I. Purpose and Definition
A Research and Service Organization (RSO) is
an academic entity the University has established
to provide a supportive infrastructure for activities
complementary to the mission and goals of the
University and of specific academic/administrative
units. Functions of an RSO are to facilitate instructional
and research collaborations, disseminate the results
of research and scholarly and creative activities
through conferences, meetings and other activities;
strengthen graduate and undergraduate education
by providing students with training opportunities
and access to facilities; seek extramural support;
and carry out university and public service programs
related to the RSO's expertise. An RSO may not
offer degree programs or formal courses for credit
for students of the University or for the public,
except when specifically empowered to do so by
the President or his designee.
The Associate Vice President for Research and
Sponsored Programs (AVP (ORSP)) maintains a directory
of RSOs at the University and is responsible for
stewardship and monitoring of programmatic and
fiscal activities of all RSOs. The AVP (ORSP)
will work with the Chief Financial Officer of
SFSU to insure compliance with university, system,
and state policies and procedures. The College
Dean(s) will be most directly responsible for
the operational activities of RSOs under their
jurisdiction. The Dean will review all requests
for the establishment of RSOs (in consultation
with the appropriate department chair/s) and submit
the request to the Provost. The Provost will review
the RSO request, consult with the AVP (ORSP) and
the Senate, and then forward his recommendation
to the President for final review and consideration
of establishment of the RSO. The RSO policy is
SFSU's implementation of CSU Executive Order 751
on Centers, Institutes, and Similar Organizations.
It is important to distinguish between formally
established and approved RSOs and other units
of less formal character. Other units such as
special library collections, art galleries, museums,
and departmental laboratories are not RSOs, unless
they have been officially approved as such. In
the solicitation of extramural funds for a project
by a unit that has not been granted RSO status,
care should be taken not to use terminology nor
make presentations which suggest that the proposing
unit is in fact a university-approved RSO or is
about to become one. The designations enumerated
in the following paragraphs shall only be used
as formal labels for units that are designated
RSOs. If a unit is likely to evolve into a RSO
after a trial period of operation, the possibility
should be mentioned at a suitable stage in the
planning; in such a case, the designation Project
may be suitable.
RSOs normally carry the designation Institute,
Laboratory, or Center. An RSO that covers a broad
area may in turn contain other more specialized
units; for instance, an Institute may be comprised
of several Centers, or a Station may be comprised
of several Facilities. It is recognized that some
established units have designations that do not
conform to the definitions that follow (some Centers
are rather like Institutes in their activities).
However, insofar as possible, designations of
new units shall be taken from those defined below.
Institute: a major unit that coordinates and
promotes faculty and student research and scholarly
and creative activities on a continuing basis
over an area so wide that it extends across department,
school or college, and perhaps even beyond campus
boundaries. The unit may also engage in public-service
activities stemming from its activities, within
the limits of its stated objectives.
Center: a unit, sometimes one of several forming
an Institute, that furthers research, scholarly
and creative activities, and public service in
a designated field; or a unit primarily providing
facilities for other units and departments.
Laboratory: a non-departmental organization that
establishes and maintains facilities for research
and scholarly and creative activities in several
Station: a unit that provides physical facilities
for interdepartmental research and scholarly and
creative activities in a broad area, sometimes
housing other units and serving several campuses.
II. Directors, Committees, and Memberships
Each RSO is headed typically by a Director, who
is a tenured member of the faculty. The appointment
of a Director shall comply with Academic Senate
Hiring Policy S03-158. A selection committee appointed
by the Dean of the College/Administrative unit
in concurrence with the AVP (ORSP) and the Academic
Senate shall advise the Dean of the College/Administrative
Unit in the selection process. The jurisdictional
Dean(s) shall make the final recommendation for
appointment to the Provost and President.
B. Advisory Committee
The Director is aided by a standing Advisory
Committee, chaired by a faculty member other than
the Director. The Committee should meet at least
twice a year, participate actively in setting
the unit's goals, determine criteria for membership
in the RSO, recommend changes in the unit's membership,
advise the Director on major decisions affecting
the unit, and critically evaluate the unit's effectiveness
on a continuing basis. The Chair of the Advisory
Committee, and as many other members as practical,
should meet with the five-year and sunset review
committees (see sections V and VI) and otherwise
be available for consultation by five-year and
sunset review committees during the course of
their review. The Advisory Committee should be
comprised of faculty members, and members from
outside the University, as appropriate.
RSOs may have one or more of the following types
of membership. The RSO's Advisory Committee determines
- Full members: active SFSU faculty (including
adjunct professors) and project researchers/scholars.
- Associate members: faculty and academics from
other universities, non-profit institutes, and
federal laboratories who are collaborators on
projects of the RSO.
- Academic Affiliates: faculty from SFSU, other
universities, non-profit institutes, and federal
facilities, who are interested in the activities
of the RSO, but who are not collaborating on the
RSO's research projects.
- Industrial affiliates: companies with an interest
in the RSO's activities. Typically pay an annual
fee and gain defined privileges.
