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  • Policy Number: SP.14.018
  • Version: Revision 2
  • Drafted By: Phil Hampton
  • Approved By: Richard R. Rush
  • Approval Date: 6/12/15
  • Effective Date: 6/12/15
  • Supersedes: SP.09.001


This policy serves to integrate Senate Policies 09-01 and 04-25 and include additional requirements on Campus Centers and Institutes required by Executive Order AA-2014-18. Specifically, this Executive Order requires campus policies to: (1) “outline the requirements of the [Campus Centers and Institutes] proposal, which shall include the financial support, organizational structure and organizational document(s)”, and (2) “establish a process for suspension or dissolution of [Campus Centers and Institutes]. [Campus Centers and Institutes] that are suspended or dissolved are not required to file annual reports or undergo reviews.” This policy supersedes Senate Policies 09-01 and 04-25.


The Committee on Centers and Institutes (CCI) is given the charge by the Academic Senate to develop formal procedures for establishing new centers and institutes, reviewing existing centers and institutes, and developing operational definitions for both types of special units at the University. (The formal charge of the CCI is reproduced in Section A below.) Through this new policy, CCI will also become responsible for overseeing the process of suspension or dissolution of centers or institutes.

Beyond establishing procedures and definitions, the role of the CCI in the review process is advisory. The outcome of review processes within the CCI is a recommendation regarding establishment or continuance to be formally presented to the Academic Senate. In accordance with Senate policy (SP 04-025), Senate decisions regarding centers and institutes are subsequently forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will perform a review and forward a recommendation to the University President. Final action and ultimately authority for those decisions resides with the University President.

The CCI is also charged with the role of supporting existing centers and institutes. All review processes are designed to establish and maintain a close relationship between centers and institutes and the CCI such that areas of necessary and potential support can be identified through the process and initiated by the CCI.

A)  Charges for the Committee on Centers and Institutes (Section 5.14a of the Bylaws of the Academic Senate of California State University Channel Islands)

The responsibilities of the Committee for Centers and Institutes shall include:

  1. Creating the definitions and procedures for the establishment of Centers and Institutes at CI;
  2. Accepting and reviewing proposals for the creation of Centers and Institutes;
  3. Recommending proposals concerning Centers and Institutes to the Academic Senate for action;
  4. Communicating with the Academic Senate on the progress of existing Centers and Institutes.
  5. Supporting all centers and institutes under development;
  6. Assessing and recommending structural relations and responsibilities among centers and institutes;
  7. Serving the Provost, Academic Senate, and Centers and Institutes, in an advisory capacity; and
  8. When functions of the Committee for Centers and Institutes also fall within the areas of concern of other committees, the Committee will work in conjunction with those committees.



Division of Academic Affairs


All faculty


Committees and Institutes: Institutes and other University Centers shall be defined as entities that are created with the intent to provide a necessary service, program, or disciplinary or interdisciplinary focus for the university and/or community, in accordance with the CI mission.

According to Executive Order AA-2014-18, a Campus Center or Institute is “a formally approved interdisciplinary and/or collaborative unit that:

  1. 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, and may draw on expertise of others external to the campus or the Academy; and
  2. may offer services to constituents beyond the campus community, e.g. individuals as well as private and public entities. While CCIs by their nature and location serve the campus community, their focus is not exclusively internal.”

All Centers and Institutes shall support the CSUCI mission.

Centers and institutes are special organizational units within Academic Affairs established to fulfill some specific purpose related to teaching, research, and/or service, existing beyond the formal curricular mandate of any particular academic program. Centers and institutes will generally involve members of the campus community (faculty, students, or staff) from one or more programs, and may also include members of the community beyond the University.

There is no universally consistent distinction made between centers and institutes within the CSU system. Either designation (center or institute) is acceptable for special units at CI that fall within the definition provided above. However, it is generally expected that units emphasizing a research role will be designated as institutes. In general, the designation of a “Center” should be limited to the mission centers of the campus. This general expectation can be circumvented if it generates any unreasonable obstacle to a proposed unit.

Mission-based Centers: Mission-specific Centers shall be defined as entities that have been developed with the specific and primary purpose of enabling the CI faculty to support the mission of the university. A special and unique role is assigned to mission-based centers in promoting one of the four campus mission pillars: experiential and service learning, integrative approaches, multicultural perspectives, and international perspectives. Those four centers are the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), the Center for Integrative Studies (CIS), the Center for Multicultural Engagement (CME), and the Center for International Affairs (CIA). In accordance with campus commitments, the CCI recognizes the unique role of Mission-based Centers at CI, and accordingly a special responsibility for supporting those centers.


