Office of the President

Interim Executive Memorandum for Oversight of Complementary Units (including Campus Centers and Institutes); Supersedes EM 18-018

Executive Memorandum 19-026 September 17, 2019

This Executive Memorandum has been superseded by 20-019 .

From: Gayle E. Hutchinson, President 

Subject: Interim Executive Memorandum for Oversight of Complementary Units (including Campus Centers and Institutes); Supersedes EM 18-018

Upon the recommendation of the Academic Senate and the concurrence of the Provost, I approve the Interim Executive Memorandum for Oversight of Complementary Units (including Campus Centers and Institutes) policy, effective immediately.

Per EM 18-020 Policy on Policies, Procedures and Guidelines, interim policies shall be enacted for six months, but may be renewed for an additional six months if the Senate is unable to complete its review of the policy in this timeframe.

Interim Executive Memorandum for Oversight of
Complementary Units (including Campus Centers and Institutes)

This Interim Executive Memorandum (EM) establishes policies and procedures for the approval and oversight of all Complementary Units (CUs), including campus centers and institutes (CCI), on the California State University, Chico (Chico State) campus, and creates the Complementary Units Review Committee (CURC). These policies and procedures incorporate the Chancellor’s Office Coded Memo AA-2014-18 (Centers and Institutes: Guidelines Replacing Executive Order 751), are consistent with other applicable CSU and campus policies.

While this policy objectively covers the process and procedure for establishing, reviewing, suspending, and discontinuing CUs, it is important to recognize the significant positive impact CUs can have on Chico State’s operations and reputation. This policy is designed to promote and facilitate the creativity and inspired work of faculty on this campus. While effective CUs often augment curricular, co-curricular, and campus community entities, it should be noted that improperly run CUs can negatively impact a campus’s reputation and even render the institution vulnerable to costly lawsuits. In this spirit, this policy is established so that anyone who is engaged in CU related work will clearly understand that they should remain fully cognizant of the scope of their authority and attendant responsibilities, and take their responsibilities seriously. CUs must comply with all CSU-specific policy memoranda and directives, as well as state and federal regulations.


This policy encompasses the approval and oversight of all campus CUs at Chico State. This policy does not apply to system-wide affinity groups, state or federal centers governed by their authority, nor campus central administrative and service units.

CUs include co-curricular centers, institutes, symphonies, museums, ecological preserves/reserves, councils, consortia, or similar entities that support Chico State’s academic mission in both academic and non-academic areas of the university. This policy applies to all CUs currently established as well as those that may be developed in the future.


The following policy (including responsibility and procedures) is organized by the following sections: 1) Complementary Unit (CU) Definition; 2) CU Functions; 3) Oversight; 4) Charge of the CU Review Committee (CURC); 5) CU Proposal Requirements and Structure; 6) CU Review, Reporting, Continuation and Discontinuation; and 7) Appendices.


In terms of this policy, a complementary unit is defined as a unit or department operating relatively independent of existing departments or units. Independence can be assessed through the establishment and use of a distinct mission, budget, and program goals.

In addition to the above, Complementary Units:

  1. Should directly or indirectly benefit Chico State students, faculty and staff.
  2. Should serve a substantially different purpose than one already being fulfilled by an established department, unit, or college.
  3. Should be aligned with the mission and strategic plan of the department, unit, or college that oversees the CU and of the university.
  4. Must not utilize state resources for private gain.
  5. Must not be in conflict with any applicable CSU-specific, state, or federal regulations and policies.

As appropriate, Complementary Units:

  1. May be provided some initial support in the form of assigned time, office space, equipment, staff support, etc., although it is expected that most CUs will generate enough external funding to become largely self-sustaining.
  2. Coordinate external funding support through University Advancement and the Chico State Enterprises (CSE).

A center or institute is a complementary unit that also has a strong connection to the external community or has caché in the national arena.


CUs do not confer degrees or offer for-credit academic degree instruction, except in the role of supporting those units with such authority. Although faculty are encouraged to collaborate with CUs, CUs cannot serve as the home department for faculty. Upon coordination with the CSU, CSU staff may be affiliated with a CU. Depending on the function of a CU, its activities will vary and may include:

  1. Providing opportunities for professional development of faculty and staff through teaching, research, scholarly and creative activities, and public service.
  2. Fostering and facilitating interdisciplinary efforts among disciplines, departments and across colleges, in addition to other public and/or private partners.
  3. Providing a clearinghouse for information of interest to professionals, including conducting workshops and conferences for continuing education.
  4. Enhancing the curriculum by facilitating and supplementing the academic experience of students.
  5. Other functions as stated in the original CU approval documents, or as approved following a continuation review.


