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Policy Title: Campus Policy on the Creation, Oversight, and Review of Academic Centers and Institutes (Interim)

Policy Administrator: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Authority: CSU Coded Memorandum AA-2014-18 and Delegated to Provost by the President

Effective Date: June 28, 2018

Updated:

Index Cross-References:

Policy File Number: ACA-151

Campus Policy on the Creation, Oversight, and Review of Academic Centers and Institutes (Interim)

Policy Statement:

This policy serves to provide the framework for the creation, oversight, and closure of University Academic Centers and Institutes.

Who the Policy applies to:

Faculty, staff, and administrators at California State University, Sacramento and employees of University Enterprises, Inc. Academic Centers and Institutes in existence at the inception of this policy are not subject to this establishment procedure; however, they are subject to other provisions in this policy.

Why the Policy is necessary:

Guidelines for campuses and auxiliaries have been developed by the Chancellor’s Office (Coded Memorandum AA-2014-18) to ensure that University Academic Center and Institute activities and finances are in compliance with system-wide requirements, including the Integrated CSU Administrative Manual, other coded memoranda, or any other applicable CSU policies.

Responsibilities:

Oversight of all Academic Centers and Institutes is delegated to the Provost by the President. The Provost has designated the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED) to serve as the superintendent of Academic Centers and Institutes. The Associate Vice President of ORIED shall review Creation Petitions and reports and make formal recommendations to the Provost on Academic Center and Institute matters.

Definitions:

Academic Center or Institute (ACI) – a formally-approved interdisciplinary and/or collaborative unit that is organized around a scholarly, creative, research, education, and/or public service activity that combines the interests and expertise of individuals, departments or administrative units; may draw on expertise of others external to the campus; and may offer services to constituents beyond the campus community. Academic Centers and Institutes must contribute to the mission of California State University, Sacramento. All entities that embody these characteristics are governed by this policy and must follow the outlined procedures.

Administrative or Service Center (ASC) – an internally-focused campus central administration or service unit that is funded exclusively, or nearly exclusively, by the state and/or Associated Students Inc. Examples include the Career Center, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Veterans Center, the Child Care Center, the Aquatic Center, the Pride Center, etc. These centers are not subject to this policy per Coded Memorandum AA-2014-18.

Appropriate Administrator – The administrator providing oversight of an ACI. If housed within a single college, typically the Dean. If the ACI is joint between multiple colleges, the Dean identified in the ACI Creation Petition. If housed in a different unit (i.e. Office of Academic Affairs, Office of Student Affairs, ORIED, etc.), the unit’s vice president or associate vice president serves at the Appropriate Administrator.

Center Director – The administrator of the ACI who is generally a tenured/tenure-track faculty member of California State University, Sacramento. The Center Director must be approved by the Appropriate Administrator; in the case that the Center Director is not a tenured/tenure-track faculty member, the Provost’s approval is also required. If the ACI is named an institute, Institute Director may be used in substitution.

Sponsor – A tenured or tenure-track faculty member or permanent administrator (MPP) seeking the creation of an ACI.

Policy Text:

California State University, Sacramento recognizes and encourages the development of appropriate centers, institutes, and similar entities as important contributors to the campus and its faculty, staff and students as well as the community. Falling outside of the traditional academic structures, Academic Centers and Institutes (ACIs) often bring together faculty and staff with similar interests to work in collaboration on compelling projects, problems, initiatives, and research. ACIs can serve as catalysts for innovation, research development, and programmatic outreach.

While Academic Centers and Institutes may perform certain functions ordinarily carried on by other university units, they may not offer for-credit instruction or degrees. Activities of an ACI will vary based on its nature, but can include:

  • Providing opportunities for professional development of faculty and staff through teaching, research, scholarly and creative activity, and public service.
  • Fostering and facilitating interdisciplinary efforts among disciplines, departments, and across colleges.
  • Providing a clearinghouse for information of interest to professionals, and conducting workshops and conferences for continuing education.
  • Enhancing the curriculum by facilitating and supplementing the academic experience of students.
  • Other approved functions as described in its organization document.

All ACIs must contribute to the mission of California State University, Sacramento and remain in compliance with all University and the CSU System policies and procedures.

Within ACIs, there are a few “versions” of centers and institutes. While no two centers are identical in scope and operation, there are three main classifications:

  • Self-supporting centers – Centers that operate essentially exclusively on revenue generated from external sources. Sources can include grants, contracts, endowments, and other donations. Funds cover all rent, all administrative costs and salaries, supplies, and other operation/development costs. Self-supporting centers use a billing rate methodology in grants and contracts to capture all allowable costs into billable rates. Self-supporting centers may occasionally receive funds from the University for special projects, but these funds are not intended to cover operations.
  • State-augmented centers – Centers that operate with a combination of external funding and well defined/specified state support, such as state support for specific salary lines, baseline operation allocations, or in-kind donations of space. State-augmented centers may use a billing rate methodology to capture all other allowable costs for contracts if the center has employees that bill at hourly rates. The risk these centers face is the uncertainty associated with state allocations. As institutional and leadership priorities change, the willingness to maintain the commitment to a center can evolve.
  • Burgeoning centers – Newly-created ACIs may be identified as a burgeoning center as a means of testing feasibility. For the purpose of starting up, they may have state funds committed for operations such as salary, rent, and other operational expenses. This support is only intended to be for short term; the first Comprehensive Review will determine if it is more properly defined as self-supporting or state-augmented.