I)                   Functions of a Center or Institute

  1. Centers and Institutes shall not confer degrees or offer for-credit academic degree instruction; however, they may oversee a set of courses that are administered by Academic Affairs.
  2. Depending on the function of a Center or Institute, the activities of a Center or Institute will vary and may include (AA-2014-18):
    1. Providing opportunities for professional development of faculty and staff through teaching, research, scholarly and creative activities, and public service.
    2. Fostering and facilitating interdisciplinary efforts among disciplines, departments and across colleges.
    3. Providing a clearinghouse for information of interest to professionals, and conduct workshops and conferences for continuing education.
    4. Enhancing the curriculum by facilitating and supplementing the academic experience of students.
    5. Other functions as stated in the organizational document, and approved following the process described below.
  3. Centers and institutes will serve in some way to fulfill the several primary roles of the University: research, teaching, and service. Given the complementary relationship between those roles, centers and institutes will frequently serve more than one of those roles. Several examples follow which are provided for purpose of illustration only, and are not intended to limit in any way the range of purposes that might be adopted by any existing or proposed center or institute:
    1. A research institute (or center) may be established to facilitate the research of faculty members, students, and/or community members engaging in focused study on a specific topical area. Those topical areas will most often be interdisciplinary in nature, since disciplinary research will most frequently be housed within existing academic units – but they need not necessarily be interdisciplinary.
    2. An instructional center (or institute) may be established when highly focused curricula and training-related matters are addressed to audiences not usually served by or eligible for matriculation in regular academic programs. Such services will be specifically defined to address populations and topics not available through existing university programs.
    3. A community-service center (or institute) may be established when faculty and staff provide service in a designated field to members of the general public. Such services generally apply the expertise of faculty or other members of the University to issues in the community.
  4. Centers and institutes may offer research opportunities to students, provide access to specialized research materials, facilitate contact with experts outside of the campus community, develop interdisciplinary linkages within the University, provide specific university-related services to community partners, etc.
  5. All Centers and Institutes shall support the CI Mission Statement.

II)                Establishment of a New Center or Institute

  1. A proposal for the creation of a new Center or Institute shall be submitted to the Committee on Centers and Institutes and it shall include the following sections in the proposal:
    1. Purpose, Goals, and Relationship to the University: This section shall explain the fundamental purpose(s) of the proposed Center or Institute and its goals. Proposals shall indicate whether the institute is designed to be a permanent (i.e. of open-ended duration), or if it is designed to accomplish goals that are finite (and, if so, how long the institute is expected to operate). This section shall clearly define how the proposed Center or Institute proposes to serve university roles (i.e. research, service, and instruction) and outline any relationships with other campus units with which the functions of proposed Center or Institute will overlap, or the Center or Institute will regularly interact.  Proposals should also specify how the center or institute proposes to assist in fulfilling the campus mission, and the nature of any cooperation with Mission-based Centers, if applicable.
    2. Need: This section shall explain the current need for the proposed center or institute, addressing needs both internal and external to the University.
    3. Nature and Scope of Activities: This section shall describe in detail how the proposed Center or Institute will seek to accomplish its purpose and goals.
    4. Personnel and Key Participants: This section shall identify and describe the roles of all key personnel, including administrator(s), faculty members, students, staff, community members, and advisory board members (if appropriate) that will be connected with the proposed Center or Institute.
    5. Fiscal Resources: This section shall describe in detail the resources needed to establish the proposed Center or Institute, and the sources from which those resources will be secured. This should include the sources, duration, and a 3-year annual projected budget as well as a clear statement of expectations of any financial contributions from the University. All Centers and Institutes are expected to be revenue-generating or revenue-neutral, unless specific provisions are made for their intramural support. All sources of intramural support must be documented and verified in writing; all external sources of support must be verified or projected. For the purposes of review, a financial plan must be presented that is plausible and itemized.
    6. Other Resources: This section shall outline all other necessary University resources, including space, equipment, and technological requirements. This should include a clear statement of expectations of the University's commitment during the duration of the center or institute's operation, and written verification of those sources of support from the relevant campus units.
    7. Organizational Chart: An organizational chart shall be provided which includes all internal components, the relationships between them, and all significant relationships with external campus units. The chart should illustrate the administrative reporting structure and the relationship with academic programs. (If preferred, those relationships can be described in written form, rather than illustrated in a chart.)
    8. Advisory Committee: Each Committee or Institute shall have an Advisory Committee that consists of a minimum of three voting individuals from CI, including CI faculty, as appropriate. Additional external individuals may be included on the Advisory Committee as voting or non-voting members provided that the number of individuals from CI exceeds the number of external individuals. This section shall outline how an Advisory Committee shall be created to provide recommendations on the activities of the Center or Institute. The Advisory Committee shall be tasked with creating by-laws for how the director(s) of the Center or Institute shall be selected. In the absence of any by-laws, the governance of the Center or Institute defaults to any relevant policies of the Academic Senate.
    9. Letters of Support: The proposal should be accompanied by evidence of support on the part of all campus programs or units which may expect to be significantly affected by the unit's activities – e.g., programs or units whose areas of activity overlap with those of the proposed unit, or with which the proposed unit will be expected to work closely in any way. Evidence of support will generally come in the form of a letter of support for the establishment of the Center or Institute.
    10. Assessment Plan:  An assessment plan should be submitted which includes indicators of success and achievement of the proposed Center or Institute’s goals, including specific annual benchmarks for accomplishing those goals throughout the period of authorization (generally five years).
    11. Curricular Offerings (if any): Include an academic rationale for the need of this center or institute to collaborate with Academic Affairs in the offering of courses or programs. Such programs may include (non-unit) classes, internships, and research- and service-related opportunities. The proposal shall provide evidence that academic programs affected by curricular offerings have been consulted and approve of the planned curricular offerings.
    12. Compliance with all Internal and External Rules and Regulations: Institutes are required to comply with all applicable university policies in carrying out the functions of the center or institute, as well as any relevant external regulations (e.g., those applied by regulatory bodies or granting agencies). This section should identify and address any additional special considerations of that manner.
    13. Organizational Documents: This section shall outline any organizational documents that must be created to enable the creation of the Center or Institute, for example any Memo of Understanding that is needed with an external entity or with the campus or CSU system.

