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Faculty Senate looks into administrative evaluation process

November 20, 2008

Members of the Faculty Senate have begun looking into the idea of implementing administrative evaluations at UW-River Falls.

“The Faculty Welfare Committee has been charged with creating a method that administrative evaluations could be potentially implemented at UWRF,” Faculty Senate Chair David Rainville said.

Administrative evaluations are currently in place at various schools across the UW System, with the chancellor, provost, vice-chancellors and deans being evaluated, according to Rainville.

Three weeks ago, Rainville went to Madison to meet with UW System administrators and faculty representatives to see how administrative evaluations are conducted at other schools. He said that in many cases, there is a faculty senate committee or equivalent group that has been created for the sole purpose of administering the evaluations and overseeing the evaluation process.

At some schools, administration members are evaluated in the areas of leadership, management and external funding, among others, and then a report of the evaluation is filed. In some schools, the reports are available for any faculty or administration member to see, whereas in others, the reports are only available on a “needs basis.”

“I definitely think that evaluations where people can have some input on how they feel the administrators are doing is very important,” Interim Chancellor Connie Foster said. “The feedback can be used to help people improve in their positions, as well as call attention to those who are doing an outstanding job.”

Rainville said that the University used to have an administrative evaluation process when Gary Thibodeau served as chancellor, but it was suddenly disbanded. If administrative evaluations make a return to UWRF, Rainville said he is not sure exactly how they would run.

“The Faculty Welfare Committee would be in charge of determining the details of how they think the evaluation process should be carried out,” he said. “The idea is still in its early stages, but we have been looking at how other universities operate their [administrative evaluation] processes and trying to determine what would work for this University.”

Because professors are able to evaluate students through giving grades, and students are able to evaluate their professors at the end of the semester, UWRF junior Becky Gaiovnik said she thinks implementing an administrative evaluation process would be an asset to students, faculty and administration.

“I think it’s a great idea to do evaluations of the administration,” she said. “It makes them more accountable for their actions if something should happen.” 

If passed, an administrative evaluation process could conceivably go into effect next semester, though Rainville noted that it probably is not likely to happen that soon, as the committee is still in the early stages of working out the plan’s details.

Foster agreed, and said that a timeline for the implementation of an administrative evaluation process “depends on when we receive it.”