While the nature of the three types of ACIs vary, all are subject to this policy. The classification system is to clearly identify the fundamental financial structure of the center for purposes of annual reports and comprehensive reviews.

New ACIs are created by completing a Creation Petition that summarizes the ACI mission and goals, an organization document, and a financial plan. The proposal will also identify the home unit and Appropriate Administrator. Full details of the procedures for creating an ACI are described in the Procedures on Creation, Oversight, and Review of Academic Centers and Institutes. The Provost, in consultation with the Appropriate Administrator and AVP for ORIED, will determine if the proposed ACI should be authorized.

Annual Reports, following the format provided in the Procedures on Creation, Oversight, and Review of Academic Centers and Institutes, must be submitted to the Appropriate Administrator as outlined in the procedures. The Appropriate Administrator will receive the report and provide feedback to the Center Director about the ACI’s alignment to goals, plans, and finances. The report, along with the feedback, will be forwarded to the Associate Vice President for the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development. The report should cover the previous Fiscal Year (July 1 – June 30). The Annual Report will be reviewed by the AVP for ORIED for a report to the Provost. Failure to submit an Annual Report may result in the ACI being placed in on a probationary status.

ACIs will be assessed by regular Comprehensive Reviews. The schedule for the Comprehensive Reviews will be maintained by ORIED based on the following guidelines:

  • No less than every five years
  • Within three years of creation of a new ACI
  • Within two years of an ACI being put into probationary or suspended status

An off-schedule Comprehensive Review may be requested at any time by the Provost after consultation with the Appropriate Administrator and/or AVP for ORIED. The Comprehensive Review report format can be found in the Procedures on Creation, Oversight, and Review of Academic Centers and Institutes.

The Comprehensive Review report will be submitted directly to ORIED. A committee of the Appropriate Administrator, AVP for ORIED (or designee), and a faculty member selected jointly by the Center Director and the AVP for ORIED will make a formal recommendation to the Provost for reauthorization, probation, suspension, or dissolution of the ACI. Failure to submit a Comprehensive Review may lead to the immediate suspension of an ACI.

ACIs may be placed on probation if an ACI fails to submit an Annual Report or if there is insufficient information within the Comprehensive Review to verify that it is operating within the policies and procedures of the University and the CSU System, or within the goals set by the ACI in its Creation Petition or previous Comprehensive Review. While on probation, the ACI must continue to submit Annual Reports and is eligible to enter into contracts and agreements as a fully authorized ACI. Probationary ACIs will be given a time frame of no more than two years to submit a Comprehensive Review for reauthorization of the center. If a Comprehensive Review is not received by ORIED within the provided time frame, it will be recommended to the Provost that the probationary ACI be dissolved. The Center Director will have the opportunity to meet with the AVP for ORIED and the Provost before a final decision is made by the Provost.

An ACI may be suspended for failure to demonstrate that it is fulfilling its mission and goals, or that it is operating within the policies and procedures of the University and CSU System (including financial solvency). It may also be suspended at the request of the Center Director and Appropriate Administrator or for failing to submit a required Comprehensive Review report. During a period of suspension, the ACI can only enter into new contracts or agreements with the written approval of the Provost or designee. Suspended ACI will not be required to submit an Annual Report but will have no more than two years to submit a Comprehensive Review for reauthorization of the center. The timeframe will be developed by the AVP for ORIED in consultation with the Center Director and Appropriate Administrator. If a satisfactory Comprehensive Review is not completed or received within the required time frame, it will be recommended to the Provost that the suspended ACI be dissolved. Only the Provost may extend the length of suspension when there is reason to believe that additional time will ensure the ACI’s success. The Center Director will have the opportunity to meet with the AVP for ORIED and the Provost before a final decision is made by the Provost.

Occasionally, the continued operation of ACIs may not be sustainable due to changes in funding, institutional priorities, retirements, departures, faculty interest, or other factors. Recommendation for the dissolution of an ACI can come at the request of the Center Director and Appropriate Administrator, or as the result of either the proceedings of a Comprehensive Review, or a probationary and/or suspended ACI’s failure to submit a Comprehensive Review. All personnel, operational, and fiscal matters associated with the closure of an ACI must be approached with careful attention to integrity, liability, and the University’s reputation. Any outstanding fiscal matters and outstanding operational items become the responsibility of the Appropriate Administrator or their designee.

Procedures documenting how to update the Center Director, financial structures, and other items are described in Procedures on Creation, Oversight, and Review of Academic Centers and Institutes.

Procedures:

Full details of the procedures related to the creation, oversight, and review of ACIs can be found in the Procedures on Creation, Oversight, and Review of Academic Centers and Institutes which can be found at the following URL: https://www.csus.edu/research/centersinstitutes1.html.

Approved by Robert S. Nelsen, President        Date: June 28, 2018