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Governing Principles and Procedures for Centers and Institutes

Responsible Department
Academic Affairs
Effective Date
  1. .

    Policy Purpose

    1. Centers and Institutes play an increasingly important role in fulfilling the teaching, research, and service mission of University of North Georgia (the “University”/UNG). This document establishes guidelines for the creation, operation, and review of New and Existing Centers and Institutes at UNG. These guidelines will affect currently Existing Centers and Institutes by encouraging their participation in the guidelines for operation and evaluation contained herein.

    2. When Centers and Institutes are appropriately designed, ably led, regularly reviewed, and carefully integrated with the University's mission, they make essential and powerful contributions to the University's academic life. They are distinct entities that will be affiliated with departments and colleges. They have any or all of the following attributes:

      • provide clear intellectual foci that define their essential programs and research activities;
      • advance the scholarly missions of departments, colleges and the University;
      • serve as the nucleus for research programs in established and emerging fields of strength;
      • offer students and community stakeholders educational programs, training, and services that otherwise would not be available; and
      • enhance the visibility and reputation of the University.
  2. .


    1. Centers: 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 and professional communities in the area(s) of focus.  A "center" 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.

    2. Institutes: 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.

    3. Center or Institute Affiliates: The University's faculty and staff, community participants, or other external stakeholders may receive "Affiliate" designations when appropriate.  An Affiliate's designation indicates an individual's key role in a Center or an Institute.

    4. Designation as a Center or Institute:  Designation as a Center or an Institute is a competitive process that is administered by the Office of the Provost in consultation with the President.

    5. New Centers or Institutes: Those Centers or Institutes that had not been officially designated as such by UNG on July 1, 2017.

    6. Existing Centers or Institutes: Those Centers or Institutes that had an official designation (i.e., recognized by the University) as a Center or Institute on or before June 30, 2017.  These include: Appalachian Studies Center; Center for Cyber Operations Education; Center for Ethical Leadership; Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Center for Global Engagement; Center for Language Education; Center for Teaching, Learning & Leadership; Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities; Environmental Leadership Center; Institute for Leadership & Strategic Studies; Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis and National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.
  3. .

    Policy Statement

    1. Both flexible and entrepreneurial, a Center or an Institute contributes to the academic life of the University by fostering collaboration among faculty, staff, departments, colleges and divisions, and by facilitating relationships with other research enterprises, community stakeholders, and grant­making agencies. They help to facilitate the University's mission by providing alternative opportunities for teaching, scholarship, and service, while simultaneously enhancing the University's reputation as a leader in scholarship and research.

    2. This policy applies to all faculty and staff at UNG.

    3. Governing Principles

      1. Establishment

        1. Designation as a Center or Institute is a singular honor reserved for those entities that are a) central to the mission of the University, b) interdisciplinary, c) entrepreneurial in approach, d) research/scholarly intensive, e) venues for student learning, and f) linked to the community and to other external stakeholders.  Additionally, Centers and Institutes must build upon faculty and staff strengths; facilitate the creation of a multidisciplinary community of scholars; be linked to at least one academic program in order to provide research, service, and experiential learning opportunities for faculty and students; demonstrate the potential for attracting external support and/or demonstrably enhancing the University's reputation; and demonstrate linkages to the community.

        2. Centers and Institutes require thoughtful analysis before they are established.    Proposals for their establishment should include a statement of need, mission statement, goals and objectives, proposed name, benefits, a communications plan, relationships, consultations, and a business plan. Please see Section V.A., Establishment, for more detailed instructions.

      2. Management of Centers and Institutes

        1. Role of the Director - The directors of Centers and Institutes are responsible for ensuring that their units contribute to the academic vitality and visibility of the University.   Directors of Centers and Institutes are appointed by the Provost upon the recommendation of the relevant dean and/or appropriate Vice President.  They must be members of the faculty, unless otherwise approved by the Provost and/or appropriate Vice President. The appointment of a director must include a written enumeration of any additional compensation, change in workload, other alterations of the faculty member's responsibilities, and any conditions of employment.  The Director's faculty contract will be modified or redrawn as necessary to reflect new levels of responsibilities and/or compensation.

        2. Faculty/Constituent Affiliations - The leaders of Centers and Institutes are encouraged to develop relationships with the faculty and other stakeholders within and outside of the University. The Director has responsibility for recommending any affiliate positions to his/her supervisor. 

