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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 9 - General Provisions
Publication Date: March 5, 2008
Policy Reviewed Date: July 13, 2022
Policy Owner: President

9.38 Guidelines for Service Centers and Institutes

  1. Purpose

    The purpose of services centers and institutes is to provide a public service component to The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and beyond in fulfillment of UTSA's community engagement mission. The public service component is accomplished through extension, outreach and community education programs. Service centers exist to foster public service on matters primarily related to a narrow public service and/or a non-research related topic. The service institutes on the other hand enhance and support a broad base of related public service efforts and may encompass public service activities at the multiple divisional and/or departmental level. In addition, public service endeavors may provide an educational service-learning experience to students through involvement in activities of the service centers and institutes. Alignment with current UTSA strategic plan priorities is a primary consideration for the establishment and on-going operation of service centers and institutes.

  2. Establishment of a Service Center or Institute
    1. Each service center or institute must demonstrate a clear need for a number of staff members to work together in a single administrative structure that allows them to carry out a service center or institute more effectively than they would be able to do working individually or in informal partnerships. Approval of a proposed center or institute is made by the president of UTSA on recommendation of their respective vice president. A director is appointed and reports to their respective vice president, and/or divisional administrator.
    2. Administrators seeking to establish a new service center or institute should submit a request to the respective vice president and/or divisional administrator. The request is reviewed by the respective vice president who may seek input and advice from internal or external groups. The review normally occurs as part of the university's strategic planning process and includes input from the appropriate planning committees at the department and university levels. The following information should be included in the center or institute proposal:
      1. Purpose and need for the unit, particularly the need for a number of staff members to work together in a single administrative structure.
      2. Relevance of the unit to the university's strategic plan.
      3. Role of the unit as it relates to a public service within the university.
      4. Proposed administrative organization.
      5. Developmental plan for the center or institute over a five-year period, arranged as follows:

        (1) Executive Summary: Brief description of the unit highlighting its strategic relevance, the participants, the effective date, the resources required, source(s) of funding, key milestones for success (with dates), and primary risks to the project's success with mitigating strategies, plan for sustainability and/or exit strategy.

        (2) Project Plan: Detailed project plan with an explanation of the strategic rationale, key personnel, plan for fostering student involvement in service-learning activities, a timeline for development, and supporting analyses that form the basis for the proposal. The strategic rationale must be tied directly to UTSA's strategic plan.

        (3) Risks and Opportunities Analysis: A concise evaluation of the opportunities, the key risks, and the plans for their mitigation that should be discussed (but not limited to):

        (a) Revenue opportunities and risks (e.g., external funding availability, competition, duplication)

        (b) Cost opportunities and risks (e.g., leverage of existing expertise and capabilities, coverage for salaries, faculty release time, facilities, travel, equipment, subrecipients, overhead)

        (c) Regulatory risks

        (d) Environmental risks

        (e) Legal risks

        (f) Governance issues

        (g) Strategic alliances with partner and stakeholder groups

        (4) Success Criteria: Explicitly define the criteria (measures and timing) that will indicate the unit is achieving success.

        (5) Sustainability and Exit Strategies: Identify the plan for making the unit self-supporting primarily through external financial sponsorships, to either sustain or promote growth of the unit to a significant level of activity. Describe the key indicators that will be monitored as “triggers†for implementing exit strategies. Discuss the implications of the proposed exit strategies that will be employed should they become necessary (e.g., the economic/other impacts of the exit strategy scenarios).

        (6) Appendices: Any necessary data or supporting documents relevant to the other sections of the proposal.

      6. Approval of a new service center or institute is based primarily on the value of the proposed unit to the mission and goals of the university. Criteria also include the demonstrated community need for the unit, the extent of the plans for including students in its public service activities, the amount of start-up funds and space required from the university, and the likelihood of obtaining outside funding for support of the unit (sustainability) within a reasonable period of time.

        Note: If the proposed service center or institute name is to contain the name of an individual, please see the Rules and Regulations of the UT System Board of Regents related to naming of facilities other than buildings (Series 80307).

  3. Funding for Service Centers and Institutes

    Funding for service centers and institutes should be exclusively or primarily from external sources. Exceptions may be made for new units requesting a small amount of funding for start-up activities, including proposal development, course releases, temporary staff, student internships and operating expenses. Funds for these purposes should be requested in the service center or institute proposal, with some indication of likely sources and uses. Exceptions may also be made for existing units requiring funds for proposal development, which may be requested from their respective vice president and/or divisional administrator, or for temporary personnel support pending receipt of funds from an approved grant or contract. Requests for such temporary personnel support must be made through the normal budgeting process and, for planning purposes, should be estimated in advance of the actual need.

  4. Annual Reports

    All service centers and institutes must submit reports annually giving an account of activities performed, community involvement, including students if applicable in such activities, and contributions of the service center or institute to the strategic plan of the university. The annual report should also include a financial summary showing expenditures and revenues for the past year and plans for continued funding.

    Annual Reports are submitted to the respective overseeing vice president, with copies to the vice president for community services (VPCS) and UTSA Outreach Council. The UTSA Outreach Council led by the VPCS will annually collect and publish a consolidated report of service centers and institutes activities, further consider alignment of service activities with current strategic plan priorities, and make recommendations to the president and Campus Management and Operations Committee (CMO) for adjustments or new initiatives to be considered.

  5. Periodic Reauthorization Review of Service Centers and Institutes
    1. Service centers and institutes should undergo a reauthorization review every five years, or sooner if so indicated by the UTSA Outreach Council or the appropriate vice president. Upon the completion of the review process, the vice president makes recommendations regarding their initial establishment or their continued existence.
    2. The review process will proceed as follows:
      1. The respective vice president schedules the review of a service center or institute after conferring with the divisional administrator who has budgetary responsibility.
      2. The director completes a review report to include the following information:

        (1) History of the unit.

        (2) Goals and objectives of the unit.

        (3) The unit's contributions to public service and engagement since the last review or since the inception of the unit.

        (4) Involvement of students in the activities of the unit.

        (5) Financial support provided for students.

        (6) Financial summary showing expenditures from grants, state and local funds in all budget categories and showing all revenues received, including sources and amounts, and how they were expended.

        (7) Future plans and rationale for the continued existence of the unit.

        (8) Appendix material, including any other supplementary written information (brochures, publications, annual reports, etc.) that help describe the activities and accomplishments of the unit.

      3. After the internal review, the respective vice president may request an evaluation of the center or institute by an outside review committee. The committee may wish to interview the director or members of the unit or to inspect the facilities and the operation of the center or institute.
      4. Based on the information gathered, the review committee advises the vice president as to whether the stated goals and objectives of the center or institute are being met and assesses the value of the unit to the university. In doing so, the committee considers the following measures of success:

        (1) The institute or center successfully promotes community engagement and cooperation among faculty, staff and students.

        (2) The unit is able to attract outside funds to support its activities and student involvement as appropriate.

        (3) The unit is advancing community interests, quality of life, or performing a valuable service in a manner that would be unlikely to occur if the unit did not exist.

        (4) The unit appropriately involves students in its activities.

      5. The review committee prepares and submits a report to their respective vice president, who submits a recommendation to the president.
      6. The report of their respective vice president should include the strengths and weaknesses of the unit and should include a recommendation about its continued existence. If the recommendation is that a center or institute be discontinued, the recommendation will include a timetable and steps for its dissolution. The recommendation is communicated to the president for final approval on the continuation/discontinuation of the unit.
      7. Following the review process, the respective vice president communicates the final institutional decision and evaluation report to to the director of service centers or institutes.