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CALS DDO - Centers - Review Guidelines for CALS Centers

This document provides an overview of the review process for centers within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Version 1.2 September 3, 2019


Each center within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) shall be reviewed at least every ten years. This includes all centers administered at the college level and departmental centers where CALS or the Division of Extension provides significant investment or in-kind support. The review process provides: (1) an opportunity for the center to self-assess and set goals and priorities for the future; (2) an assessment of the center's effectiveness and impact on the college's mission; (3) feedback to the center's leadership to help ensure the center's future success; (4) a formal reporting mechanism to CALS on the administrative and research needs of the center. Note this process offers a unique and valuable opportunity for self-reflection and external input, and thus differs substantively from annual reports required by the provost (see

The various CALS centers exhibit wide variety in their mission, organization, and funding structure. A single, uniform review process is therefore impractical and the enclosed guidelines are meant to be flexible to provide useful feedback to the center and CALS.

The review should evaluate the center's strategic planning process and its success in meeting established objectives. Metrics to measure success include current efficacy and future potential, alignment with the college's mission, relations with key partners, governance, climate, inclusivity, and effective use and leveraging of available resources.

The review committee report may include specific recommendations to CALS, when appropriate, for improvements in the mission, administration, research focus, space and other resource requirements, climate, and programs and activities of the center.

Review Process

An outline for the review process follows.

  1. The dean or the dean’s designate will hold an initial meeting with the center director and other members of the center’s leadership team to discuss the timeline for the review, the scope of the self-study, and the composition of the review committee. Depending on the mix of research, service, and outreach activities for the center, some of the sections in the outline below may be abbreviated or not appropriate. A primary goal of this initial meeting is to identify those sections of the self-study most relevant to the center, and therefore the focus of the self-study.
  2. The center leadership will prepare a self-study with the information described below. While the length of the main text will vary depending on the specific mix of center activities, we expect it will be about 20 pages (excluding appendices).
  3. A review committee will be appointed by the dean or the dean's designate in consultation with the center director and relevant members of the college's leadership team. The committee will consist of a minimum of three faculty and academic staff who are not center members but have expertise appropriate to the center's mission. The dean or dean's designate will appoint the chair of the review committee.
  4. After reviewing the self-study, the committee will schedule a site visit and meet with the center director, other center leadership, and groups of center faculty, limited, academic staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and university staff. If relevant, internal and external stakeholders and constituents of the center should be included in the interview process.
  5. The committee will provide a comprehensive report to the dean or the dean's designate detailing the center's strengths and opportunities and the value of its contributions to the campus and beyond, as well as any challenges or deficiencies and recommendations for improvement. The report should be submitted within one month of the review meeting.
  6. The CALS Dean's Office will provide a copy of the report to the center director, who will have the opportunity to respond to the report within one month.
  7. The center's self-study, the review committee's report, the center director's response, and any additional relevant documents will be forwarded to the CALS Academic Planning Council (APC) for review. The review committee chair (or designee) will present the review committee report and the center director will present the center's feedback to the CALS APC; this will be done in separate meetings. The CALS APC will then discuss the center's review and the committee's recommendations.
  8. Based on CALS APC discussion, the dean and relevant members of CALS leadership team will provide the center director with an assessment of the contributions and the quality of the center and recommendations for future directions.


Self-study document

The self-study document should contain the following information.

  1. Mission and history

    • Provide a brief description of the center, its mission and main focus of activity, and history. Describe any changes in mission or focus that have occurred in the past ten years. Provide all annual reports from the period covered by the review as an appendix.
  2. College- and campus-wide impact

    • Provide a discussion of the impact of the center on CALS and on UW. In other words, what is the center's "added value" to the college and broader campus community? Describe how the center contributes to the mission of the university.
    • How does the center interact with departments and programs in CALS on campus and with other centers on campus? How does the center foster campus collaborations?
    • How does the center bring researchers and graduate students together?
    • How does the center contribute to the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff and to the training of undergraduate and graduate students?
    • What is the broader impact of the center's activities? How does the center embody the Wisconsin Idea?
  3. Leadership, administration, governance, and staff climate

