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PS-03.A.38 - Procedures for the Operation and Approval of Centers and Institutes

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EFFECTIVE DATE: June 22, 2015

ISSUE #: 1

PRESIDENT:  William Flores


The purpose of this document is to set forth procedures for the development and operation of a center or institute by faculty within an academic program, department or college and to ensure activities are in compliance with SAM 06.A.07


A center or institute refers to an alternative university unit that engages in creative activities, research, education, and/or community engagement. A center or institute may be identified primarily with one discipline or be multidisciplinary, wherein it supports academic programs, creative activities, and/or research involving more than one university component.


3.1 A center or institute may be supported by an appropriated fund, may be self-supported and/or may be supported through on external funding via agencies and foundations.

3.2 Approval of a center or institute is delegated by the Chancellor to the President. The President delegates approval authority to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost (hereafter, referred to as the Provost). The agreement must be in writing and must provide that the President (or his/her designee) approves the creation, existence and purposes of the center.

3.3 The center or institute activities must support the mission of the University of Houston Downtown (UHD). It is also subject to all policies and procedures conforming to state statutes and regulations, board policies, system administrative memoranda, and UHD policies. It must submit to reporting and auditing requirements as established by the University of Houston System (UHS) Administration and UHD.


4.1 Types of Centers 

4.1.1 University center: A university center is concerned with subject matter and/or services of sufficient breadth to involve disciplines and/or services from two or more colleges, or a college(s) working in conjunction with a nonacademic area of the university. The Provost or President may assign administration of a university center to an individual college or administrative unit head as determined. 

4.1.2. College center: A college center is concerned with subject matter and/or services confined primarily to disciplines or services organized within a single college. 

4.1.3. Department center: A departmental center is concerned with subject matter and/or services confined primarily to a discipline(s) and/or service(s) represented by an academic department or other non-academic unit of the university. 

4.1.4 The title “Institute” may be used in place of “Center,” as appropriate and proposed in the originating documents. 

4.2 To establish a new center or institute, a group of faculty members must develop a set of bylaws that includes the following

4.2.1 Name of Center or Institute 

4.2.2 A statement of mission, objectives, and outcomes 

4.2.3 A plan for the annual assessment of the center’s or institute’s objectives and outcomes provided to the director, provost, president, and advisory board. The plan must provide decision-making procedures to act on the findings of the assessment reports. 

4.2.4 A list of faculty and other primary participants 

4.2.5 Description of funding source for both immediate and long-term sustainability 

4.2.6 Statements on who the center will report to, both financially and administratively 

4.2.7 Any requirements for space or other university assistance 

4.2.8 Directorship: job description, how chosen, length of term, filling vacancy 

4.2.9 Advisory Board: description of responsibilities, how chosen, length of term, filling vacancy, how it is lead, and relationship to Director 

4.2.10 Decision-making procedures (fiscal, programmatic, mission) 

4.2.11 Content and distribution of annual reports (as consistent with this policy and other university and system policies) 

4.2.12 Use of equipment and space 

4.2.13 Description/Assignment of copyright, patent, royalty, and other intellectual rights 

4.2.14 Processes and approvals for commissions and consulting 

4.2.15 Processes for dissolution of center or institute (internal to center members) 

4.2.16 Other bylaws and operating procedures 

4.3 The proposal for the creation of a center or institute must be approved by the appropriate department chair(s) and dean(s) of the program, department(s) and college(s) involved, and by the Provost. For centers involving multiple units, the Provost will identify which units and unit heads need to approve the formation of the center or institute. 

4.4 Administrative Responsibility. Each center must have bylaws with content identified in section 3.1 and consistent with requirements in this section. 

4.5 A director or co-directors shall be selected to be the administrative head of the center or institute as described by the bylaws of the center or institute. Once a center or institute is approved, the President/Provost may appoint an interim director until such time as the bylaw processes for selecting a director can be implemented. 

4.6 The director must ensure that information on work performed by members of the center or institute is available, whenever necessary, to the appropriate administrators, department heads, and deans for deciding on increments, salary adjustments, promotions, and tenure. 

4.7 All centers and institutes must conform to federal and state guidelines, the university’s policies and procedures, financial accounting requirements, and human resource practices. 

4.8 Responsibility for the business administration of any center or institute will be housed in a single college, to be identified in the bylaws for the creation of the center or institute. If more than one college is represented by the faculty participating in a center, the deans of the participating colleges will agree to the responsible college and notify the Provost of that agreement. The college business administrator (CBA) of the college will ensure that the center or institute organization’s business administration complies with the requirements as with other agency funds as documented in PS 05.A.16

4.9 Annual Reports 

4.9.1 The director is responsible for preparing the Annual Report of activities and the financial statements which must be submitted by March 1 covering activity for the previous fiscal year. Annual Reports must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate department chair(s), dean(s), and the Provost. Annual Reports must also be shared with the advisory board. 

4.9.2 The Annual Report must include the following components: an executive summary of the center's programs and activities sufficient to make clear the nature of the various projects and activities; the extent of involvement of faculty, staff, administrators, and others (i.e., students and external community members) in its operation. a detailed financial statement of income and expenditures must be provided , and a two-year plan to project and address sustainability or growth of the center/institute. 

4.11 Advisory Board 

4.11.1 The advisory board is expected to provide advice and feedback to the director and center on activities of the center and future plans as described in the bylaws establishing the center/institute. 

4.11.2 The composition of the advisory board will be established in the bylaws and should include at least one member of the community outside of UHD, unless the Provost determines that this is not necessary. 

4.11.3 The advisory board must meet at least once annually with the director to review the center/institute activities and the Annual Report. 

4.12 Property Developed and Used

Internal guidelines or agreements on the property developed or used by the center or institute must be developed in consultation with university administration. These agreements must conform to existing university policies and procedures and address the following elements: 

4.12.1 Use of equipment and space; 

4.12.2 Copyrights, patents, royalties, and other intellectual rights; and 

4.12.3 Commissions, consulting, and service agreements based on work developed under the auspices of the center or institute. 

4.13 Review and Closure. Each center and institute will be reviewed every four years by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost regarding its contribution to the university. After each such review, the Provost will determine whether or not a center or institute will remain on the list of recognized centers and institutes in conjunction with the criteria established in Section 4.2. 

4.14 Criteria and authority for the dissolution of centers and institutes

4.14.1 Dissolution of a center or institute may be initiated by any participants in the center according to processes defined in the bylaws. Also, dissolution of centers or institutes may be initiated by the President or Provost. All participating faculty and administrators must be afforded reasonable opportunity to participate in a process of investigation and documentation and review evidence upon which the proposed dissolution is based

4.14.2 A center or institute may be terminated due to significant lack of productivity in meeting the mission and objectives of the center or institute, relevance to university mission or redundancy, or irreparable failure in leadership and administrative activities, and/or expected financial growth or sustainability.

4.14.3 A center or institute may be terminated due to evidence of financial misconduct, academic/scientific misconduct, and/or related ethical misconduct or financial mismanagement that severely compromises sustainability or credibility of the center or institute.

4.14.4 A center or institute may be terminated due to space utilization that is not commensurate with the level of activity if attempts at relocation have not been successful.

4.14.5 In the event of dissolution, reallocation of any remaining assets of the center or institute will be determined by the Provost in consultation with participants in the center. 


There are no exhibits associated with this policy.


Responsible Party (Reviewer): Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost

Review: Every five years, or as necessary.

Signed original on file in Human Resources.


Issue #1: 06/22/2015


SAM 06.A.07

PS 05.A.16

Bylaws Form

Annual Report Form