CENTERS/INSTITUTES

No: S-10.5

Date: March 4, 1998


Authority: UWM Administration


A major university such as UWM commonly has a number of organizational units outside the traditional curricular structure. These units usually are designated as centers, laboratories or institutes, although other designations are used to allow faculty and staff to address specific topics or issues. UWM also has a wide variety of organizations and units of a nonacademic nature that also are commonly designated as centers.

The units generally are involved in the following areas of effort:

1.    Research and production and dissemination of scholarly information.
2.    Sponsorship of seminars or study groups that are not part of the general curriculum.
3.    Sponsorship of programs that offer students the opportunity to develop skills in an applied setting.
4.    Developing grants and contracts.
5.    Organization of services to campus or community groups.

Institutional approval of the organizational units varies with their functions, but final UWM approval of all centers, etc., lies with the chancellor.

The general campus model of academic approval (department, school or college, and provost) is to be followed for any center, institute or laboratory created in a department or school or college. This applies to both academic and non-academic centers in schools or colleges.

Approval of the appropriate assistant chancellor is required for non-academic centers, institutes or laboratories created within divisions such as Administrative Affairs or Student Affairs.

UW System approval is required for organizational units identified as Centers of Excellence or when UW System funding is sought. In addition, academic centers needing UW System approval must be approved by the Faculty Senate.

The proposal for a center, etc. must contain:

a.    Proposed name.
b.    Brief description, purpose and justification.
c.    Organizational structure, including the method of appointment and term of office for the director.
d.    List of resources to be committed to the center, including their source.
e.    List of individuals to be associated with the center.
f.    The long-term future and long-range plan for the center.

Once a center is approved, any significant changes in the above items must obtain the appropriate approval of the department, school or college, or provost.

Reference by name to centers, institutes, or laboratories in official documents, brochures, web pages, campus telephone book, business cards, etc., or use of the title "director" requires the above approval.

Current Terminology

The following terms are used at UWM to designate special programs or organizational units with a specialized academic purpose. Please note that in some instances the terms have been assigned to units that do not have an academic purpose but have used the terms as part of common usage.

  1. ACADEMIC CENTER: Generally a programmatic effort associated with a school or college to facilitate the study and dissemmination of information in a scholarly area. Frequently, the center is viewed as multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary in nature, bringing together various faculty with an interest in an area of study. Some examples of this are the Center for Twentieth Century Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies.

  2. SERVICE CENTER: A second use of the term center is to describe units or offices that deliver a service, primarily to students, or offer programs that do not lead to a degree. Some examples of this are the Career Development Center (Division of Student Affairs) and the Tutoring and Academic Resource Center (Academic Affairs). For these service units the word center is often at the end of the title, not at the beginning as is the case with academic centers.

  3. INSTITUTE: This term is generally associated with an organizational unit that provides both an academic and an educational service outside the traditional degree structure. An example is the Institute of World Affairs.

  4. LABORATORY: This term is associated with an organizational structure that has research as its primary mission. The program may offer occasional seminars but these are secondary to its primary purpose. The Laboratory for Surface Studies is an example of this structure.

  5. CENTER OF EXCELLENCE: This is a special designation created by the UW Board of Regents to identify outstanding scholarly programs throughout the UW System. This designation may be used for special units such as centers or institutes as well as for entire academic degree programs. UWM has eight Centers of Excellence.