- Public Service Affiliates: non-government organizations
who are interested in and supportive of the RSO's
III. Procedure for Establishment.
At an early stage of development, proposed RSO
core faculty are encouraged to consult with the
AVP (ORSP) and with department chairs and Dean(s).
In developing a proposal, RSO faculty should address
- Goals and Objectives.
- Proposed research, scholarly and creative activities,
and public service activities.
- Discussion of the added value and capabilities
to be brought by the new RSO and an explanation
of why they cannot be achieved within existing
campus academic units.
- Impact on existing academic programs and units.
- Names of faculty members who have agreed in
writing to participate in the RSO's activities.
- Name of proposed director, who must be a tenured
faculty member. (see Academic Senate Policy S03-158,
Revised Hiring Policy for Tenure Track Faculty).
- Role of advisory committee and proposed membership
for first year.
- Projected numbers of faculty members, graduate
students, professional appointees, and other personnel
who will participate in the RSO's activities.
- Resource needs and anticipated sources of funding
with plans and time lines to achieve a level of
self-support acceptable to the AVP (ORSP) and
the Dean(s) of the jurisdictional College(s).
- Immediate space needs and how they will be
met for the first year, including anticipated
building and room number if known; realistic projections
for future space needs.
- Proposed organizational location/reporting
line, i.e. to what position will the director
report for RSO related questions and support?
B. Review Process.
The proposal is submitted via the Department
Chair or School/Program Director to the College
Dean (or Director of Administrative Unit, as appropriate)
most directly affected by the proposed unit. After
review and approval at these levels, the proposal
is forwarded to the Provost who, in consultation
with the Academic Senate and the AVP (ORSP), makes
a recommendation to the President, who may establish
IV. Annual Report.
By October 1 of each year, each RSO submits a
report on the RSO's activities for the past fiscal
year to the AVP (ORSP) and the appropriate College
Dean or administrative unit director. The Chair
of the Advisory Committee is to be consulted in
the preparation of the report. The report is to
include the following:
- Brief summary of major activities during the
- Names, titles, and organizational affiliations
of persons serving on the unit's advisory committee.
- Names of faculty members actively engaged in
the RSO's research and scholarly and creative
activities or its supervision.
- Names of undergraduate and graduate students
and postdoctoral fellows directly contributing
to the unit who (a) are on the unit's payroll,
participate through assistantships, fellowships,
or traineeships, or are otherwise involved in
the unit's work.
- Extent of student and faculty participation
from other CSU campuses or universities.
- Extent of participation by industry and non-governmental
- List of publications developed by the unit,
including books, journal articles, and reports
and reprints issued under its own covers, showing
author and title.
- Sources and amounts (on an annual basis) of
income including contracts and grants, gifts,
University support, service agreements, and income
from sale of publications and other services.
- Expenditures from all sources of support funds,
distinguishing use of funds for administrative
support, direct research, and other specified
- Description and amount of space currently
- Any other information deemed relevant to documentation
of a RSO's achievements.
V. Five-Year Review
Each RSO is reviewed at intervals of five-years
or less, and no RSO may be continued without periodic
review. The review considers the RSO's original
goals, present functioning, future plans, and
continuing development. The RSO is reviewed to
ascertain whether it is functioning in a manner
that justifies the space and support it receives.
Its success in meeting previously established
objectives and plans to meet new challenges also
are examined. The effectiveness of the RSO Director
likewise is reviewed at the same time as the RSO.
Procedures for evaluating the RSO Director shall
be in compliance with Academic Senate policy S00-122.
A. Review Process.
The AVP (ORSP) coordinates the review.
- The RSO Director prepares a profile (see Appendix)
covering the RSO's mission and history, resources,
staff, research and scholarly and creative activities,
and administration. After review by the Advisory
Committee, the materials are forwarded to the
- With the concurrence of the appropriate Dean(s),
the AVP (ORSP) appoints a review committee composed
of three faculty members and two administrators.
Procedures for reviewing the director shall be
in compliance with Academic Senate Policy S00-122.
- The review committee examines the materials
provided to them about activities and accomplishments
of the RSO, including annual reports covering
the five-year period under review; interviews
with the RSO Director, Advisory Committee members,
associated faculty, the appropriate College Dean/s,
and other individuals deemed pertinent to the
review, including non-SFSU faculty and personnel;
tours the RSO's physical facilities; and submits
a report of its findings to the AVP (ORSP).
- The AVP (ORSP) meets with the Director to discuss
- The Director prepares a written response to
the review report after consulting with members
of the RSO and the RSO Advisory Committee.
- The RSO Director, AVP (ORSP), and Dean/s of
the cognizant College meet to discuss the report,
the director's response and future plans for the
- The AVP (ORSP) prepares a summary report of
the review and recommendations regarding continuation,
the directorship, and other matters raised in
the review, and submits them to the appropriate
department chair(s), the jurisdictional Dean(s),
the Provost and the RSO Director for consideration
and written comment if warranted.
