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First senior staff complete evaluations

It's only the second week of school, but senior administrators are getting their final report cards. 

A group of senior officers at Central Michigan University received the results of a 360 Leadership Development Assessment this week. 

The evaluations are part of the shared governance agreement signed in the spring of 2013 by administrators and Academic Senate leaders. Shared governance allows for open communication between different groups at the university, including faculty and administrators.

The 360 degree evaluations are designed to collect information from multiple people, including supervisors, peers and subordinates, to be a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of CMU's upper management.

"The goal is to measure the leadership competencies and provide a report that can be used to develop an action plan for that particular leader," said Kevin Love, a consultant on the project and management department faculty member.

Members of the Academic Senate supported the evaluations as a way to help develop leadership skills in the senior administrators. Fixed-term, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty are all evaluated in a similar 360 degree format, being evaluated by students, the department chairpersons and deans. 

"I think (senior administrator evaluations are) the big one many people on campus were happy to see this year," Christie Brookes told Central Michigan Life after an April Academic Senate meeting. "Senior officer evaluations are the beginning of something. We need to come up with something that's manageable, but not over-cumbersome."

It's still "a little early" to see how well the initiative is working, Love said. Now that the group has received its evaluations, participants will need to sit down with a supervisor, look at individual reports and interpret them.

This will take another three to four weeks because of the time consuming nature of the venture, Love said. For example, each of the deans of CMU's colleges will have to sit down with Provost Michael Gealt, requiring quite a bit of scheduling gymnastics.

The first group consists of staff associated with the academic colleges, Love said, as well as athletics, the President's office, and Provost. 

The second group, scheduled to receive its reports mid-October, will include senior staff from graduate studies, the Charles V. Park Library, Global Campus, academic affairs, institutional diversity and information technology. The third group includes the General Counsel’s Office, University Communications, enrollment and student services, finance and administrative services and development and external relations is set for mid-February 2015.

The program is run through Denison Consulting, a research-based company based in Ann Arbor. Their model is also utilized by Fortune 500 companies across the world to provide a reliable assessment of leadership competency.

The 360 degree survey focused on four of 12 leadership behaviors that have been shown by research to predict high performance in their staff. These leadership traits include adaptability, mission, consistency and involvement.

CMU has done 360 performance reviews one time in the past, said Lori Hella, associate vice president of Human Resources, although it has been awhile. She said she has been a support role for Love and Misty Bennett, the other faculty consultant and a management department faculty member. 

"We're hoping to get some feedback on the value (administrators) are getting," Hella said.

Although some students are featured in the surveys, the majority of the student body is not. This is because most students do not have the opportunity to see senior officials' leadership skills in work, Love said.

The survey does include input from student workers, however. 

"This was not intended to be a public opinion poll; there's nothing out that there that would preclude the deans or anyone else from doing it themselves," Love said. "This was specifically designed to be an assessment of leadership competencies where raters would have plenty of first-hand experience."  


About Malachi Barrett

Editor-in-Chief Malachi Barrett is Battle Creek senior majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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