Centre and Director Review Process

Policy:

The Faculty of Social Science at the University of Western Ontario is currently home to six Research Centres housed within the Network for Economic and Social Trends (NEST), as well as the Research Data Centre. This policy provides the review process for the renewal of the mandate of the Centres and their Directors and is in accordance with Western’s Manual Administrative Policies and Procedures, Policy 7.9 on the Establishment, Governance and Review of Research Institutes, Centres, and Groups.

Purpose:

The objective of this policy is to provide concrete and consistent direction regarding the review procedures and processes for Research Centres and their Directors.

Scope:

This policy applies to Research Centres within the Faculty of Social Science that are registered and accountable to the Office of the Vice-President (Research). This includes Centres housed within NEST, and any other Centres affiliated with the Faculty of Social Science.


POLICY

1.  CENTRE REVIEW

All Centres in the Faculty of Social Science will be reviewed prior to the end of their mandate. The Dean or Associate Dean (Research) will issue the notice of review to the Centre Director and the Centre Governing Committee at least 6 months prior to the end of the Centre mandate.

If the Centre Director and Members are seeking a renewal:

The Centre Director in collaboration with the Centre Governing Committee will review the Centre and prepare a report. The report will include the following:

1.1 Activities of the Centre. For (1a) to (1f), the period begins on the date of the previous renewal of the Centre.

  1. A statement describing how the Centre has achieved its original objectives.
  2. A list of current active members and a statement of how the Centre fostered collaborations among members. This should provide evidence that at least two Departments in the Faculty of Social Science are actively involved in the activities and outcomes of the Centre. An active member is defined as one who is publishing research, presenting at conferences, submitting grant applications, or supervising highly qualified personnel with other members of the centre. Such activities demonstrate co-participation and involvement of members within the centres.
  3. A list of students and postdoctoral fellows involved in the Centre’s activities. Highlight students and postdoctoral fellows that were trained by at least Centre members. Involvement of highly qualified personnel can be demonstrated via participation and attendance at speaker series, co-publications and co-presentations with faculty members or other trainees affiliated with the research centres.
  4. A list of Centre activities such as the publications, policy papers, and presentations that involve at least 2 Centre faculty members and/or their trainees, seminars, workshops, speaker series, and any other relevant activities.
  5. Publication list. Each publication should include the authors, title, year, journal or other outlet in which it was published, and the journal's impact factor. List only those publications that include more than one Centre member. Please underline names of authors affiliated with the research centres and use an asterisk to indicate names of highly qualified personnel.
  6. Research funding associated with the Centre, including all Principal Investigators, Co-applicants, Co-Investigators, and Collaborators that involve at least two members of the Centre or their trainees.

1.2 A five-year plan identifying objectives, research directions, and outreach activities for Centres seeking renewal:

  1. A list of objectives and research directions over the next five years.
  2. A list of anticipated activities and outcomes (publications, grant applications, speaker series, involvement of highly qualified personnel, etc.).
  3. The administrative and financial needs of the Centre (including budget and physical space requirements).
  4. Any changes in the mandate and governing structure of the Centre.

1.3 Statements submitted directly to the Dean or Associate Dean Research:

  1. Statement from the Chairs of the Department involved in the Centre indicating support for the recommendation to renew the Centre. These letters should indicate the continued and new resource commitments from the Departments to the Centre.
  2. If the Centre is housed within NEST, a statement from the NEST Director indicating support for the recommendation to renew the Centre must be submitted. This letter should indicate the continued and new resource commitments to the Centre.

1.4 Names of individuals who participated in the review of the Centre and drafting the report.

  1. The report will be submitted to the Office of the Dean by the date stipulated in the notice for review. The Dean or Associate Dean Research will consider the report before making a recommendation to Vice-President (Research) concerning the future of the Centre.
  2. The recommendation may be: continuation with review in 5 years; or, continuation with review in a shorter period; or, no continuation.

1.5 If the Centre Director and Members are not seeking a renewal of the Centre, the Centre Director must submit a recommendation for termination of the Centre.

  1. The letter must justify why the Centre should be closed.
  2. Letters must be submitted from Department Chairs and a letter from the NEST Director where applicable.

