External Review of Research Centers and Directors
This policy describes procedures for the regular review of Research Centers and Center Directors
University Research Centers and Center Directors
Periodic reviews provide an opportunity for University Research Center Directors, Research Center affiliates, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research to explore a unit’s challenges and needs, assess the effectiveness of the Center’s leadership, and with the benefit of external advice to make choices that will shape the Center’s long-range plans and evolution. Such reviews benefit from the different perspectives that are provided by a combination of internal and external reviewers. The goal of the review is to facilitate the formation of a shared vision for the Center/Institute that will be used to direct its future development.
University Research Centers and their respective Directors are reviewed simultaneously for two reasons. First, the performance of center directors cannot be entirely separated from the performance of the Centers themselves. Second, combining the two reviews minimizes the administrative burden of the review process on both the Centers and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.
Under normal circumstances each University Research Center (URC) will be reviewed every five years. In some instances deviations from this schedule may be necessary and will be determined on a case-by-case base by the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) with input from the Director of the URC.
- Selection of Review Teams
The review of the URC and its director will be conducted by two groups:
- An internal review team consisting of at least three individuals at least two of whom are not affiliated with the URC.
- An external review team of at least two recognized experts in the research areas that are the URC’s focus. At least one of the external reviewers should have held a position of Director of an analogous research center at another University.
The internal and external review teams will have access to the same data about the URC and its Director, and the internal review team will meet with the external reviewers during their campus visit. However, the two groups will prepare separate reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research reflecting their respective perspectives on the activities of the URC and its Director.
All members of the review team will be selected by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. The URC Director will suggest potential external and internal reviewers to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research along with a brief rationale for their selection no later than April 1 of the year preceding the external review. The Vice Chancellor for Research may select from these lists but is not limited to them.
- Review Materials
The review teams will be provided with a Self-Study document prepared by the URC prior to the external review and a Self-Assessment prepared by the Center Director. Both the Self Study and the Self-Assessment should be completed and provided to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research no later than August 15.
The format of the URC Self-Study is flexible, but at a minimum it should include:
- information about Center mission, activities, and accomplishments during the previous five years;
- a listing of faculty and research staff affiliated with the Center and information about their research focus and activities;
- a summary of present internal and external funding for center activities using data provided by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research;
- an assessment of both internal and external opportunities and challenges confronting the Center;
- a plan for the Center’s development over the next five years; and
- a list of issues/questions on which the external review team’s input is sought.
At a minimum the Director’s Self-Assessment should include:
- a complete and current Curriculum Vita;
- an updated position description prepared by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research in consultation with the Center Director;
- a personal statement concerning the Director’s vision for the URC and the Director's role in achieving that vision;
- a personal assessment of the URC’s progress toward goals and objectives set at the time of initial appointment or at the last review and in annual reviews; and
- a statement of goals and objectives for the next five years.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research will provide the Self-Study and Self-Assessment documents to both the internal and external review teams. In addition the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research will provide both review teams with specific charges to direct their reviews. The specific charges to the review teams will be flexible to reflect issues raised in the Self-Study and Self-Assessment as well as issues unique to each center. At a minimum, however, the charges will include:
- an assessment of center’s effectiveness in carrying out this mission over the preceding five year period;
- an evaluation of the center’s goals for the next five years
- an evaluation of the opportunities and challenges that the center faces in the future;
- an assessment of the effectiveness of the Center Director in providing leadership to the center; and
- suggestions for changes that will enhance the center’s national stature and competitiveness.
- Internal Review
After receiving the review materials and their charges the internal review team will meet to discuss these materials and determine a process for gathering additional information. As part of their review it is expected that the internal review team will solicit input from faculty, staff and students involved with the center as well as key clients within and outside the university. Information may be gathered through interviews, surveys, or other methods as deemed appropriate. Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research staff will provide support for the review committee and assist with the data collection and report preparation process as needed.
- External Review
External review team members will visit campus during the Fall semester and will typically spend one to two days on campus, during which time they will meet with the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Center Director, the internal review team, faculty and staff affiliates of the center, and relevant Deans and Department Chairs. This schedule will be set up by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.
- Interaction between Internal and External Reviews
The internal and external reviews are intended to produce independent but related reports. To facilitate information sharing between the two review teams at least one meeting will be scheduled where the two review teams will have an opportunity to exchange information and discuss their respective views. The external review team will be provided with the results of any survey conducted by the internal review team. This information should be provided prior to the External Review Committee visit if time permits.
The internal and external review teams will each provide two separate written reports of their findings and recommendations. One report from each committee will address topics related to their review of the URC, and a second report will address the performance of the Director. The external review team will provide its report to the Vice Chancellor for Research within three weeks of their campus visit. The internal review team report will be completed within one week of receipt of the external review team report.
The reports of the internal and external review teams will be not be provided to the URC director or other parties. The Vice Chancellor for Research will communicate to the Director of the URC the findings of the Internal and external reviews, and the URC Director will have the opportunity to discuss the review with the Vice Chancellor for Research.
- Selection of Review Teams
- Approximate Schedule
- February: Research Center Directors will be notified that a review will be conducted during the next academic year and will be asked to provide names of potential external reviewers.
- April 1: URC lists of external and internal reviewers due at the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
- August 15: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research finalizes review team membership; URC Self-Study and Director Self-Assessment completed and forwarded to Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
- Late August: Internal Review team meets and gathers information
- October: External Reviewers visit campus
- November: External and Internal review teams provide written reports to Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
- December: Discussion of the Director and Center performance with the Vice Chancellor for Research
Office of Research
University Research Center: refers to any of the research units supervised by the Office of Research. This includes but is not limited to centers, institutes, and state surveys.
Center Director: refers to the individual responsible for management of the University Research Center.
02/06/2020: Updated Contact section.
10/01/2018: Updated Contact section.
07/06/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
07/09/2014: Technical edits - selected 'Lawrence' for required Campus; updated formatting on List of Sections, Policy Statement, Contact, and Definitions fields; added anchors to the main topics of the policy, and links to those in the List of Sections; updated references to 'Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research' and 'Vice Chancellor for Research' and 'Office of Research' to reflect accurate title; updated Review, Approval & Change History to list entries in chronological order, and with standard Policy Library format.
09/10/2012: Change to Contact information.
11/19/2008: Revised, approved by Vice Chancellor for Research; Minor modifications to information in Internal Review, External Review, and Report section.