Research and Graduate Studies

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Purpose and Functions of Centers

To facilitate the accomplishments of its regular instructional function, the basic administrative organization of the university consists of colleges, departments, and interdisciplinary academic programs. These arrangements are appropriate to the primary mission of the university. However, there are other appropriate research, creative, and service functions that may be handled better by alternative administrative structures, such as centers or institutes. If center activities result in proposals for new degree or credit-bearing courses, the normal process for course development, adoption, and approval should be followed as specified in University policy.

The university has established the following guidelines for the formation, operation, monitoring, review and dissolution of centers. The term "center" applies to any alternative administrative structure whether the unit is known as a "bureau," "institute," "research station," "field station," or any other preferred terminology. The "appropriate administrator," referred to in these guidelines, is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean, or designee.

Types of Centers

There are three types of centers:

  • University Center: A university center is concerned with subject matter of sufficient breadth to involve disciplines from two or more colleges. Administration of a university center may be assigned to an individual college.

  • College Center: A college center is concerned with subject matter confined primarily to disciplines organized within a single college

  • Department Center: A departmental center is concerned with subject matter confined primarily to a single discipline represented by an academic department. It is recommended that, in units where two or more centers are formed, consideration to be given to establishment of a unit center in which each of the individual centers would operate as a sub-unit.