2. CENTRE DIRECTOR PERFORMANCE REVIEW

2.1 Roles and Responsibilities of the Centre Directors

Centre Directors report directly to the Dean of the Faculty of Social Science. Centre Directors are responsible for providing research and administrative leadership, which typically includes:

  1. Promoting and creating collaborative and interdisciplinary research within the Centre;
  2. Building collaborations and supporting researchers to enhance research capacity and increase internal and external research opportunities for faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students;
  3. Developing new opportunities for training students, postdoctoral fellows, and community researchers;
  4. Establishing connections with the community whenever possible, including collaborative relationships with researchers in the relevant fields in the public and private sectors, locally, nationally and internationally;
  5. Supporting activities related to knowledge dissemination and public outreach (e.g. collaborative research; seminars; workshops; lectures; websites; publications);
  6. Supporting the submission and implementation of external grant applications and policy-relevant contracts associated with the Centre;
  7. Working closely with the Dean or Associate Dean (Research), NEST Director, and the Faculty of Social Science’s Communications Officer and Research Officers to promote activities of the Centre to various stakeholders within academia, government, business, and other relevant bodies; and participating in the Centre’s website maintenance;
  8. Overseeing the Centre budget; and,
  9. Serving on the NEST Governing Council, where applicable.

2.2 Appointment of a new Director of a Centre

  1. The Dean of the Faculty appoints the new Director of the Centre. The Dean in the following circumstances will normally institute a search: 1) in order to appoint the inaugural director of a new established research centre; 2) if an incumbent of an existing research centre does not wish to be re-appointed; or, 3) if an incumbent of an existing centre has served two consecutive terms.
  2. The Dean will solicit an open search to department’s member of the Centre at the Faculty of Social Science. The interested incumbents should submit the following:
    • submit an updated curriculum vitae
    • submit a letter to the Dean outlining her/his motivation and vision (goals and intentions) for the research Centre
    • deliver a public presentation by short-listed candidates on their vision for the research centre
  3. The Dean, in consultation with Associate Dean Research, may organize a town hall with research centre members, governance/advisory committees, students, faculty, and other stakeholders to solicit feedback on the incumbents.
  4. The Dean, in consultation with Associate Dean Research, may solicit direct feedback from Department Chairs, NEST Director and Centre membership before making the final decision. 
  5. When necessary, the Dean may appoint an interim Director to a new or existing Centre to serve normally no longer than twelve months. The interim Director will if the Centre Director goes on leave or if the process for appointing a new Centre Director is in progress.

2.3 Performance Review Process and Criteria for the Centre Directors

  1. All Centre Directors in the Faculty of Social Science will be reviewed prior to the end of their mandate or as requested by the Dean. The Dean or Associate Dean Research will issue the notice of review to the Centre Director at least 6 months prior to the end of the Centre mandate. All Centre Directors are obligated to participate in this review.

2.4 The Dean will inform the Centre Director about the intention for renewal of their term:

  1. The mandate for Centre Directors will be reviewed at the same time as the Centre review or six months prior to the end of their mandate. The Dean will request the review process.
  2. The Centre Director should inform the Dean about their intention to renew their mandate. This should include a self-assessment completed by the incumbent including a statement of past performance with respect to the purposes, objectives, and goals of the Centre, as well as goals and planned activities for the next five years;
  3. The Director should prepare a report that includes the following:
  • A list of activities the Director has led to promote and create collaborative and interdisciplinary research within the Centre.
  • Concrete evidence of an enhanced research capacity and increase in internal and external opportunities for faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students (this should include a list of grants, agreements, contracts, training opportunities, research fellowships, etc.).
  • Concrete evidence of collaboration with the community including partnerships with public and private sectors at local, national, or international scales, including a list of partners and the significance and outcomes of the partnerships.
  • A list of collaborative dissemination and outreach activities including research, seminars, workshops, lectures, websites, and publications.
  • Concrete evidence of successful submission and implementation of Tri-Council and other external grant applications and contracts associated with the Centre. This should include a list of grant applications submitted, funded and implemented as well as a brief statement on the significance of the project and their outcomes.

2.5 Statements submitted to the Dean:

  1. A statement from the NEST Director (where applicable) must be submitted to the Dean indicating support for a continued mandate of the Centre Director. Additional letters of support from active members of the Centre may accompany this (maximum three letters).
  2. A statement from the Chair of the Director's home Department must be submitted to the Dean indicating support for a continued mandate of the Centre Director.
  3. Statement from members of the Centre indicating support for a continued mandate of the Centre Director.
  4. The Dean, in consultation with Associate Dean Research, may solicit direct feedback from Department Chairs, NEST Director and Centre membership before making the final decision. 

The report and supporting statements must be submitted to the Dean by the date stipulated in the notice for review issued by the Dean.The Dean, in consultation with the Associate Dean Research, will consider the report before deciding to: renew the mandate of the Centre Director; or, request the Centre Governing Committee and members to conduct an election for the Centre Director position.