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Sunsetting a Center

Sunsetting a center refers to elimination of the college allocation for their support and the eventual removal of their listing as a college-level research center. It does not mean that the college is not supportive of the research based in the center continuing - as long as it can do so without the additional college allocation and center branding.

Phased Sunsetting

Centers will generally be sunset in phased fashion. In the first sunset year the center receives their research and administrative allocation (as they would were they not sunsetting). In the second year they would receive just the administrative component plus 50% of the research support allocation. The center would be dissolved in the third year.

Cause for Sunsetting

There are three general reasons for sunsetting a center:

  • Changing HHD priorities

    Reasons here pertain to revised ideas regarding research topics about which it is timely or appropriate to devote college resources to and/or the emergence of new research opportunities for which resources must be diverted. Such decisions are expected to be rare.

  • Leadership transition without adequate succession planning

    Succession planning will be part of a centers’ annual performance assessment. These plans can include internal candidates for director and/or a case for external recruitment of a new director. If a center director steps out of that role (including because they leave the University) and the plan is found to be inadequate, the center may move to a sunset phase.

  • Underperformance

    Established Centers: Typically, centers being sunset for under-performance will have had a series of discussions with the associate dean for research via the annual and comprehensive review processes. The associate dean for research and center director can work together to identify strategies to counteract underperformance. However, given the expectation that a successful center’s performance will drive the majority of its allocation, successive years of operation with an impact-to-administrative ratio (as described above) below 1:1, despite course correction strategies, will be a strong signal of potential transition to the sunsetting phase.

    Newly Launched Centers: New centers will be given a fixed amount of time to achieve a metric (for example, an expectation to exceed the 1:1 impact-to-administration ratio in a certain number of years). If such launch metrics are not achieved, the college will consider a range of actions, that might include leadership changes or a transition to a three-year phased sunset as described above.