The President is delegated the responsibility for the CU approval and oversight in accordance with existing CSU policy (see ICSUAM 1000.0, Delegation of Authority to Obligate the University, CSU Policy Manual for Contracting and Procurement). Oversight authority may be delegated to the Provost or other Vice President, who may also delegate direct responsibility to the appropriate administrator of the department, unit, or college under which the CU operates.

This EM establishes a CU Review Committee (CURC) to meet on a regular basis (or as needed and requested by the President, Provost or Vice Presidents, or Academic Senate) during the academic year to:

  • Review applications for the establishment, suspension, or dissolution of a Complementary Unit;
  • Review CU annual reports;
  • Review CU seven-year reports;

These reviews and reports will form the basis of CURC consultation with the appropriate administrator(s) responsible for oversight of a CU or CUs. The(se) appropriate administrator(s) is/are responsible for communicating the results and their department, unit, or College’s (s’) interests in the CU to their Provost/Vice President and the Academic Senate. The Academic Senate and the Provost/VP will consult with the President on the results of these deliberations; the President has ultimate authority in determining the status of any CU at Chico State. In some cases, such as when federal or state entities regulate the services of the CU, the CU may need to establish a formal governance relationship with the board of the Chico State Enterprises (CSE), who serve as the legal entity holding the 501(c)3 status under which the CU may operate. The CSE board shall be consulted to review and comment prior to a decision on the CU’s status.


As a committee of the Academic Senate, the CURC will meet on a regular basis (or as needed) during the academic year to review and provide consultation relating to CU establishment, performance (as documented through annual reviews), continuance, and dissolution. The charge to the committee includes, but is not limited to:

  • Alignment of CU activities with the mission and strategic plans of the CSU and Chico State
  • Financial operations, including all sources and uses of funds, and sustainability of the CU
  • Personnel roles within the CU
  • Productivity derived from CU activities
  • Notable accomplishments of the CU
  • Recommendations for CU establishment, continuance, modification, merging, or dissolution


The CURC shall be chaired by a faculty member of the committee, who may be granted release time and will include the following additional members that will each have two-year appointments with the option for renewal:

  • Three principal investigators (PIs), at least one of whom is a CU Director (all must have a record of obtaining and managing externally funded projects and/or gifts, and should be from different departments, units, or colleges) selected in consultation with the Academic Senate Executive Committee.
  • Two faculty appointed by the Academic Senate Executive Committee.   
  • One Dean or Associate Dean or Other Administrator.
  • A member from the Risk Management Unit
  • The CEO of Chico State Enterprises

Note: At least one of the CURC members must have some expertise in both financial analysis and risk management. Ad hoc members may be appointed by the CURC chair if needed to provide this expertise for a defined period of time. No member of the committee may vote in decisions about a CU in which they, their department, or their college is affiliated.


Authorization to Plan and Establish

To establish a new CU, the proposed CU director should first consult with the leader(s) of the unit(s) where the CU will be established. The Provost’s/Vice President’s office also should be alerted with sufficient information about the plan to seek approval for the establishment of a new CU. Pending this initial consultation, the proposed CU director will submit to the Chair of the CURC a CU Establishment Application (see Appendix A) that shall include the following:

  • Relevance of the proposed CU’s mission, goals and objectives to the mission of Chico State, the CSU, the North State, and/or other key stakeholders.
  • Description of how the proposed CU differs from other existing CUs and units at Chico State, an explanation of why these cannot be met within the existing university structures and any proposed relationships among them.
  • Expected Organizational structure, including the composition of the CU’s Leadership Board, a description of the personnel needed and their responsibilities (including the name of the proposed director.
  • Proposed timeline for establishing the CU.  If a time-limited CU is proposed (e.g., one established only for the duration of certain external funding), provide estimated ‘sunset date.’  If on-going, estimated funding needed to initiate and sustain the proposed CU for seven years and potential sources of funding during that period.  Identify specifically what campus resources will be necessary to establish and maintain the CU.
  • Estimated space, facilities, and equipment needs and plans for meeting these needs.
  • An assessment of any actual or potential risks involved as well as a plan of how to manage such risks.
  • If relevant, information about the inter-institutional nature of the proposed CU with regard to mission, leadership, activities, funding, or other aspects.