          Center or Institute Affiliates should receive letters of appointment that contain the specified periods of service, position descriptions, compensation terms (if any), and descriptions of alterations in workload. Before agreeing to participate, any member of the faculty who anticipates serving in an affiliate role should seek advice from their chairs and/or deans concerning the impact that his/her involvement will have upon tenure and/or promotion.

        3. Policy and Procedure Compliance - All Center and Institute employees and Affiliates are responsible for understanding and adhering to the University's policies and procedures, including but not limited to financial and human resources policies and procedures, the gift acceptance policy, sponsored research policies and procedures, procurement policy, capital projects planning procedures, and all other relevant policies and procedures.

        4. Establishment of Advisory Boards – It is recommended that Centers or Institutes establish an Advisory Board to provide the unit with support and advice. Its responsibilities may include advising the director about activities that are consistent with the unit's mission, reviewing the unit's accomplishments in light of its goals, providing long-range guidance for the unit's major direction and strategies, and contributing to and/or promoting the financial viability of the Center or Institute.

          The external advisory board may include qualified representatives from academic communities, professional organizations, corporations, governmental agencies, or other suitable entities that are relevant to the Center or Institute.  Members of an external advisory board are appointed by the Director upon the recommendation of the Provost and/or appropriate Vice President.

          If an advisory board is established, the expectations of membership should be clearly articulated. Terms should be for specific durations (no more than three years) and should expire on a rotating basis to ensure continuity.

        5. Evaluation of Centers and Institutes - Existing Centers and Institutes as of June 30, 2017, will be evaluated within two years of that date using the methodology described in Section V.C., Procedures.   At the end of the second year of operation, each New Center or Institute (those that did not exist prior to June 30, 2017) will be evaluated to determine whether it has contributed substantially to the mission of the University.  Thereafter, all Centers, whether New or Existing on July1, 2017, will be evaluated every fifth year of operation.


      1. It is the responsibility of the President to approve the establishment of all Centers and Institutes.
      2. It is the responsibility of the Provost to precipitate the periodic review of all Centers and Institutes.

      3. It is the responsibility of the Provost, Vice Presidents and Deans where appropriate, to sponsor development of the Centers and Institutes, monitor their ongoing activities when appropriate, and participate in periodic evaluations.

      4.  It is the responsibility of Center and Institute directors to:

        1. create strategic plans and goals in the context of the University's academic mission;

        2. ensure that the units' activities are consistent with their missions, goals, and objectives;

        3. interact with University faculty and administrators, as well as with external constituents;

        4. garner faculty, visiting scholar, and community stakeholder participation in the unit and secure affiliate appointments as appropriate via the chair, dean, Provost or other Vice Presidents;

        5. secure financial resources to support the Center or Institute and oversee fiscal matters and submitting financial reports as required;

        6. ensure that resources are used appropriately;

        7. employ and manage staff within the unit;

        8. ensure that terms contained in any grant and donor agreements are met;

        9. precipitate the development of annual and self-study reports; and

        10. ensure that all employees (faculty and staff) perform according to the ethical and moral standards of the University, and comply with all University, federal, state, local and University regulations and policies.

  4. .


    1. Establishment

      1. Program requests must include the following elements:

        1. Statement of Need - How the entity will advance the University's mission and what opportunities that currently do not exist will be possible if the Center or Institute is established.

        2. Mission Statement, Goals, and Objectives - A mission statement should be developed that clearly describes the Center or Institute's purpose, goals and objectives. The statement should link to the University's statement of mission and should provide clear indication of desired outcomes.

        3. Naming the Center or Institute - The proposed name for the Center or Institute and the rationale for the name.  The Provost and or appropriate Vice President will evaluate the proposal and recommend its approval or disapproval.  The Provost and/or appropriate Vice President reserves the right to modify the proposal as appropriate.

        4. Benefits - The benefits garnered for faculty, students, staff and the community.

        5. Communications Plan - How will the new unit be communicated to the University community and to external stakeholders.

        6. Relationships - The relationship of the proposed unit to the faculty and to other educational programs, Centers, Institutes, the community, or other external constituencies.

        7. Consultations. The entities that have been consulted: within and outside the University. Copies of any letters of support must be included with the proposal.

