Defining Centers and Institutes

Georgia Board of Regents

Internal Center Characteristics
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.

Institute Characteristics
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.

https://www.usg.edu/academic_programs/centers

Georgia Southern University Faculty Handbook Section 106

Centers 
A center or bureau (referred to as “center” in this document) provides an
organizational base for research, study, or continuing education in an academic area or closely related
areas. It often provides a vehicle for interdisciplinary research involving faculty and students as well as
collaboration among internal administrative units. A center may facilitate efforts of the University to
obtain extramural funding or enhance revenue while providing public services, training, or conducting
research of benefit to communities. It serves as a formalized link between the academic community and
the professional community in a specified area of focus. A center is not an autonomous structure within
the internal statutory organization of the University. It is administratively most often a unit of traditional
administrative structures, such as departments, divisions, schools, or colleges. A center is not typically
involved in the independent offering of credit courses or degree programs.
Institutes 
An institute focuses on research, opportunities for interdisciplinary activity,
involvement in continuing education activities, efforts to obtain extramural funding, and serves as a link
between the academic and professional communities. It is a more formalized structure than a center and
may be equivalent to an autonomous unit within the University’s internal structure such as a department,
division, school, or college. Institutes may be involved in the offering of credit courses and degree
programs.
Approval of Centers and Institutes 
Requests to establish, alter, or deactivate centers shall be made to the Provost by the dean of the
college in which the center is located or proposed to be located.
For institutes located within or closely linked to colleges, the same procedure shall be followed. In the
case of institutes that are not located within a college or similar administrative structure, the request shall
be made to the Provost by the director of the institute or other closely-related party. Proposals approved
by the Provost shall be submitted to the President of the University for final approval.
Requests to establish centers and institutes shall include a rationale for the establishment of the
center/institute, an explanation of the relationship of the proposed center/institute to the University’s
mission and strategic plan, a statement of the long-term goals and short-term objectives of the
center/institute, an outline of the proposed budget with short- and long-term revenue sources and
projections, a statement of the relationship of the center/institute to existing faculty resources, a
description of how the center/institute fits into the University’s strategic plan and the existing
organizational structure of the University, along with a copy of the proposed organizational chart, and a
description of the process by which the proposal for the center/institute was developed and the names of
the key contributors to the proposal.
Requests to make a substantive change (purpose, structure, reporting relationship, activities) to
an existing center or institute shall include a rationale for the change, an explanation of how the proposed
change will improve the effectiveness of the entity, a description of how the change advances the
University’s strategic plan, and the budgetary implications of the change.
Requests to deactivate centers/institutes shall include a rationale for the deactivation of the unit,
a detailed statement of the financial condition of the center/institute, a prospectus for fulfilling any
contractual obligations of the center/institute, and a plan for phasing out the activities of the
center/institute, including any recommendations for continuing activities of the deactivated
center/institute through other organizational units of the University.
An annual report of approved centers and institutes shall be submitted to the Board of Regents
by the Office of the Provost. In addition, the dean or director shall initiate a review of centers and
institutes every five years, or upon the recommendation of the Provost, focusing on effectiveness in
achieving stated outcomes and relevance to the institution’s strategic plan. Such reviews shall result in
recommendations to the Provost of “enhance,” “maintain,” “reduce,” or “eliminate.”

Last updated: 3/22/2018

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