III) Review of a Proposal for a Center or Institute

  1. The process of review for establishment of centers and institutes is designed to ensure proposed Centers and Institutes promise and continue to make positive contributions to CI.
  2. The CCI shall review the proposal for creation of a new Center or Institute. A written proposal must be followed by a presentation to the CCI to address any necessary clarifications or questions. The CCI may request that the proposal be revised and resubmitted to integrate any necessary revisions. The purpose of such review is to ensure that when the proposal is submitted to the Academic Senate, foreseeable questions will be addressed and information necessary for making a decision regarding establishment will be readily available in the review materials.
  3. The CCI shall bring approved proposals to the Academic Senate via the Senate Executive Committee as a Senate Policy and to the Provost/ Vice-President for Academic Affairs along with a recommendation from CCI regarding the creation of the Center or Institute.
  4. The approval process for the proposed Center or Institute shall follow the standard approval process for Senate Policies.
  5. If the proposal is approved by the Academic Senate, the center or institute shall initially be recommended for authorization for a period of up to five years, at which point it will undergo a continuation review

IV) Center and Institute Review and Reporting Procedures

  1. The role of the CCI in reviewing centers and institutes shall be advisory. The CCI guides review processes and assesses review materials for the purpose of making recommendations to the Academic Senate, and collecting all necessary documentation to allow the Academic Senate to make appropriate review decisions.
  2. All Centers and Institutes approved by the Academic Senate shall submit an annual report on the activities and financial condition of the center or institute to the CCI. Annual reports are to be submitted to the CCI by September 15 of each year.
  3. Failure of a Center or Institute to submit the required annual report shall be communicated by the CCI to the Advisory Committee of the Center or Institute and any academic program(s) allied with the Center or Institute, the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate, and the Provost/ Vice-President for Academic Affairs. A probationary suspension may also be imposed by the Academic Senate. In this case, the minutes of the Academic Senate should reflect this action and the Senate Executive Committee shall send a letter to the CCI and Director and Advisory Committee of the impacted Center or Institute informing them of the suspension.                                                    
  4. For years falling within the time frame covered by Senate authorization (normally five years), submission of the annual report will be the only responsibility of Centers and Institutes to the CCI (although the CCI might request additional materials for clarification if necessary). In exceptional circumstances – for example, if the CCI finds that the center or institute is no longer operating within its purview (e.g., it is no longer effectively serving its mission, is no longer fiscally viable, is in violation of internal or external regulations) – the CCI may recommend initiation of an early continuation review as outlined below.
  5. The annual report shall include the following components:
    1. Organization and Structure: The current organization and structure of the Center or Institute should be reported, including any changes that may have occurred since the last annual report.
    2. Report on Activities and Accomplishments: All activities and accomplishments should be itemized and described in a manner that is accessible to the general public. Where relevant, such activities and accomplishments should reflect local, regional, statewide, national and/or international impact of the center or institute.
    3. Report on Change in Purpose or Activities: Any changes in activities, organizational structure, purpose, etc., of the center or institute since the last official reporting.
    4. Report on Fiscal Activities and Status: A detailed itemization of fiscal activities should include all sources of expenditures and income. A general description of the fiscal status of the center or institute should also be included. If the center or institute is relying upon University contribution of resources (or requesting such resources), that should be clearly detailed. Detailed itemization of operating costs, which may include technical, clerical, student assistance, and other maintenance costs are also expected.
    5. Self-Assessment: A general assessment shall be provided of how well the activities of the Center or Institute are accomplishing its stated goals and purposes. Assessment should be directly related to the assessment plan delineated in the center or institute's initial proposal. If there have been any changes to the mission or objectives of the Center or Institute, these must be stated clearly.