        8. Business Plan - The business plan should contain the following components:

          1. A budget that includes anticipated revenues and expenses for the first five years of operation.
          2. Current external funding, if any, and the duration of that funding.  A proposal must be submitted to and approved by the Provost or appropriate Vice President prior to the initiation or acceptance of external funds.  In some cases, a grant proposal may be used to justify establishment of the Center or Institute.  In such circumstances, the principal investigator must provide sufficient time for the Chair, Dean, Provost and/or appropriate Vice President to evaluate the proposal.
          3. Potential sources of internal funding and amounts.
          4. Analysis of the anticipated true cost of the unit including any in-kind donations (e.g., personnel, operating supplies, travel, equipment, space, etc.).
          5. A long-term methodology and plan to sustain the unit.
          6. Listing of faculty and staff who will be involved in the proposed unit, what their roles will be, and the impact the new unit will have on their current responsibilities (if any). CV's for current faculty and staff should be included.
          7. The unit's proposed administrative structure and organizational chart.
          8. The space, equipment, or other physical requirements. Explain how existing facilities and resources will be used, or what facilities and resources must be added.

    2. Annual Reports

      All Centers and Institutes, whether New or Existing, are required to submit annual reports of their activities by August 1 of each year. These reports must contain the following elements:

      1. contribution to the visibility and stature of the University;

      2. contribution to scholarship in the areas in which the Center is positioned;

      3. involvement of faculty and students, including the names and disciplines of those who participate;

      4. ability to garner the resources necessary to effectively address the goals and objectives articulated in the unit's proposal;

        1. Number, dollar amount, and source of all competitive, extramural funding proposals.

        2. Number, dollar amount, and source of all competitive proposals funded.

      5. financial statement that provides the unit's operating costs;

      6. financial statement that provides the unit's true costs (including all in-kind contributions from the University or other sources);

      7. ability to utilize the Center or Institute's advisory board (if applicable) to enhance and expand the units' activities; and

      8. reports of any obstacles encountered and the actions taken to overcome these obstacles, or the reason they were not solved.

    3. Evaluation of New and Existing Centers and Institutes

      1. Evaluation materials that must be submitted include:

        1. a copy of the document that established the unit;

        2. evidence of the unit's ability to enhance the academic mission of the University;

        3. extent of the unit's contribution to the visibility and stature of the University;

        4. a statement of the progress made in fulfilling the unit's goals and objectives;

        5. an evaluation of the impact the unit has had upon scholarship including publications, patents, creative activities, invited presentations, keynote addresses, service on federal panels, and awards or other special acknowledgements;

        6. an evaluation of the impact the unit has had upon teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels;

        7. an evaluation of the impact the unit has had on linkages with community stakeholders;

        8. an assessment of the external funding that has been garnered during the review period;

        9. an evaluation of the unit's long-term fiscal viability;

        10. an evaluation of the quality of the management of the unit;

        11. a listing of all visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows who have worked or are working with the unit (if applicable);

        12. the efficacy of the unit's advisory board (if applicable);

        13. a financial statement of expenses incurred within the unit for the previous five years;

        14. a financial statement that articulates the unit's true costs (including all in-kind contributions from the University or from other source for the previous five-years other relevant contributions).

      2. The review process will include the following elements:

        1. The Provost, in consultation with the appropriate campus constituents, will appoint a standing committee consisting of six UNG faculty and staff members who will serve on rotating, three-year terms. The Provost may also seek participation from external constituencies.

        2. The Provost or designee will serve as an ex-officio member of the Committee and his/her office will be responsible for administering the reviews.

        3. The Provost or designees will develop a schedule identifying the semester in which each unit will be reviewed.  Each unit will be given at least one semester to prepare for the review.

        4. The Center or Institute will prepare a self-study that addresses the evaluation criteria listed above.

        5. The Center or Institute director will have an opportunity to meet with the Committee and to answer any questions that may arise from the self-study.

      3. After evaluating the self-study document and any external input, the Committee will report its findings to the Provost and/or appropriate Vice President.  The report shall articulate the unit's strengths and weaknesses and shall contain recommendations to 1) continue the Center or Institute for an additional five-year period, 2) conditionally continue the Center or Institute for a prescribed period until improvements (as articulated by the Committee) are met, 3) merge the unit with another unit on campus, or 4) dissolve the unit.  In the latter case, the Committee should make recommendations to the Provost about an orderly transition of any personnel or assets contained within the unit.

        1. A report will be given to the Cabinet and subsequently the President for action.

    4. Any other related operating procedures must comply with and should reference this policy.

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