Policy Guidelines:  Establishing, Renaming, Reorganizing, or Discontinuing Centers, Institutes, and Center-like Units

These guidelines were adopted by the University Academic Planning Council, January 20, 2011. 
Announcement of new guidelines, February 2011

Printable pdf version of the Center Guidelines
Template for Proposals for New Centers
List of Approved Centers and Institutes (MS-Excel format; Updated October 2016)

Sections of the Guidelines 

  1. Introduction
  2. Defining Centers, Institutes and Center-like Units
  3. Establishing New Centers
  4. Evaluating Centers
  5. Changes to Existing Centers

I. Introduction (Excepted from the Guidelines)

The University encourages faculty to group together both across and within departments to promote shared teaching and research interests. Departments are the standard unit for organizing teaching, research and outreach in the University, as described in Faculty Policies and Procedures and other faculty legislation.  Centers play a valuable function in organizing activities for groups of people who wish to work together in teaching and/or research and/or outreach on specialized topics. Some centers may be of enduring interest and could even be the basis of a new department in the future; others may exist for a more limited period. 

The approval process helps to ensure that all scholars who may be usefully involved in the work of a center are aware of its existence, may participate as appropriate, and may avoid redundancy of effort among centers.  Since centers call upon a variety of university resources (space, faculty and staff time and effort, use of the university logo), it is important both to the center and the institution to understand how these resources are used, so they can be used wisely.  

It is an institutional expectation that all active centers will be officially approved.  To be formally recognized at UW-Madison, centers must be: (i) approved by the academic planning council of the sponsoring school(s)/college(s), (ii) approved by the University Academic Planning Council, and (iii) reported to UW System Administration and the Board of Regents.  

Refer to the full guidelines (link above) for details. 

Updated August 2014