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Under certain circumstances, centers and institutes are formed within universities to achieve specific objectives. The major difference between centers and institutes deal with the educational roles of each unit. The Board of Regents has offered the following information concerning “centers ” and “institutes”.
“A center provides an organizational base for research in a given academic area or closely related areas. It often provides a vehicle for interdisciplinary research in a given area involving faculty and students from a variety of internal administrative structures. It may be involved in the offering of continuing education activities related to its area(s) of interest. The “center” structure may facilitate efforts of the college or university to obtain extramural funding in specific areas. It serves as a formalized link between the academic community and the professional community in the area(s) of focus. A center, however, is not an autonomous structure within the internal statutory organization of a college or university. It is administratively most often an appendage of one of the traditional administrative structures, such as a department. A center is not involved in the independent offering of credit course or degree programs.”
“An institute shares the center’s focus on research, provision of opportunity for interdisciplinary activity, involvement in continuing education activities, value in facilitating efforts to obtain extramural funding, and service as a link between the academic and professional communities. It is, however, a far more formalized structure and may be equivalent to an autonomous unit within the internal structure of the college or university such as a department, division, school or (university level) college. It will, unlike a center, be involved in the offering of credit courses and may offer degree programs.”
Centers and institutes can also be indicative of clinical programs or the designation of a facility. The Medical College of Georgia, being a health sciences university and having a significant clinical program, must be able to utilize the terms “center” and “institute” for these purposes.
Establishment of institutes/centers derives from opportunity and need, often funded largely from extramural sources and staffed by individuals with mutual interests from several disciplines. Because of this funding and staffing pattern, it is essential that an institute/center be accommodated within the existing university structure so that it complements institutional function while permitting the unique, harmonious, and effective operation of the institute/center.
An institute/center is formed when the discipline represented by an academic department or other organizational component cannot achieve certain objectives. Attainment of such objectives requires a multidisciplinary approach involving more than one department, often more than one school. In the academic setting, institute/center objectives must include research as part of its activities. It may also include instruction or service or any combination of these activities. Attainment of these objectives is intended to serve local, state, or national needs.
For institutes/centers of a clinical nature or the designation of a facility, the objectives must be similar (i.e. requiring a multidisciplinary approach involving more than one department) but only be associated with a clinical need.
All programs using the terminology “Center” or “Institute” in its name must be approved by the President.
In order to establish an institute or center, the group of individuals must follow the procedures outlined below:
A clearly identified need must be shown with evidence that the proposed institute or center and not an existing organizational unit will serve the stated need. In most cases, each institute/center should have research, education, and service as part of their mission. In the case of an institute, be sure to add information concerning the possible offering of courses or degree programs. For either an institute or center, please indicate whether it is the intention of the group to offer C.E. credit. In the case of a clinical program, the need only has to be associated with that clinical program. (Research and education do not have to be part of these centers/institutes.)
A list of the individuals which will make up the proposed institute or center, to include their role within the institute/center, their expertise to carry out that role, and the permission of their chairperson or division head and dean, vice president, or executive director of hospital and clinics to participate in the proposed institute/center. Be sure to submit an organizational chart and list whom the proposed institute/center director will be and why that person was chosen for the position. Once the center/institute has received institutional approval, the director must be approved for that position via the normal procedures set for administrative positions (i.e., the chair, dean, Provost and by the President). In the case of a proposed institute, the director must be approved by the Board of Regents.
How will this institute/center be funded (for example, extramural funds, resident instruction, or hospital and clinics)? Be sure to show appropriate support documentation that the sources are available. If no funds will be used initially, describe what efforts will be undertaken to find support of this proposed institute/center in the future (for example, the writing of a program project, center grant or the request of a funds from the dean, vice president, hospital director or president).
Letters of support for the proposed institute/center must be obtained from the appropriate administrators involved. For example, if the institute/center is to be organized under a specific department, the chairperson and dean of that school must send letters of support and approval, if the institute/center is to be organized directly under a dean, vice president, or executive director of hospital and clinics, only his/her approval is needed. However, item #2 above must always be included if the personnel involved are from a specific department or division. Once the dean, vice president, or executive director of hospital and clinics has approved the proposed plan for the development of the institute/center, it is submitted to the Vice President for Research, Provost and Dean of the Medical College of Georgia for review and then to the President for approval. In the case of an institute, the President must get approval to create the institute and appoint its director from the Board of Regents. In the case of a center, the President must send a letter of intent to create the center to the Chancellor.
The established institute/center’s operations are the responsibility of the individual selected as its director who is responsible for all operations to the chairperson, dean, vice president, or executive director of hospital and clinics. The director and all other personnel will continue to function as active members of the parent departments for the time and effort negotiated when that person joined the institute/center and continue to be responsible to the department chairperson for those activities.
Institute/center membership for faculty members is negotiated with department chairmen by the director with regard to faculty time, salary, and other responsibilities. Such faculty appointments and time commitments will be reviewed annually by the director and department chairmen. The faculty member who is also an institute/center member is responsible to the department chairperson for time commitment and performance in departmental activities and is responsible to the director for time commitment and performance in the institute/center.
Recommendations for promotion, tenure, and salary of all institute/center members will be initiated by primary appointment department chairmen and school deans, in consultation with the institute/center director and in accordance with institutional policies and procedures.
Funding of salaries of institute/center members will be proposed and approved by the institute/center director, department chairperson, school deans, and executive director of hospital and clinics.
The acquisition of space and facilities needed for institute/center operations will be obtained through negotiation with department chairmen, school deans, and the executive director of the hospital and clinics whose faculty and staff are institute/center members. If additional resources are required, requests are made through existing institutional channels.
An executive group will be appointed by the most involved school dean/vice president with consultation with its director to advise the institute/center director on major institute/center activities. The executive group may consist wholly or in part of institute/center members or of representatives of other recognized areas of interest.
The director will make periodic reports to the supervising school dean/vice president, not less than annually, on the operations of the institute/center, with copies to the President and other involved deans.
The institute/center director provides annual individual performance evaluations of each institute/center member, with copies to the appropriate department chairmen and deans.
Upon the president’s order, a committee composed of all vice presidents, chaired by the Vice President for Research, will review and evaluate institute/center operations. If the center/institute is a clinical program then the Clinical Enterprise will review and evaluate the operation with Dean of the Medical College of Georgia serving as chair of the committee.
Upon the recommendations of the director, the supervising dean/vice president, and with presidential approval, the existence of an institute/center will be terminated. The President will so notify the Chancellor and the Board of Regents.
Approved: President 6/15/94