Director/Leadership Board

In consultation with University Advancement and the appropriate administrator, the CU Director shall establish and maintain a Leadership Board whose charge is to identify opportunities for the CU, provide guidance for the CU’s future, and help establish opportunities for productive networking. The Leadership Board shall have a minimum of three members, at least one of which should be an external stakeholder (e.g., public, private, or community entity). The Leadership Board will meet at least once per year and the minutes will become part of the Annual Report (instructions detailed below).

CU Directors are responsible for the day-to-day programmatic, fiscal, and personnel recommendations or decisions associated with the CU. Whether the Director's position is that of faculty or non-faculty, the appointment is made in accordance with existing policies and procedures for such appointments. The qualifications of the proposed Director in the Request for Authorization to Plan shall be reviewed by the appropriate administrator(s) in advance of any decision. The appropriate administrator will have ultimate authority to appoint a Director or to propose an alternative selection. The Director may appoint associate or assistant directors, subject to approval of the appropriate administrative officer.

The CU Director will:

  • Consult with the appropriate administrator under which the CU is overseen;
  • Coordinate programmatic activities;
  • Manage financial matters, including sources of income, budget, and expenditures, in accordance with appropriate policies and sound practices;
  • Convene periodic Leadership Board meetings;
  • Respond to assessment and administrative program review processes;
  • Ensure the viability of the CU in meeting its objectives; and
  • Abide by the policies and procedures of the CSU and of the campus, as well as all state and federal regulations.

The Leadership Board will make recommendations to the CU and CU Director on programmatic direction(s). In consultation with the appropriate administrator or designee, the Director has ultimate hiring and fiscal responsibility. Directors oversee CU management, such as the appointing and staggering terms of board members, writing bylaws, formulating Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) or other governing documents, and general operations of the CU. 

The CURC will evaluate the Request for Authorization to Plan and Establish an CU and determine the most appropriate review and oversight bodies (in particular, relevant administration and faculty committees or members) from which to solicit comments and coordinate a comment period. At the conclusion of this period, the CURC will recommend to the appropriate administrator whether or not the new CU should go forward. After a review or consultation with the relevant stakeholders, and the Academic Senate, the President will make the final decision regarding the establishment of a new CU.


All CUs submit an Annual Report to the CURC by October 1. The Annual Report shall include content directly associated with the CU’s activities and how the CU contributed to each activity.  The format for reporting is provided in Appendix B.

Full financial accounting must include:

  • Detailed reporting of center income (grants/contracts, fee for service, program income, fixed price work, donations, state funds).
  • Expenditure information for the most recent fiscal year including personnel salaries and wages, operating expenses, equipment, travel, contractors, other costs, F&A and surplus use and balance.
  • CUs may have multiple sources of funding. If currently supported by Chico State general funds, CUs should also include progress towards independence from state support.
  • All sources of funds as well as the use of funds shall be identified in the Annual Report.

Seven-year Review of CUs (Continuation Review)

Active CUs must undergo regular review to ensure ongoing alignment with departmental, college and/or institutional missions and resources, success in accomplishing stated objectives, and sound fiscal status and practices. Management of an established CU includes monitoring and reviewing CU activities and plans through periodic contact and reporting, and modifying CU activities and plans as required. A CU must undergo a Continuation Review at least once every seven (7) years (see Appendix E). If, at any time, the CURC, or any relevant faculty, staff, or administrator (who may receive complaints from the campus community) has or have legitimate concerns about an CU’s operations or the CU Director, they may consult with the appropriate Provost or Vice President. Subsequently, the CU’s Director may either undergo a performance review and/or be asked to prepare a Request for Continuation prior to the end date of its term. If so, she or he will be given three months to submit materials. Copies of all notices, requests, reviews and recommendations shall be filed with Chico State Enterprises.

Additional or more frequent major evaluations may be necessary if mandated by the CURC, the President, the CU’s charter, bylaws, or funding agency.