- In consultation with the jurisdictional Dean(s),
the Provost considers the comprehensive findings
and recommends to the President to continue or
disestablish the RSO. He/she also makes a recommendation
for the retention/termination of the RSO Director.
B. Report of Five-Year Review Committee
The report should speak to the positive as well
as negative aspects of the committee's findings.
Good work needs the reinforcement of recognition,
but the committee may wish to recommend changes
in organization and policy, or recommend disestablishment
of the RSO if it no longer seems to be filling
the needs or if it seems unable to maintain an
adequate level of activity.
Every effort should be made to coordinate the
report with the academic program and/or accreditation
review of the appropriate academic department,
school or program.
Justification for continuation of a RSO must
be documented carefully. The review committees
should consider and make specific recommendations
on the following range of alternatives to the
status quo: a change in funding from state or
University resources; a change in other resources
(such as space, etc); a change in the mission
of the unit; a merger of the unit with one or
more units on campus; discontinuance.
Directors of RSOs are normally appointed for
five-year terms, the appointment period coinciding
with the RSO's review period. Normally, directors
are limited to ten years of continuous service.
The review committee should look critically at
the stewardship of the organization and comment
on its quality. An evaluation, in the form of
a written document, will be completed before the
committee makes a recommendation for reappointment
or termination of the Director.
The review committee should include any other
suggestions for improvement in policy or activities.
The review committee may, if it thinks appropriate,
prepare a confidential statement to the AVP (ORSP)
and jurisdictional Dean(s). It may also provide
the AVP (ORSP) and jurisdictional Dean(s) with
confidential letters received from individuals
during the review process.
VI. Sunset Reviews
The life span of a RSO cannot extend beyond 10
years without it submitting a formal proposal
for continued RSO status, support funds, and space
in the context of the University's needs and resources
at the time. The RSO may not be continued beyond
the sunset period without the approval of the
All RSOs must establish a rationale for continuance,
in terms of scholarly or scientific merit, self-sufficiency
and campus priorities, at 10-year intervals.
The sunset review processes are the same as those
for 5-year reviews and continuance proposals should
incorporate items covered in five-year reviews.
VII. Procedure for Disestablishment
- Five-year and sunset review committees recommend,
among other recommendations, continuation or disestablishment
of the RSO. In addition, an ad hoc review committee
or a RSO director with the concurrence of the
RSO's advisory committee may recommend disestablishment.
- A recommendation to disestablish receives careful
review by the RSO director, RSO advisory committee,
department chairs, directors of other RSOs that
would be affected by the disestablishment, relevant
Dean(s), the AVP (ORSP), and the Provost.
- After reviewing comments from all the committees
and individuals listed in VII B, and if the jurisdictional
Dean(s), in consultation with the AVP (ORSP),
determines that disestablishment is the best course
of action, then the jurisdictional Dean(s) recommend(s)
such disestablishment to the President via the
- The President issues a letter formally disestablishing
VIII. Procedure for Name Change
The request for a new name usually reflects new
directions in the research or scholarly and creative
activities, the expansion or addition of new knowledge
or fields of research and scholarship to the RSO's
mission, or the institutionalization of new methodologies
of study. Procedure for Name Change:
- Director of RSO, after consulting with the
RSO's advisory committee prepares a proposal describing
the rationale for requesting a new name for the
unit and submits the proposal to the AVP (ORSP).
The AVP (ORSP) submits the name change to appropriate
campus administrators for review and comment.
- After review and approval by appropriate campus
administrators, AVP (ORSP) recommends the name
change to the President via the Provost.
- President issues a letter formally approving
the name change.
Approved by Academic Affairs Council:
November 10, 2003
Approved by President Corrigan:
November 11, 2003
1. RSO Overview
A brief, concise statement detailing history
of the RSO, its mission and scope, and its relationship
with academic departments on the campus, achievements,
and plans for the future.
2. Academic and Public Service
- SFSU faculty who were members of the RSO,
including departments and dates of affiliations.
- Description of seminar, lecture, and conference
- Listing of all publications that have appeared
under the auspices of the RSO.
- Direct and indirect contributions of the RSO
to graduate and undergraduate teaching programs
- Description of any university-industry activities.
- Directors, Acting Directors, and Associate
Directors, including tenure of appointments.
- Members of Advisory Committees, including members'
titles, committee positions, departments, and
dates of membership.
4. Physical Facilities and Space
Description of physical facilities housing the
RSO, including the type of space (laboratories,
seminar rooms, professional staff offices, administrative
offices, assignable square footage, and location).
5. Financial Data
- All income received by the RSO for each fiscal
year since it was last reviewed from: Federal
and State grants and contracts; sources such as
foundations and private gifts, and SFSU and CSU-derived
- Expenditures for personnel in both FTE and
dollars for each fiscal year since last review.
- Research and scholarly and creative activity
- Graduate students
- Technical staff
- Administrative staff by title
- Equipment purchases
- Supplies and expense