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Centres and Institutes Procedures

Parent Policy

Centres and Institutes Policy

This procedure describes approval, operating and governance arrangements for all Monash centres and institutes.

For campus-based centres and institutes the arrangements described here are considered provisional pending the outcomes of a review of academic governance for campuses during 2010, after which relevant sections will be updated accordingly.

Definition of terms

FCC:: Faculty Centres Committee
Host faculty:: The designated 'home' faculty for a cross-faculty centre
SDVC(R):: Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
DVC(GE): Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement)
DVC(E):: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)
MRC:: Monash Research Committee
EC:: Education Committee
IC:: International Committee
CCC:: Campus Centres Committee

1. Faculty centres and institutes

It is the responsibility of faculties to provide oversight of centres that are established at departmental, school or faculty level and of institutes, on the rare occasions when these are established in faculties.

Each faculty is responsible for appointing a Faculty Centres Committee (FCC) to provide this oversight. This may be the faculty's Research or Education Committee, depending on the focus of the relevant centre/institute, or a specially appointed committee or sub-committee.

The FCC, chaired by the host faculty Dean or nominee, will perform the following functions in relation to centres or institutes within the faculty:

  • review and, if appropriate, endorse applications to establish and disestablish centres/institutes within the faculty for subsequent submission to Faculty Board and MRC/EC/IC;
  • monitor the performance of centres/institutes within the faculty;
  • oversee initial and five-yearly reviews;
  • report annually to MRC/EC (and IC where relevant) on centre/institute performance;
  • oversee the establishment and operation of other faculty groups, networks and initiatives as appropriate.

Responsibility

Deans
FCCs

2. Campus centres and institutes

Centres and institutes may be established on those campuses of the University that operate independent budgets (currently Gippsland, Malaysia and South Africa campuses), in addition to nodes of existing university entities (see 4.4 below).

A Campus Centres Committee (CCC) must be appointed to provide local monitoring of campus centres and institutes. The CCC will act as a sub-committee of the relevant faculty centre committees for this area of academic governance. The CCC may be the Campus Research Committee, local Board of Studies or a specially appointed committee or sub-committee.

The CCC is responsible for performing the following functions for campus centres or institutes at a local level:

  • review and, if appropriate, endorse applications supported by the PVC (Campus) to establish and disestablish centres/institutes on the campus for subsequent endorsement by relevant Faculty Centres Committees, Faculty Boards and MRC/EC/IC;
  • monitor the performance of centres/institutes on the campus;
  • ensure that initial and five-yearly reviews are conducted;
  • report annually to Faculty Centre Committees on centre/institute performance;
  • oversee the establishment and operation of other campus groups, networks and initiatives as appropriate.

Responsibility

CCCs

3. University centres and institutes

It is the responsibility of the relevant DVC to perform the following functions for all university-level centres and institutes:

  • review and endorse applications to establish and disestablish centres/institutes before submission to MRC/EC (and IC where relevant);
  • provide general oversight of the operation and performance of university centres/institutes;
  • oversee initial and five-yearly reviews;
  • ensure that reports are made annually to MRC/EC (and IC where appropriate) on centre/institute performance;
  • oversee the establishment and operation of other university-wide networks and initiatives as appropriate.

Responsibility

DVC(E), DVC(R) and DVC(GE)

4. Establishment of centres and institutes

4.1. Internal centres and institutes

4.1.1. Applications and business plans

Proposers must complete an Centres and Institutes Application and Business Plan that addresses the criteria in the Monash Centres and Institutes Policy.

Applications must be supported as follows:

  • entities based in departments/schools or at faculty level must be supported by the relevant head(s) of academic unit.
  • entities based on campuses must be supported by the PVC (Campus);
  • university-level entities must be reviewed and authorised by the relevant DVC(s) before proceeding to 4.1.4 below.

4.1.2. Faculty review of applications

Supported faculty and campus applications must be submitted to the FCC (via the CCC in the case of campus centres) for review and endorsement. Applications will be considered in relation to the criteria in the Centres and Institutes Policy.

Applications endorsed by FCCs must be submitted to Faculty Board and appropriate university committees (see 4.1.4).

4.1.3. Interim status for entities

In the circumstances where an FCC deems that a proposed centre or institute does not yet meet the criteria laid down in this policy for full endorsement as a centre or institute, some other structure, such as an initiative or network can be used. These groups may re-apply for endorsement as a faculty centre or institute, with a revised business plan, after an appropriate period of development (see also Section 5, Nomenclature).

4.1.4. Education, Research and International Committee review

Applications endorsed by the relevant Faculty Boards or DVC(s) must be submitted to MRC and/or EC depending on the research and/or education focus of the proposed centre or institute. 

Where a centre or institute has a strong international mandate and focus, applications should also be sent to the Monash International Committee for consultation.

