This policy applies to all research Centers and Institutes at East Stroudsburg University (ESU). This policy does not distinguish between "Centers" and "Institutes," recognizing that different disciplines often use the terms interchangeably.
Research Centers and Institutes at ESU provide an important mechanism to facilitate the highest quality of inter- and multi-disciplinary research around themes that involve researchers from multiple units across disciplines, departments, and colleges. The decision to create or continue a center or institute at the University solely lies within the authority of the University. Typically, Centers and Institutes are based on a group of faculty members’ research interests in addressing specific issues or problems of current interest not covered in their disciplines. In some cases, this may also apply to staff or managers who are also interested in supporting faculty or academic research as is with the position of library dean or workforce development director. Such research projects will not occur during the course of normal working hours for the ESU researchers/principal investigators involved, unless through externally funded or grant funded released time mechanism.
As official units of ESU, all Research Centers and Institutes must develop and utilize transparent processes of governance and review. Criteria for establishing, governing, and reviewing Centers and Institutes should reflect the high standards of academic excellence, and best governance and business practices governing all ESU entities. In addition, the establishment of Centers and Institutes shall adhere to all laws, regulations, and polices applicable to the University.
Specifically, all Research Centers and Institutes should include:
- A plan for research or creative activity and a mission statement aligned with college or university mission statements;
- A financial plan addressing issues of immediate and long-term sustainability, which shall be updated annually as part of the annual reporting process;
- An organizational structure;
- Plans to provide an annual report and periodic reviews and assessments of the contributions of the Center to the College and the University.
All Research Centers and Institutes will be evaluated and held accountable using the benchmarks specified in their academic disciplines and their financial sustainability plans.
If a Research Center or Institute is determined to be meeting its objective of producing outstanding scholarly and creative work, the University will assist its faculty/staff scholars as appropriate in determining how to best obtain the resources necessary to sustain its operation. No single funding model will best suit all Centers and Institutes, but the University and its component parts will assist to the best of their respective capabilities in crafting a financial plan that will sustain research Centers and Institutes as loci for important scholarly work. Faculty and staff associated with Centers and Institutes should commit to producing outstanding research or creative work, and to making every effort to secure external funding, commensurate with expectations and availability of funding in their fields.
Guidelines for Establishing Research Centers and Institutes:
University Research Centers and Institutes
The establishment, administration, and governance of Research Centers and Institutes that include faculty members are the responsibility of the Provost. Applications for the establishment of University Research Centers and Institutes should demonstrate the necessity of forming such a Center, and in particular, clarify that no existing University Center is already an appropriate locus for the work proposed. Applications for University-based Research Centers and Institutes will be reviewed by department chair, dean, provost/or appropriate vice president, vice president for finance, and president to ensure that the proposed Center has the necessary academic, financial, and organizational plans in place, before final approval by the Provost and the President. In rare cases, staff under different divisions may seek to apply for a center or institute, in which case the appropriate vice president and President will review and approve applications.
University Research Centers and Institutes report to the Provost, or in the case of non-faculty supported centers, to the appropriate vice president; each university Center or Institute is required to produce an Annual Report of their activities and achievements to be reviewed by the Provost (or the appropriate vice president) or his/her delegate.
University Centers and Institutes report to the Provost or appropriate Vice President; each University Center or Institute is required to produce an Annual Report of their activities and achievements to be reviewed by the Provost or his/her delegate.
Naming a Research Center or Institute
Ideally, the name of a Research Center or Institute should indicate its primary function. A university Research Center or Institute should include the name of the University: "Center for Environmental Impact Research, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania or "East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Impact Research.” The Council of Trustees must approve all official names of Centers and Institutes.
In special circumstances, Research Centers and Institutes may be established, reviewed, or closed through ad hoc processes. Exceptions to the processes outlined above may be granted only by the President of ESU or the Provost (or, upon delegation of authority by the President, or the appropriate vice president in the event the center is being created by non-faculty members of the university); requests must include an explanation of the reason why an exception is required.
Application of Policy to Existent Research Centers and Institutes
The necessity for regular review of Research Centers and Institutes applies to those units founded before the adoption of this policy. Such Centers and Institute, in all cases, should work closely with the Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research, who serves as Assistant to the Provost for Research, to develop a plan for review within one year of the date this policy is adopted, following the recommendations herein.
Reason for Policy:
The purpose to this policy is to bring a framework, structure and process to implementing research Centers and Institutes at ESU; it will provide clear guidelines to those wishing to establish a new Center or Institute.
Consistent guidelines and procedures for establishing, reviewing, or closing research Centers and Institutes will help ensure that all such units maintain the highest academic standards and best business practices, contributing most effectively to the intellectual vibrancy of the university.
This policy will bring a more robust Center and Institute culture to ESU and enhance the University’s reputation with outside community members who are interested in using ESU’s professional services. A framework and established processes for Centers and Institutes will also improve ESU’s financial condition by increasing revenue.
The benefits of Centers and Institutes at ESU include:
- Increasing intellectual excitement within ESU’s campus community.
- Amplifying engagement of students to work closely with faculty on projects of educational value.
- Acquiring additional external funding for the University in the form of fees, contracts, and grants.
- Stimulating faculty to become more involved in their professions, in research, and in writing proposals for extramural funding.
- Enhancing services to both internal and external constituencies, most particularly the residents of Monroe County, as well as those in the Commonwealth and throughout the nation.
- Facilitating multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to important topics and concerns.
- Enhancing the University’s reputation for innovation and research.
The decision to create or continue a center or institute at the University solely lies within the authority of the University.