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Faculty Forum Papers

March 1976 - "In House" Evaluations By

Margaret Lumpkin

February 27, 1976

    It is apparent that an "in house" evaluation of a President or of a Chancellor is not an evaluation at all. Accountability must be impartially and methodically assessed. To rely primarily on employees to assess their employer is procedurally suspect and will not establish credibility with Oregon taxpayers.

    University administrators have frequently compared university management with corporate management. However, in the evaluation process, the President and the State Board seem to be satisfied with a procedure used to evaluate faculty, not corporate management. Faculty is evaluated at periodic intervals by students, peers, and supervisors. For a President or a Chancellor, there is no closely associated peer group or superior group of professionals within the system. Accountability of an administrator is a vital to Oregonians as the accountability of faculty.

    Following the State System's analogy of corporate management one step further, a management consultant firm specializing in evaluation of higher education should be employed. The most recently reported use of a management consulting firm in Oregon was 1969-70 Legislative Fiscal Committee's employment of Warren King and Associates, a Chicago based firm, to complete a study entitled "Management Review and Analysis of Public Higher Education in Oregon".

    A qualified management consulting firm will surely rely on a systematic faculty evaluation as one factor in an objective, organized evaluation of a president. In addition, certain other aspects of management review will be assessed. Policies dealing with management, personnel, communications, long range planning and staffing will be examined. Financial management, budgetary controls and general managerial controls will be assessed also. A pervious Oregon State System of Higher Education study included an assessment of the interfacing between the executive and the public, the legislature, and the Oregon State Board of Higher Education.

    The vast expenditures of state funds for higher education warrants the expenditure of a fraction of a percent for an evaluation of the managers of Oregon's Institutions of Higher Education, individually as well as collectively.

    Oregon State, as the state's first university to evaluate a president, must be the leader in the evaluative process. An "in house" evaluation is suspect to all; an external evaluation is clearly required. The schools of Business and the Chancellor's Office can recommend nationally know private management consulting firms, the State Board of Higher Education can direct the firm to assess the stewardship of a President (or Chancellor), the faculty can responsibly fulfill its role as one facet of the evaluative procedure, and the public will be assured that an unbiased assessment of accountability has occurred.

    Let us individually and collectively urge the State Board of Higher Education to rescind the decision to keep the evaluation of President MacVicar "in house" and, instead, to authorize an externally directed evaluation.