This policy provides a framework for the definition, establishment, periodic review, and sunsetting of academic centers and institutes, as defined below.
This policy is needed to ensure academic centers and institutes are aligned with Syracuse University’s mission, vision and policies and the standards set forth by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for effective assessment of accredited universities.
The complex nature of scholarly activities undertaken at Syracuse University can benefit from the creation and support of centers and institutes. Centers and institutes foster collaboration among faculty, departments, and schools/colleges and advance the university’s community engagement and regional, national, and international academic collaborations. They facilitate relations with grant-making agencies and foundations, and advance the scholarly mission of a school, college, or the University at large. Centers and institutes also amplify the visibility and reputation of the University’s research, scholarship, and creative activities in the public realm.
This policy provides a framework for the definition, establishment, periodic review, and sunsetting of centers and institutes to ensure that they are aligned with Syracuse University’s mission and vision and the standards set forth by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for effective assessment of accredited universities. It is intended to supplement the University’s policy on the Management of Related Entities, Internal Organizations and Licensed Operations (“Related Entities Policy”), which manages risks of internal and external related entities, including academic centers and institutes.
A center or an institute at Syracuse University is an organization within a department, a school or college, or the University at large that: (i) has an identifiable intellectual focus that defines its essential program and research, creative, or training activities; (ii) advances research, scholarship or creative activities in emerging fields in areas not covered by discipline-based departments or in any area that can benefit from focused effort; and (iii) may provide educational programs, training, and services to constituents at the University and in the community in furtherance of the University’s mission, goals and policies.
The following definitions shall serve as guidelines for the creation of new centers and institutes:
Centers are internal organizations with activities focused on one or more disciplines or fields of study and involving faculty, staff, and/or students in a single school/college or in the University’s library.
Institutes are internal organizations with more resources invested in their activities than centers. The activities of an institute should be extensive in scale and involve multidisciplinary, long-term collaborations, and partnership across two or more schools/colleges or with external partners.
Existing centers and institutes (as of the effective date of this policy) that do not conform to these definitions will retain their names to sustain visibility, brand recognition, and reputation.
For the purposes of creation, reporting, and assessment, centers and institutes at Syracuse University are classified by their intellectual focus as: (i) primarily research, (ii) primarily teaching, or (iii) primarily community engagement.
C. Creation of Centers and Institutes
The case for establishing a center or institute can be made by faculty members, departments, deans, the vice president for research, associate provosts, the provost, or the chancellor. Proposals should emphasize the purpose(s) of the center or institute and its mission.
Center proposals should be presented to the dean of the home school or college and must be approved by this dean with the concurrence of the provost or their designate. Each center must have a director who reports to the dean of the home school or college and must declare the center’s primary intellectual focus as defined in Sec. III.A.
Institute proposals should be presented to the vice president for research (for research institutes), the associate provost for academic affairs (for teaching institutes), or the associate provost for strategic initiatives (for engagement institutes) and must be approved by such individual with the concurrence of the deans of the schools/colleges with which such institute is associated (as applicable) as well as the provost or their designate. Each institute must have a director who reports to either the vice president for research, the associate provost for academic affairs, or the associate provost for strategic initiatives based on the intellectual focus of the institute.
The provost shall be ultimately responsible for the oversight of centers and institutes.
Centers or institutes may not be formed as separate legal entities, including, without limitation, limited liability companies, charitable 501(c)(3) organizations, or other corporations.
D. Assessment of Centers and Institutes
Deans are responsible for providing the vice president for research a list of the centers under their purview at the start of each fiscal year and the vice president for research and the associate provosts will compile a list of all institutes under their purview at the start of each fiscal year. Each center and institute will provide a report summarizing its activities during the prior fiscal year. The vice president for research will share the list and reports with the deans of the schools/colleges with which such institute is associated (as applicable), and with the University’s chief compliance officer (CCO). The vice president for research will work with the CCO to update a public list of centers and institutes at Syracuse University within two months of the beginning of each fiscal year.
The list of centers and institutes will be divided into three groups according to intellectual focus as defined in Sec. II, which will allow for appropriate reporting and assessment of each entity and for the tracking of new, current, and closed centers and institutes over time. Closed centers will be removed from the public list. It is expected that this list will have considerable stability over time as centers and institutes are expected to be enduring entities.
All centers and institutes will be assessed every five years on a rolling basis to determine whether they should continue or be sunset. Assessments should summarize, among other things, activities, funding, number of faculty engaged, alignment with the University’s mission, as well as risks and potential liabilities. Assessment of centers will be conducted by the appropriate dean with the results reported to the vice president for research. Assessment of institutes will be conducted by vice president for research (for research institutes), the associate provost for academic affairs (for teaching institutes), or the associate provost for strategic initiatives (for engagement institutes), in consultation with the deans of the schools/colleges with which such institute is associated.
In the case where assessment indicates that a center or institute, (i) is defunct; (ii) lacks an identifiable focus; (iii) is insufficiently funded; (iv) engages only one faculty member; (v) is no longer serving its intended purpose or aligned with the University’s mission; or (vi) otherwise poses unacceptable legal or safety risks to the University, a written recommendation for sunsetting the center or institute may be made by the dean (for centers) or cognizant administrator (for institutes). If the provost concurs with the recommendation to sunset the entity, the center or institute will be removed from the list of active centers and institutes and must cease operating as a distinct, named organization. Results of the five-year assessments will be shared with the Chief Compliance Officer.
☐ Students ☒ Faculty ☒ Staff ☐ Visitors/General Public ☐ Other___________________
Sec III.C. and D. of the policy describe the procedures for creation and assessment of centers and institutes.
Sec III.A. lists the relevant definitions in the policy.
D. Other Related Policies and Documents
This policy is a supplements the policy on Management of Related Entities, Internal Organizations, and Licensed Operations to define the oversight of academic centers and institutes.
E. Frequently Asked Questions
December 19, 2022