Academics / Administration / University

A-Senate: Senior officer evaluations to start soon as part of shared governance

Provost Michael Gealt speaks to the A-Senate in Brooks Hall March 4, 2014. (Morgan Taylor/Assistant Photo Editor)

Provost Michael Gealt speaks to the A-Senate in Brooks Hall March 4, 2014. (Morgan Taylor/Assistant Photo Editor)

Evaluations of 40 senior officers at Central Michigan University are set to start in the next 60 days.

The evaluations are a part of the shared governance agreement signed in the spring of 2013 by administrators and Academic Senate leaders.

“We’ve been working through the department of human resources here at CMU,” said University President George Ross during the A-Senate meeting Tuesday. “I’ve engaged some consultants to help with the governance for 360 (degree) assessments of senior officers here on campus. They are working through the process of it.”

Ross said he hopes to have the evaluations for the senior officers, including vice presidents and associate vice presidents, completed by spring 2015.

“I met with them in the last three weeks and (I am) seeing their … penultimate report within the next week or so,” he said. “I first went into HR with the consultants about it. I was concerned about the timing of it all and how we would stagger these reviews within that period of time.”

Members of the Shared Governance and Communications Committee said they were happy the evaluations are starting to move forward.

“I think (senior officer evaluations are) the big one many people on campus were happy to see this year,” said Christi Brookes, the SGCC chairwoman and chairwoman of the foreign languages, literatures & cultures department. “Senior officer evaluations are the beginning of something. We need to come up with something that’s manageable, but not over-cumbersome.”

Fixed-term, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty members are all evaluated in the 360 degree format, being evaluated by students, the department chairpersons and deans. Brookes said keeping the lines of communication open is important for the evaluations to keep shared governance standards.

“We need to communicate about this more,” she said. “There would be some bottom up input for these. We need to make sure it happens quickly.”

The SGCC also discussed adding fixed-term faculty to A-Senate.

Brookes said the committee has revisited the discussion, but has not come to any conclusions about what the next steps should be.

“It’s not a faculty senate; we’re missing fixed-term faculty,” she said. “On that same level, not everyone attends Academic Senate meetings. There are others outside of campus that aren’t represented as well.”

Brookes said the SGCC will continue to look at how to include fixed-term faculty members in A-Senate, adding their voice to shared governance.

When shared governance was being discussed in a previous A-Senate meeting on Feb. 22, 2013, the A-Senate brought speakers to CMU to discuss shared governance at an administrative level. Terrence MacTaggart, a senior fellow at the Association of Governing Boards, suggested the construction of a physical space for all members of the campus community to meet and converse.

Brookes believes the space could help communication between both sides. Members of the SGCC have suggested creating such a place.

“You need a place for socialization,” Brookes said. “These are things that are cited. There used to be a place we could do this.”

Brookes said the main goal for the SGCC is to come up with suggestions for the administrators and faculty to work together.

“Basically, we’re trying to come up with the best practices for making decisions,” she said. “We don’t make decisions for the community. We make suggestions.”

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