Academic & Student Affairs Handbook

Academics Affairs Division

2.14 Research Centers and Institutes

(Last Modified April 6, 2011)   Report a broken link


Research Centers
A research “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. A center may be involved in offering 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 community and the professional community in the area(s) of focus. A center, however, 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.

An “institute” shares a 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. An institute, however, is 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. Unlike a center, an institute may offer credit courses and degree programs.

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