and staff; and graduate assistantships used to support operations. For centers and institutes that require ongoing support from General Funds and in-kind support the benefits derived from the activities of the center or institute relative to the funds expended must be clearly stated.
3.6. The Centers and Institutes Committee will report deficiencies in performance to the directors and ensure corrective actions are implemented annually.
3.7. Each center and institute must undergo a comprehensive review every 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, to include a self-study that is critically evaluated by reviewers not affiliated with the center or institute. Reviews of centers and institutes that receive more than $100,000 in General Funds plus in-kind support annually, or that are authorized to receive distributions of indirect costs through the Division of Research, Economic Development, and Engagement, must include reviewers from outside the institution and onsite visits. The Centers and Institutes Committee will schedule, orchestrate, and document results of the reviews. Review criteria will include, but not limited to, the following:
3.7.1. Performance against specific objectives and goals as reported in annual reports;
3.7.2. 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);
3.7.3. Budget required 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;
3.7.4. Fiscal oversight;
3.7.5. Analysis and assurance that the entity does not duplicate other institutional, UNC, or State entities;
3.7.6. Analysis and consideration as to whether the entity’s work can be effectively accomplished by a single department or program;
3.7.7. Facilities, personnel, and operational needs;
3.7.8. Stakeholder feedback (stakeholder defined as appropriate per the unit’s mission)
3.7.9. Director performance, to include at a minimum:
220.127.116.11. Performance against individual objectives and goals;
18.104.22.168. Feedback on leadership and communication from center/institute staff, partners and/or clients; and
22.214.171.124. Management of fiscal and human resources.
3.7.10. Standard practices and procedures for involving other UNC constituent institutions in review processes, when relevant; and
3.7.11. Clear plans for occasions when centers, institutes or directors do not meet minimum review expectations, including process, milestones, and responsible parties.
3.8. Results of the reviews will be reported to Academic Council and forwarded to the Chancellor.
3.9.1. A center or institute may be discontinued for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to request by its director, its administrative unit, Academic Council, or Chancellor; lack of fiscal resources for sustainability; incompatibility with departmental, college, or institutional missions or objectives; failure to meet performance expectations; unsatisfactory performance as documented in the annual review process and confirmed in the 5 year comprehensive review; and completion of the mission. The Centers and Institutes Committee will make recommendations for discontinuation to the Academic Council for approval by the Chancellor. The Office of Research at UNC General Administration must be notified prior to discontinuation. A center or institute shall be considered discontinued if the discontinuation is approved by the Board of Trustees.
3.9.2. For those centers and institutes that require significant and sustained cooperation among more than one UNC campus, agreement must be reached and documented by the partner Chancellors or designee before the recommendation to discontinue goes before the Board of Trustees of the administrative campus. If such an agreement cannot be reached by partner Chancellors or designees, then UNC General Administration, through the Office of Research, will convene partners and determine an acceptable solution.
3.9.3. 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.
4. Other Entities
4.1 Other coordinating entities, such as networks, partnerships, consortia, collaboratives, or centers that form within existing centers or single departments, are exempt from this Policy. For example, faculty within a department may decide to form a collaborative in order to more intentionally connect their research projects and professional networks. While such a group may prove a valuable resource to external partners or other disciplinary contacts, it would likely require little to no structure, funds, or management to function. A final determination will be left to the discretion of the Centers and Institutes Committee as to whether such entities will be governed under institution level processes.
4.2 University System Multi-Campus Centers and Institutes
4.2.1 Some centers and institutes are established either to represent North Carolina in a federally funded and formula-based program, many of which require state matching funds, or through legislative action with requirements of multiple campus engagement. These entities, known as University System Multi-Campus Centers and Institutes, will maintain varying levels of involvement from UNC General Administration throughout their life cycle.
4.2.2 Centers and institutes that are established via a federally funded and formula-based program and designate ECU as the administrative campus require a reporting line to UNC General Administration through the UNC Office of Research and Sponsored Programs 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 external 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. When it becomes necessary to discontinue one of these centers or institutes, the Centers and Institutes Committee, in consultation with the other participating constituent institutions, will 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 Board of Governors for approval of the discontinuation. The “phase out” period considerations noted above will apply to these centers and institutes.
4.2.3 Centers and institutes that function as part of one or more constituent institutions of the UNC system are subject to the administrative management, oversight, and control of the chancellor of the administrative campus (or the chancellor’s designee(s)) 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.
5. Political Activity and Legislative Activity
5.1. University employees assigned to centers and institutes are subject to UNC Policy Manual Section 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.
5.2. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) limits the extent to which charitable organizations that are tax-exempt pursuant to Section 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, and each center or institute remains subject to the direction of its administrative campus when engaging in legislative (lobbying) activities, 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 shall adhere to the IRC Section 501(c)(3) limits on lobbying activities to the same extent that such limits would apply if it were an independent charitable organization described in IRC Section501(c)(3).
5.3. The Chancellor (or Chancellor’s designee) is responsible for overseeing and exercising 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 Internal Revenue Code restrictions on political and legislative activities by section 501(c)(3) organizations.