    • What are the responsibilities and authorities of the center director?
    • Describe the administrative structure of the center, including the roles of key personnel.
    • Is there an executive committee for the center, and, if so, how often does it meet? Are there regular public (or staff/investigator) meetings to discuss issues related to center activities? How do center investigators and academic staff participate in the governance of the center?
    • Does the center have an external advisory committee? If so, describe the process for obtaining their advice. If applicable, provide a copy of the most recent advisory committee report as an appendix.
    • Describe efforts to increase the diversity of the center faculty, staff, and students and to promote inclusion.
    • Describe center activities related to the professional development of the staff and describe the processes in place for evaluating staff and for review for promotion.
    • Has a staff climate survey been carried out in the past ten years? If yes, discuss the findings.
  4. Members

    • What are the criteria for center membership? Describe the process by which new members or affiliates are chosen or recruited to the center.
    • Are there multiple categories of center members? If so, does the center provide distinct services for each group?
    • Is there a review process for maintaining status as a center member? If so, how is the review accomplished?
    • Provide a table listing all center members that includes the name, position, home department and school, and the year they joined the center. If the center has assignable space, the table should indicate whether the member has office and/or laboratory space within the center.
    • Include a two-page CV for core personnel as an appendix.
  5. Research

    • Provide a narrative of the most significant research accomplishments in the center over the last ten years.
    • Describe the policies related to the submission of grants through the center. If applicable, describe the center policy for sharing credit with the home schools of the investigators for those grants that it administers.
    • List all grants administered by the center over the past ten years. The table should include the PI name, funding agency and grant number, the title of the grant, the annual direct costs for the current year, and the duration of the award.
    • List all active grants of center investigators that are administered by other units, providing the same information as in the table above. If the award information requested in this and the preceding bullet is not available to the center, staff from CALS Business Services or CALS Research Division will provide it.
    • List technology transfer information such as patents, licensing, and/or IP disclosures.
    • Provide a complete bibliography that includes all peer-reviewed papers published by center personnel related to the center's activities and mission over the last ten years.
  6. Student education activities

    • Describe any educational or training programs administered by the center for undergraduates, graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows.
    • List the total numbers of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students directly contributing to and/or benefiting from the center.
  7. Outreach and service

    If part of the mission of the center is to provide public service and outreach, provide evidence of these contributions over the last ten years at the local, state, national, and international levels, including:

    • Describe activities involving external organizations.
    • List publications developed and distributed to non-technical audiences.
    • Describe collaborations or connections that were initiated between individuals and institutions as a result of center activities, and describe their outcome and impact.
    • If appropriate, provide evidence of center activities that exemplify the Wisconsin Idea.
  8. Revenue-generating activities

    If the center provides revenue-generating activities, for each describe:

    • The activity/service provided, along with any plans for changes over the coming years.
    • The approach used for establishing the pricing structure, and the frequency of review for the pricing structure.
    • Information on utilization of the activity/service by center members, other campus users, and off-campus entities.
    • The method for prioritizing activities.
    • The process for reviewing the center revenue-generating activities and determining whether existing activities should be continued or new activities introduced.
  9. Resources, funding, and sustainability

    • Provide a summary of present internal and external funding for center activities and a description of how the funds are used.
    • If the center has assignable space, provide details on the space and any policies related to the assignment of space to center members.
    • Provide a list of major equipment, equipment needs, and planned major equipment purchases.
    • For revenue-generating centers, what is the center's business model? Is there a process in place for evaluating the success of the business model? Discuss the extent to which the revenues from services or products are meeting the center's costs.
    • Describe any resource challenges that the center has faced over the past ten years, and either how they were resolved or the proposed means to deal with the challenges.
  10. Assessing outcomes

    • Identify the key indicators used to assess whether the center is meeting its objectives.
    • What performance metrics are used by the center to determine success?
  11. Plans for the coming years

    • Discuss the major goals for the center over the next ten years, including any new directions for research or other center activities that are contemplated.
    • Indicate any strategic issues or potential problems that are likely to require attention in the coming years.

Keywordscollege of agricultural and life sciences, dean's office, deans, admin, agriculture, center review, extension, assess   Doc ID95966
OwnerAlly M.GroupCALS Dean's Office
Created2019-11-19 10:15:43Updated2023-04-07 11:00:18
SitesCALS Dean's Office
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