Outcomes of MRC/EC/IC reviews of proposals will be communicated back to the Chair of the FCC, or the relevant DVC.

4.1.5. Final approval

Applications endorsed by the relevant Faculty Boards and university committees must then be submitted to Academic Board by the relevant DVC for final approval.

4.2. Competitive externally funded centres and institutes

When the University wishes to respond rapidly to a significant strategic opportunity under a competitive process that includes a proposal to establish a centre or institute, approval of the relevant submission is required from the Dean(s) of stakeholder faculties, the PVC (Campus) where relevant and the relevant DVC(s).

In these circumstances summary information about successful applications for centres or institutes of this nature must be sent to MRC/EC/IC as appropriate and to Academic Board for noting.

4.3. Renewal of expiring externally funded centres or institutes

Centres or institutes that have operated under predominantly external agency funding and that have come to the end of their funding term and wish to continue as Monash University entities must also complete an Centres and Institutes Application and Business Plan. This application must be endorsed by the relevant FCC, PVC (Campus) or DVC and then MRC/EC (and IC where appropriate) before submission to Academic Board for final approval.

4.4. Establishment of nodes

Nodes of centres or institutes may be established on other campuses in conjunction with the parent entity. Proposals must be endorsed by the local Pro Vice-Chancellor and by the relevant DVC. A report of the establishment of a node should be sent to relevant CCC/FCCs and MRC/EC/IC as appropriate for noting.

Responsibility

Centre/institute proposers/directors
Heads of academic units
FCC
PVCs (Campus)
CCC
DVC (E), (R) and (GE)
MRC/EC/IC

5. Nomenclature

Groups must receive approval under this policy and procedure for centre or institute status and the right to use the words ‘centre’ or ‘institute’ in their title. All centre and institute titles must be endorsed by MRC and/or EC and approved by Academic Board.

Changes to titles should be notified to FCC/MRC/EC/IC as appropriate, Academic Board and other relevant areas of faculty and university administration. Titles for externally funded centres and institutes may be the responsibility of the relevant governing board.

Formally approved Monash University entities are encouraged to use the words ‘Monash University' in their title but are not required to do so.

Responsibility

Centre/institute directors
Heads of academic unit
MRC/EC/IC
Academic Board

6. Governance

6.1. Directors

Each faculty centre or institute will have a director endorsed by the relevant Dean(s) and appointed for a period of up to three years.

The directors of university centres and institutes will be appointed by, and report to, the relevant DVC or their nominee.

Centre and institute directors will normally be Level E appointments with qualifications, leadership qualities and responsibilities similar to those expected from a head of department or school.

The responsibilities of directors will include strategic leadership, development, promotion, support for collaboration, engagement and operational management. A centre or institute director would normally not be simultaneously the head of the associated academic unit to which the entity belongs. In special circumstances where a director is to be simultaneously the head of the associated academic unit, the Dean and relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor must authorise the strategy proposed for managing any inherent conflict of interest.

6.2. Governing Bodies

6.2.1 Faculty centres

Individual FCCs may determine at their discretion whether faculty centres must have an advisory board or an external advisor to assist them in meeting their strategic objectives. In some cases requirements for advisory boards will be stipulated by relevant external funding agencies.

A management committee is highly recommended to oversee the operations of faculty centres.

6.2.2 Campus and university centres and all institutes

Campus and university centres and all institutes must have an advisory board and a management committee.

Please refer to the Centres and Institutes Governance Guidelines for responsibilities of directors and constitution of advisory boards and management committees.

 

Responsibility

FCCs
Centre/institute directors
Heads of academic units/Dean(s)/DVC(s)

7. Assets and funding

Centre/institute directors must ensure that the centre or institute's financial activities are accounted for in the University's financial system separately wherever possible, and in accordance with all relevant university policy and procedures.

Agreements on contributions/subsidisation from any other cost centres must be outlined in the original business plan and its subsequent updates.

Any funding attracted by individual staff who are based in schools and faculties, and any benefits that the funding itself attracts, will be attributed to their school and/or faculty as appropriate. Any intellectual property or other assets created by a centre or institute staff member will be governed by the usual University IP arrangements, subject to any specific written agreement to the contrary.

Funding or assets attracted/created by a centre or institute will be the property of the University under the control of the centre or institute unless other formal agreed arrangements exist.

Responsibility

Centre/institute directors
Heads of academic units

8. Appointment of staff to centres and institutes

Centres and institutes are not established permanently and will be subject to review (see below). The tenure of staff holding appointments through these entities will normally not exceed the period to the next formal review.

Arrangements in the event of the disestablishment of a centre or institute should be included in original business plans. Consideration should be given to arrangements for staff to revert to appointments in appropriate departments.

