Address to the Board of Control on April 29, 2011
Chair Richardson and members of the board; distinguished audience
We would like to first inform you of the results of the evaluation conducted recently on the President and the executive team.† The opportunity to evaluate the administration is an important faculty and staff function, which, if conducted carefully, can give faculty and staff a stronger sense of participation in the governance of the university.† More importantly, it could lead to an institution that is more efficiently organized.† President Mroz has almost always insisted on these evaluations and this speaks volumes to the mature and responsive type of government with which he runs the institution.† Indeed he participates by preparing a summary of accomplishments, contributing questions and reviewing the entire evaluation before it is distributed to faculty and staff.† We have had difficulty judging the value of this process since in previous years less than 20% of evaluations were returned.† One could claim that this low response rate was itself indicative of an institution that is being properly run since perhaps some may have felt that if there is nothing worth complaining about, why complete this task.† On the opposite side of this is the claim that it does not matter what anyone says, it does not make a difference.† We in the Senate reject this and have tried over the years to assure people that these evaluations are important.† During the last few years we have implemented different evaluation mechanisms seeking to illicit a greater rate of response.†
Some strategies are outlined on this slide.† The end result of these trials is that we have settled on the Survey Monkey which allows for questions and a space for commentary after each question.† We arranged for a summary of these evaluations by the Senateís Administrative Policy Committee to be presented during the Senate meeting which was attended by President Mroz and this summary is also available on the Senateís website in keeping with the traditional practice.† It is important to note that if the faculty and staff see none of the results of the evaluations, a sense of mistrust and futility may result.† We believe that the strategies we have followed this year, namely, having the President directly address the evaluation in the Senate on April 20th and also distributing these comments unedited only to you and the President will increase confidence in this system and result in more meaningful insights into the running of this institution. †Incidentally, this mechanism of distribution is not detailed in Senate Procedure 503.1.1.† We will review this circumstance next fall with Provost Seelwith the intention of formalizing this procedure.†
Our current survey strategy does appear to be somewhat successful as the response rate has increased over the years and we are now up to about a 37% response rate.† The one drawback is the length of the commentary at 160 condensed pages.†
This next slide depicts the breakdown of the responses.† Unfortunately we have 115 responses of unknown status.† The total at 518 completed evaluations is equivalent to the 37 % response rate.† The exact numbers of employees is also not clear.† In any case, I would just like to give you the Senateís perspective of these results.† It is as you know important to provide some sort of historical insight into the data and President Mroz in recognition of this provides for an identical set of questions to be listed.†
This slide shows the data from the 2009-2010 evaluation and the next depicts that from this year's.† Noting the fact that both lines decrease significantly from left to right, the scores from the faculty have increased for most of these questions.† At the same time, the scores from the responses of those claiming to represent the administration have decreased.†
One conclusion from this next slide could be that the administration emphasizes research possibly at the expense of teaching and service.† Part of this problem we believe is a lack of communication since it is clear that the University has to improve in research so as to present a more competitive and desirable outlook for prospective undergraduate students. This should allow the university to distinguish itself from among the other universities down south which have chosen recently to offer engineering degrees. We believe that the university should continue its efforts to enhance undergraduate teaching while at the same time doing more to convince students and employers of the importance of current research objectives.
These next slides depict various aspects of administrative affairs, personnel and balance and diversity.† On this slide, we note a pronounced divergence between the scores by the administration and the rest.† One possible conclusion from this is that we do need to work on our undergraduate programs and that the responses to question 23 were possibly confused in the sense that the administrative responders answered this question as if diversity was being promoted, which it is, whereas the responses from Faculty and Staff addressed the reality of the situation.
Presidentís Mrozís own questions illustrate the fact as seen on this slide that his campus fora are reasonably well attended, about roughly 75% of responders think we are doing the same or better than most universities and about 65% read his statement before filling out the survey.† Therefore from this, the Senate concludes that it is the collective opinion of the 518 souls who responded that under President Mroz the university has continued to make good progress under difficult financial circumstances.†
As I have mentioned previously, we did have many presentations this last year in the senate and a summary of these is presented in the next series of slides.† It is important to note that there were several meetings held between members of the executive and various senate committees as illustrated on this slide and we also continued the process of having the winners of our teaching and research awards make presentations to the Senate.†
Indeed we now feature a picture as seen on this slide which depicts the work of our research award recipient on the Senate main page.
During the course of the previous year, various executives also presented material to the senate as shown on this slide.† This is a very important function since it serves to communicate information to the faculty and staff and, in some cases, allows for suggestions to be made to effect meaningful and substantive change to some of these proposals.† It is also very important as a vehicle to distribute information in an official capacity.
We also heard from representatives of our graduate and undergraduate student reps and in summary had the numbers of meetings illustrated on this slide.† It is noteworthy that in addition to all these various presentations, the Senate and its various committees deliberated on at least 52 proposals.†
These are shown in detail on the next three slides, slide 1, slide 2, slide 3 and as you can see many of these proposals address the issue of eliminating and shelving of programs.† Many of these degrees were not offered for decades and it made no sense to have these still listed on the books.† I am not certain if this was a comprehensive cleansing of our programs and we stand ready to shelve and eliminate more depending on what Provost Seel discovers.†
Finally we note that the administration did approve proposals 5-11 and 6-11 which addressed the contentious issues of governance at the departmental level and the searching and evaluation of Chairs respectively.† The Senate looks forward to the implementation of these proposals and we are prepared to address any problems that may arise as a consequence of their implementation.† While the inner workings of the administration remain unknown, we acknowledge and are grateful for the efforts of Provost Seel in effecting the realization of these proposals.† Indeed one can conclude that the numerous interactions that I have mentioned here resulted in the increased participation in the Presidential Evaluation this year.† In itself this could be a sign of the healthy nature of the collaboration between the administration and the faculty and staff.
Unfortunately I need to rush off to pick up my wife and drive 10.5 hours to attend a graduation ceremony for our son down south.† I will also not be able to attend the festivities tomorrow but my good friend Professor Emeritus Marshall Logue will substitute and assist in the hooding of my two PhD graduates.† Logue was an invaluable source of advice over the years for me and my two students both in chemistry and other aspects as well.
Thanks for listening.