V)    Continuance

  1. Centers and institutes must undergo a five year continuance review that is more substantial than the annual reporting process to ensure that they continue to serve the original purpose or purposes for which they were established, and continue to make positive contributions to the campus community. Such periodic continuance reviews establish procedures for ensuring the continuing viability and vitality of centers and institutes, and ensure that centers and institutes which are no longer active are not advertised in formal University materials or otherwise represented as existing centers or institutes at the University.
  2. Procedures associated with the five year continuation review commence at the beginning of the final academic year of the authorized period of operation. At that time, Centers or Institutes seeking continuation shall submit a Request for Continuance to the CCI by September 15, in lieu of the annual report.
  3. The Request for Continuance will contain the following components:
    1. Annual Report, and all prior Annual Reports since the previous authorization.
    2. Detailed description of the continuing need for the center or institute.
    3. Progress made toward goals (providing evidence of such progress, using criteria and measures provided in the original proposal).
    4. Support of CSUCI mission (demonstrating the center or institute's contribution to University roles and campus mission, and describing all cooperative activities with other academic units).
    5. Financial status (providing evidence of ongoing financial viability, and projecting sources of financial support throughout the term of continuation requested).
  4. Upon review of the Request for Continuance and all accompanying materials, the CCI shall forward a recommendation to the Academic Senate (via the Senate Executive Committee) that either supports or opposes continuance for a period of up to five years. As with all review of centers and institutes, the role of the CCI is entirely advisory.
  5. The CCI will communicate with the Academic Senate on the progress of existing Centers and Institutes

VI) Probation and Voluntary Temporary Suspension

  1. Centers and institutes are not assumed to exist in perpetuity; consequently, it is crucial that procedures are in place for the discontinuance of such centers or institutes that are no longer active or otherwise no longer fulfilling the purposes for which they were established.
  2. If on review of the Request for Continuance the CCI has significant concerns about the operation of a Center or Institute, it shall recommend to the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate that the Center or Institute be placed on Probation.  A Center or Institute shall then be notified of the probationary status of the Center or Institute.  The Center or Institute shall have until the end of the academic year after the Request for Continuance to address the concerns expressed by the CCI. Failure to address the concerns of the CCI in this time period initiated a Discontinuance of the Center or Institute.
  3. If a Center or Institute will have an absence of the director, a temporary replacement may be named for a period of six months and communicated to the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate and the Committee on Centers and Institutes.
  4. A Center or Institute may elect to undergo a voluntary temporary suspension in the case that the leadership will be unavailable for a period of time (e.g., the director will be on sabbatical). Center and institute leaders shall submit a letter stating this to the Academic Senate via the CCI.

VII)          Discontinuance

  1. A center or institute can also be permanently discontinued if its continued existence is no longer needed or possible. For example, the center or institute may have a discrete mission that is fully realized. It may also be that a center or institute relies on external resources. In the event that these resources become unavailable, the center or institute may be discontinued. If a center or institute is dependent on the commitment and/or expertise of one or several individuals who opt to no longer be involved with the Center or Institute, the Center or Institute can seek discontinuance. In such instances, it is expected that discontinuance will most often be decided upon by center and institute leaders and participants themselves, in which case they should submit a formal Notice of Discontinuance to the Academic Senate via the CCI. (Such a formal Notice of Discontinuance can consist of a simple letter informing of discontinuance, including an explanation of reasons along with evidence of formal decision-making processes.
  2. In exceptional cases, the CCI may recommend discontinuance to the Academic Senate following a Continuance Review in which evidence of continued vitality is not demonstrated. In such instances, the CCI shall submit a recommendation for discontinuance to the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate and the Vice-President for Academic Affairs/ Provost. Discontinuance of the Center or Institute shall be submitted to the Academic Senate as a Senate Policy.



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