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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: November 5, 2004
Policy Reviewed Date: November 18, 2021
Policy Owner: VP for Research

2.42 Research Space Utilization

The University's research laboratories represent an important asset that must be utilized and maintained effectively and economically if faculty are to be supported in carrying out the research upon which their performance is evaluated and through which the University fulfills its mission as defined by the Board of Regents.

  1. Policy

    The intent of this policy is to establish a framework for ensuring both the appropriate utilization and the proper maintenance of research laboratories through shared responsibility and faculty governance.   To ensure that these laboratories provide optimal support for tenured faculty research in contributing to the University mission, each Department Chair and the Departmental Faculty Advisory Committee (DFAC) will jointly analyze research laboratory use within the Department each year and issue a preliminary report to their faculty by March 1.   After faculty review and comment, a report will be forwarded to the College Faculty Advisory Committee (CFAC), or its equivalent, for review. A final report of the CFAC will be provided to the Dean of the governing College by May 1.

  2. Procedures

    For the purposes of this policy, laboratory space is defined as space dedicated to the conduct of research and not generating teaching load credits. Beginning on March 1, 2004, the appropriate Chair and DFAC will review on a three-year rotation the use of all research laboratory space assigned to a College over the previous five years (or for the period of time during which records are available concerning space dedicated to the conduct of research) and focus on the degree to which the following criteria have been satisfied:

    1. Number and quality of grants and amounts of awards based on research activities conducted in an assigned laboratory;
    2. Number and quality of research reports, conference presentations, and/or publications in peer-reviewed venues attributable to work performed in that space;
    3. Evidence of collaborative research activity in that space or of time-sharing use arrangements by multiple researchers;
    4. Proper safety and maintenance of the laboratory.
  3. Report

    The annual report will indicate the extent to which each laboratory space utilized by tenured or untenured faculty has complied with all pertinent safety and hazardous materials handling regulations and procedures per the regular evaluation of the Office of Occupational and Safety Programs.   Problems regarding safety and maintenance issues must be addressed immediately by the department.

    The Dean, in consultation with the Provost and the Department Chair, will review the report and make any decisions regarding laboratory reassignment, or the availability of additional research space. Any affected faculty will be notified by June 1.   Affected faculty may appeal a decision at any level with the appropriate administrator or using standard grievance procedures (as outlined in Section 2.34 of the Handbook of Operating Procedures).

    If, in the Dean's judgment, in consultation with the Department Chair, a plan addressing utilization and/or maintenance problems satisfactorily and expeditiously is not developed by August 1 of the same year, the Dean, in consultation with the Department Chair, will reassign the laboratory space to alternative research use to ensure its effective utilization and maintenance.   Reassignments will be effective the following September 1st.   Where such reassignments of research space limit a faculty member's ability to conduct research, the Dean, in consultation with the Department Chair, the Departmental and College Faculty Advisory Committees, and the affected faculty member(s), shall agree on a modified weighting of research, teaching, and service in the annual merit evaluation process.

    A faculty member who has lost research space may petition the Department Chair for space in order to re-establish a research presence at any point following such loss. The Department Chair will make a recommendation to the Dean, who will determine whether to grant the petition.