Responsibility

Centre/institute directors
Heads of academic unit

9. Enrolment of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates in centres and institutes

Centres and institutes may be accredited by the Research Graduate School Committee to enroll HDR candidates. Centres or institutes wishing to pursue this accreditation should follow the procedures outlined in Appendix B of the Handbook for Doctoral and MPhil Degrees. If accredited to enroll HDR candidates, a centre or institute must appoint a main supervisor for candidates enrolled in the centre/institute in accordance with Monash University (Vice-Chancellor) Regulations Part 3 - Section 9.4, and the Code of Practice for the Supervision of Doctoral Candidates in Section 5.2 of the Handbook for Doctoral and MPhil Degrees. Accredited centres/institutes will also be required to undertake all responsibilities detailed in Part B of this Section.

In the absence of accreditation, HDR candidates are to be enrolled through a department, school or, in the case of a faculty without departments, through the faculty. Their main supervisor will be a member of academic staff of that department or school, who might also be associated with a centre or institute.  HDR candidates may be co-supervised by staff specifically appointed to centres or institutes.

Responsibility

Centre/institute directors
Research Graduate School Committee

10. Reporting

Centres and institutes will specify key performance indicators and targets through their business plans. For faculty entities these must be consistent with Faculty guidelines for the performance of centres or institutes.

FCCs (for faculty entities), and DVCs (for university entities) must report annually to MRC/EC/IC (as appropriate) on the achievements of the centres and institutes they oversee but are free to determine any additional reporting requirements.

Responsibility

Centre/institute directors
FCCs
DVCs

11. Reviews

11.1  Newly established centres

Newly established centres or institutes must indicate in their initial business plans an appropriate time for their first internal review. This review will occur within the first two years of their establishment, allowing sufficient time for the achievement of any initial significant milestones. The review will be conducted by the FCC (faculty entities), CCC and appropriate faculty representation (campus entities) or the office of the relevant DVC (university entities).

Guidelines for the conduct of initial reviews may be sought from the Academic Review Policy and Procedures.

Outcomes of initial reviews must be communicated by the Chair of the FCC to MRC/EC as appropriate through the relevant DVC. DVCs will report outcomes for their centres and institutes directly to MRC/EC/IC as appropriate.

11.2  Existing centres

11.2.1  Formal reviews

Ongoing reviews of centres and institutes must be conducted every five years at a minimum (after the initial review) and should also meet the requirements of the Academic Review Policy and Procedures.

FCCs will determine, on the basis of an entity's scale and significance, whether it can be reviewed as part of the ongoing review cycle of the organisational unit to which it belongs (department, school or faculty) or whether it should be reviewed as a separate entity.

All institutes, campus and university-level centres must be reviewed in their own right according to the Monash University Academic Review Policy and Procedures.

11.2.2  Ad hoc reviews

All faculty, campus and university centres and institutes may be reviewed at any time at the discretion of the Chair FCC/CCC or relevant Dean/DVC. These ad hoc reviews may be conducted according to faculty requirements, provided that requirements for formal reviews are met every five years as described under 11.2.1.

Responsibility

Centre/institute directors
FCCs
CCC
DVCs

12. Disestablishment

A centre or institute may be disestablished for a range of reasons including that it has fulfilled its strategic purpose or experienced a significant change in direction.

A recommendation to disestablish may be made by a Dean, centre director or Chair FCC (faculty centres), advisory board (all entities), PVC (campus entities) or DVC (university entities).

A review panel may also recommend the disestablishment of a centre or institute for reasons such as:

  • failure to achieve a significant proportion of its objectives and targets and insufficient evidence of strategies to lift the performance to a satisfactory level;
  • poor performance, based on publications and other research/education achievements since the most recent review;
  • lack of an agreement between the host department/school/faculty and the centre/institute regarding staffing, financial and/or resource arrangements for the ensuing three years;
  • failure to undertake the required self review or to meet any other requirements under the terms of this policy and procedure within nine months of a request from the FCC or DVC as appropriate.

A recommendation to disestablish a faculty centre or institute must be forwarded, via the relevant faculty centres committee, to the relevant Dean who will make the formal decision to disestablish.

All centres and institutes are required to articulate arrangements for disestablishment in their initial business plans. This must include arrangements for the transfer of any residual staff, assets and/or commitments. After a formal decision to disestablish, the relevant HODS/HOS, PVC or DVC (or nominee) will work with the director of the centre or institute to re-distribute staff and/or assets.

Notification of disestablishment of any centre or institute should be communicated to MRC/EC/IC as appropriate and to Academic Board.

Responsibility

Review panels
Centre/institute directors
Heads of academic units
FCC
CCC
Deans
DVCs

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Version Number: 1.1Effective Date: 16-June-2010Contact: adm-PolicyBank@monash.edu