Presidential review method changes from Rao to Ross

The method used to conduct the presidential review has changed from previous years.

Former University President Mike Rao was evaluated twice on the basis of an online survey sent out through campus. This is compared to current plans for 75 face-to-face interviews to be conducted in mid-November to review the performance of current University President George Ross.

Mary Jane Flanagan, executive assistant to the president, said the different approach can be explained very simply.

"Every board is different and every situation is different," she said. "They do what is best for that time."

John Hurd, trustee and member of the presidential review committee, said there were only 1,700 respondents to the online survey for Rao, which translates to about 3 percent of all individuals contacted. This means a total of approximately 56,000 people received the survey and had an opportunity to take it.

"(The survey) went out to everybody in the university community, everybody that had a address," he said. "It went out to more than 2,300 alumni, too."

The questions on the survey were the same as those used in the previous 2003 review done for Rao, Hurd said.

"The questions were in five categories: effectiveness, visionary, external relations, academic leadership and commitment to diversity," Hurd said. "(Rao) received very high positive ratings in all of those categories."

The five categories of assessment used in the survey were created as a part of a leadership profile in 1999 when the search for a new president first began, Flanagan said.

Flanagan said consistency in the questions between 2003 and 2006 was important to make the survey results more meaningful.

"The same survey questions were asked in 2006 as in 2003," she said. "That gave the board the advantage, since they were evaluating the same president, to be able to compare the results from 2006 to 2003."

Though the methods are different, Flanagan said both the online survey and the face-to-face interviews have their advantages.

"There's an advantage to sitting down in a room and getting that feedback one-on-one," she said. "There's also an advantage for the online survey with getting more people. It's a toss-up"


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