To initiate the Continuation (Seven-Year) Review process, the CU Director will complete a self-study, using a format that is appropriate for the CU and agreed upon by the appropriate administrator(s) and Director. The purpose of the self-study is to collect data related to the CU’s goals and objectives, with specific attention to the reason for establishing the CU and the accountability plan. The self-study will focus on the following:

  • Mission, goals, and objectives, and their relationship to those of the university
  • The degree to which the CU’s mission, goals, and activities are unique
  • Significant accomplishments in the past seven years in research, instruction, public service and engagement, and/or other relevant productivity
  • Success in achieving the CU’s mission and reaching desired outcomes
  • How and to what extent the CU promotes interdisciplinary work
  • University and community partnerships (if applicable)
  • Client feedback as appropriate to the mission of the CU
  • Quality and quantity of scholarly and/or public service activity by faculty, professional staff, and students
  • Organizational structure, including number and types of personnel
  • Summary budget data for past seven years, including amount and sources of funding, changes in funding over the years, number and types of grants and contracts, and administrative costs
  • Responsible fiscal oversight demonstrating that the CU is being managed properly
  • Vision for the future of the CU, including program improvement plans

When the Director completes the self-study, the CURC will review the self-study documents and deliver recommendations to the appropriate administrator(s). The seven-year report will address the following:

  • The degree to which the mission of the CU is realistic, feasible, and capable of meeting the needs of the university and wider community
  • The extent to which the CU’s mission, goals, and activities are distinct from other CUs or university units
  • The degree of success in achieving the CU’s mission and reaching desired outcomes
  • Adequacy of programs and initiatives in fulfilling research, instruction, and/or public service missions and meeting the needs of constituents and stakeholders
  • Quality of the student experience and success in career placement (if applicable)
  • Effectiveness of leadership, organizational structure, and administrative resources
  • Quality of institutional relationships
  • Adequacy of funding and facilities; for recently-established CUs, congruence of current budget with budget proposed at inception
  • Description and amount of space currently occupied
  • Acquisition of equipment, instrumentation, or other tangible assets of a permanent or semi-permanent nature with a value in excess of $5,000
  • The program’s plans for the future and the feasibility of the plans
  • Recommendations for improving academic and administrative effectiveness

The appropriate administrator(s) will then add their comments and recommendations to those of the reviewers and forward the self-study, the reviewers’ report, and the administrator(s)’ comments to the CURC, which will review all the documents and make its recommendations. All recommendations will be compiled and made available to the Academic Senate along with an Executive Summary regarding (1) the CU’s continued viability, (2) an action plan for changes or improvements, and (3) a timeline for the next review. The CURC and other levels of review may recommend that the CU be discontinued. Upon completion of the review, the Academic Senate will submit a recommendation to the President, who will make the ultimate decision on the CU’s status, in accordance with CSU policy. If a CU is granted continuation, its term will be extended for a period of up to seven additional years before another review is required. This decision will be communicated to relevant campus parties.  All review materials shall be centrally archived in the Provost’s Office.

Suspended or Discontinuation of CUs (see Appendix D)

A CU may be suspended or discontinued for a variety of reasons, including lack of fiscal resources for sustainability, termination of a supporting grant or award, lack of alignment with departmental, college, or institutional missions or objectives, or other extraordinary circumstances. Following a major review or upon a formal written request from the appropriate administrator(s) explaining the need to suspend or eliminate the CU, the CURC may recommend to the Academic Senate that the CU be suspended or discontinued. If the Academic Senate determines that suspension or discontinuation is warranted, it will make a recommendation to the President. A CU may also be placed on probation with the stipulation that deficiencies be corrected within a specific period of time. The President may discontinue a CU for any of the reasons or circumstances mentioned above.

The appropriate administrator(s), in collaboration with the CU Director, will develop a plan for phasing out or reinstating the unit to allow for orderly termination or transfer of contractual obligations. The phase-out period may not be for more than one year after the end of the academic year in which final approval is given to discontinue the CU.

Merging of CUs

To maximize efficiency, to create synergies, and for financial reasons, CUs may be merged with one another. While new CUs need to follow the process for establishment as outlined above, existing CUs may be merged through a less onerous process. Similar to the process outlined earlier in this document above for the Discontinuation of CUs, the appropriate administrator(s) need(s) to make a formal written request to the CURC that justifies and supports the merging of specific CUs. The CURC may then recommend to the Academic Senate that the CUs be merged into a new CU. If the Academic Senate determines that the merger is warranted, it will make a recommendation to the President, who makes the final determination.

Other Applicable Policies

This coded memorandum does not supersede any other applicable policies that apply to CUs, including the Integrated CSU Administrative Manual (ICSUAM 13680.0), coded memoranda, or any other applicable CSU policies.


Appendix A: CU Establishment Application (PDF)

Appendix B: Annual Report (PDF)

Appendix C: CU Bylaws (PDF)

Appendix D: CU Suspension or Dissolution Application (PDF)

Appendix E: Seven-Year Review Template (PDF)

To Review a pdf version of EM 19-026. (PDF)