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Faculty Forum Papers

November 1975 - Standards For An Evaluation
By
Margaret Lumpkin

October 31, 1975

The rationale for a review of a President (or Chancellor, Dean or Department Head) of a state supported institution of Higher Education is similar to that of the review of faculty members. One immediate value is the identification of areas in which the person is performing with distinction. Recognition should be accorded to that performance. Another immediate value lies in assessing the performance of the individual with resulting definition of areas needing improvement. An ultimate value is to be able to re-assess the performance at a later time and to assess progress or lack there-of in areas that formerly were designated as needing improvement. Of course, there are other values.

It is not possible to obtain a balanced, representative view of a University President (or other administrative officers) by a hit or miss evaluation by the faculty. Only some of those who actively support or actively oppose the President will take pen in hand to reply to the committee. Obviously, neither the axe-grinders nor the enthusiastic supporters can give the type of information that can be dignified by calling it an evaluation.

In order to be consistent with current and proposed procedures for evaluation of faculty, I suggest that a systematic evaluation of the President be made which utilizes the following elements:

1.   Use of objective instrument based on the guidelines and designed by a faculty       committee with acknowledged expertise in the design of such instruments.
2.   All faculty with academic rank be sent the questionnaire; i.e., all persons eligible to       vote in Faculty Senate elections.
3.   If legal (an Attorney General's opinion is presently being requested), the       evaluations should have the same degree of anonymity as student evaluations of the       President or of student evaluations of Professors.
4.   The summary of the evaluations should be available to board members, interested       citizenry, students, and faculty, and may be released without the consent of the       President. (From many points of view, I am not certain that I agree with this       disclosure; however, it is consistent with proposed OSBHE policy).
The standards set by the committee to evaluate the President are of critical importance in establishing the criteria for review procedures for all administrators in Higher Education. Since our President is first of the higher level administrators to be evaluated, we are thrust into a leadership position. I urge the committee to lead in openness and fairness through the adoption of the same type of procedures by which the faculty is judged.