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Policy Title: Centers and Institutes

Boise State University Policy # 5000
Effective Date: February 7, 2005
Revised: March 2013; May 2017

To establish guidelines for the creation, administration, review and discontinuance of Boise State University (“University”) Centers and Institutes.

All University Employees

Responsible Parties:
Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED), 426-5732
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (the Provost), 426-1202
Vice President for Finance and Administration (VPFA), 426-1200

Center – An organizational base for instruction, research, creative activity, service and/or outreach activities in a given academic area, or set of closely-related areas.  Serves to facilitate and coordinate the efforts of faculty, staff and students within a single academic college, and in certain situations, more than one college. Is not involved in the independent offering of credit course or degree programs.

Institute – An organizational base for instruction, research, creative activity, service and/or outreach activities. The breadth and depth of its scope transcends department, college or even University boundaries. Supports the advancement of an academically-related theme requiring an organizational structure to support and promote interdisciplinary activities in the area. Is not involved in the independent offering of credit course or degree programs.


I.  Policy Statement

Because of the complexity and interdisciplinary nature of many instructional, research, service and outreach activities, the University allows the establishment of Centers and Institutes to facilitate the management and development of such activities.

This policy does not apply to Centers and Institutes that are separate legal entities. The relationship between those entities and the University are governed by separate written agreements according to State Board of Education (“SBOE”) policies.

II.  Requirements

The University must have existing strengths and resources appropriate for a Center or Institute, including a critical mass of faculty and staff, and a demonstrated commitment of long-term fiscal sustainability. Additionally, Centers and Institutes:

A.  Must be consistent with the role and mission statement and strategic plan of the University;

B.  Should each facilitate increased productivity and attainment of excellence in a well-defined area of instruction, research, service, and/or outreach;

C.  Must enhance an academic program in the associated college(s); and

D.  Must provide the associated program(s), department(s), or college(s) with greater visibility and increased potential for extramural funding.

III.  Administration

A.  Each Center and Institute shall have a Director who is responsible for the administration of its day-to-day activities. Arrangements may vary from a part-time Director, who may receive a workload adjustment from other University responsibilities, to a full-time Director whose primary responsibility is the administration of the Center or Institute.

B.  The Directors of Centers shall report directly to, and be administered by either a Vice President or the Dean of the unit in which the Center resides, or the designee of either of the above.  For those Centers with activities spanning more than one college, a Vice President or lead Dean shall be designated by the appropriate Vice President(s).

C.  An Institute’s reporting structure is determined collectively by the VPRED and the Provost on a case-by-case basis.

IV. Council of University Centers and Institutes

A.  The VPRED, in consultation with the Provost, will: (i) establish a Council of University Centers and Institutes (the “Council”); and (ii) designate the Council’s Chairperson. The Council will be comprised of faculty and staff with experience in administering Centers and Institutes on campus, and a designee from each of the Offices of the VPRED, the Provost and VPFA.

B.  The Council shall:

1.  Ensure university activities related to Centers, Institutes, and Core Facilities follow provisions outlined in this policy and revise the policy as appropriate;

2.Conduct initial reviews of proposed Centers and Institutes, and make recommendations to the appropriate Dean(s) and/or Vice President(s); and

3.  Conduct a review of each existing Center and Institute at least once every three (3) years to assess the quality, viability, sustainability and effectiveness of its operations, and make recommendations to the appropriate Dean(s) and/or Vice President(s) on the continuance of its activities.

V.  Establishing, Discontinuing, and Renaming Centers and Institutes

A.  Establishing and Discontinuing Centers and Institutes:

1.  After detailed review and consultation with appropriate faculty and administrators, the Director of the Center or Institute shall prepare an SBOE Notice of Intent (“NOI”) to establish or eliminate a Center or Institute.  For the creation of new Centers and Institutes, initial approval by the appropriate Vice President(s), Dean(s) and Department Chair(s) must be obtained, and subsequently a detailed description of how the Center or Institute meets the requirements set forth in Section II, above, shall be submitted to the Chairperson of the Council for consideration.  For discontinuance of Centers and Institutes, the NOI and a brief description of the rationale must be provided to the Chairperson of the Council for consideration.

2.  Upon completion of its review, the Council shall make a formal recommendation regarding the establishment or discontinuance of the Center or Institute to the Vice President(s) and/or Dean(s) to whom the Director (would) report(s).

3.  If, in the opinion of the Vice President(s) and/or Dean(s), the Center or Institute fulfills the stipulations set forth in this policy, the Dean(s) or the Vice President(s) will provide, to the VPRED for research Centers or Institutes and to the Provost for all other Centers or Institutes, a formal written recommendation to establish or eliminate the Center or Institute.

4.  Centers and Institutes must be approved by the SBOE.  Following approval by the VPRED (for research Centers and Institutes) or the Provost (for all other Centers and Institutes), the Director must work with the Provost’s Office to submit an NOI to the SBOE. The NOI should include a detailed description of the administrative structure and fiscal sustainability plan, or in the case of discontinuance, simply the NOI and rationale to the Office of the Provost.  The NOI will then be routed for approvals by the VPFA, the Provost, and the University President.  If approved by these individuals, the NOI would then be submitted to the SBOE to secure its authorization for creation or discontinuance of the Center or Institute.

B.  Renaming Centers and Institutes

1.  All name or title changes to Centers and Institutes must be requested via prior written notification to the Office of the Provost. The Provost shall submit to the SBOE per its requirements.

2. Prior to the notification of a proposed name change, the Center or Institute Director must: (i) assess whether any substantive changes have occurred to the Center or Institute prior to the name change; and (ii) provide in writing to the Council the results of the assessment and the proposed pending name change for review.  Upon receipt of approval by the Council, the Director may then prepare and submit the written notification.

VI.  Periodic Review of Centers and Institutes

A.  All Centers and Institutes must submit annual reports to the appropriate Vice President(s) and/or Dean(s). These reports shall provide updates on the Centers’ and Institutes’ technical and financial operations. It shall be the responsibility of the appropriate Vice President(s) and/or Dean(s) to review and act upon the information contained in the reports and ensure that reports are submitted in a timely fashion.

B. All Centers and Institutes shall undergo a status review every three (3) years. The Council shall inform the Centers and Institutes of impending reviews and shall request whatever information is needed to assess: (i) the quality, viability, sustainability and effectiveness of the Center or Institute; (ii) whether substantive changes have occurred warranting SBOE notification; and (iii) the Center’s or Institute’s adherence to the requirements outlined in Section II, above. The Council’s recommendation shall be sent to the appropriate Vice President(s) and/or Dean(s). It shall be the responsibility of the appropriate Vice President(s) and/or Dean(s) to ensure that appropriate action is taken by the Center or Institute. The Council may, at its discretion, request that reviews of Centers and Institutes take place more often than required.

C. The University President, a Vice President or an Academic Dean can formally request, via a communication to the Council, that a Center or Institute be reviewed by the Council at any time.