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Proposal 16-15

The University Senate of Michigan Technological University

PROPOSAL 16-15 (revised March 2015) (amended April 2015)
(Voting Units: Full Senate)

"Annual Community Feedback to the University Leadership" 

PDF Version of Proposal 16-15

I. Introduction

The Senate Administrative Policy Committee introduced this proposal on November 19, 2014. The proposal has been significantly revised based on input received by the committee and motions passed by the Senate on January 21, 2015.

The current evaluation procedure for the University president, Senate Procedure 503.1.1, has a long history. The first attempt to develop a procedure for evaluating the University president was Senate Proposal 2-89b, which was approved by the Senate but not by the administration. The first proposal approved by both the Senate and the administration was Proposal 2-94, which was superseded by Proposal 42-04. Finally, Proposal 20-08 amended Proposal 42-04 to include, along with Senate constituents, represented (i.e. unionized) staff in the evaluation of the president.

However, the current composition of the Senate’s Administrative Policy Committee, which is charged with supervising the President’s Evaluation, lacks such diverse participation. This lack of diversity is contrary to the inclusive approach applied in the evaluation procedures of college deans, school deans, and department chairs. The quality of feedback will be better if the concerns of the participating constituencies are reflected in the annual procedure. It is also likely that the response rate to the survey will improve because the participating constituencies will feel more empowered if their representatives are included on the feedback coordinating committee.

The University president can only be evaluated by the Board of Control. The process that is conducted under the title of “President’s Evaluation” is in reality an annual university community feedback to the University leadership. This proposal reflects this reality and also calls for a more diverse cross section of Michigan Tech employees to serve on the committee that coordinates this annual feedback.

University leadership is defined as the University president, provost, and all the vice presidents.

This proposal supersedes proposal 42-04 and replaces the current senate procedure 503.1.1 with the one described in this proposal. 

II. Charge

The committee coordinating community feedback will be referred to as C3F in this proposal for purposes of brevity. It will be a subcommittee of Senate Administrative Policy Committee whose sole charge will be to conduct a survey of all regular non-student university employees, write a report, and disseminate the report as described in this proposal.

The subcommittee will operate by consensus whenever possible. However, each member of the committee has the right to contribute a dissenting opinion to be included in the formal report. Unlike the Senate standing committees, all members of the C3F have the right to vote.

III. Membership

The membership of C3F will be as follows:

  1. An administrator who is a senate constituent elected by the administrator group defined in Section V. The Senate will facilitate this election.

  2. Three faculty members elected by the Senate: one from the College of Engineering, one from the College of Science and Arts, and one from the three schools.

  3. Three staff members: one from professional staff in academic units; one from professional staff in administrative units, elected by the Senate; and one represented staff member, elected by the Staff Council.

  4. When appropriate, the C3F may choose to include a consultant who is familiar with the survey methodology, called “the expert” in this proposal.

    The Senate president, working with the chair of the Senate Administrative Policy Committee, will ensure that the seven core members of C3F are elected by the last week of spring semester and, hence, C3F is prepared to conduct the survey the following academic year.

    By the end of the third week of fall semester, the chair of the Senate Administrative Policy Committee will call the first meeting of C3F, describe the committee’s charge, provide each member with a copy of these procedures, and leave the committee to begin its work. The subcommittee will then elect a chair (separate from the Administrative Policy Committee chair). The C3F chair will be a member of the Senate constituency. The committee will review this procedure and establish its operating protocol.

    If the committee has any doubts about the implementation of these procedures, the chair of C3F should seek clarification from the chair of the Senate Administrative Policy Committee.

IV. Term

Generally committee members will have two-year, renewable terms for a maximum of four years of continuous service.

The terms of the members should be staggered to provide continuity on the committee. Some members may be given 1 or 3 year terms to provide appropriate stagger in the membership. The Senate Administrative Policy Committee will decide on the start and end of the member’s term to facilitate the staggered membership.

V.  Survey Constituency

All regular non-student university employees will be asked to participate in the survey. Any employee not included in the survey can inform the Senate president of the oversight—the Senate executive committee will then decide in which category the individual will be included for the purpose of the survey. Here are the four categories of employees (heretofore referred to as “constituent groups”) marked for participation in the survey:

  1. Represented Staff

    This constituency consists of all staff members represented by bargaining units.

  2. Faculty

    This category consists of all faculty in the Senate constituency.

  3. Professional Staff

    This category consists of all professional staff in the Senate constituency.

  4. Administrator

    This category will consist of all administrators who are not in the university leadership defined in Section I. For data analysis, this group will be split into two categories: those who are Senate constituents and those who are not.

VI.  Documents from the University President

The chair of C3F will set an appointment with the University president before the end of November and request the following documents:

  1. A letter from the Chair of the Board of Control describing how the information from the evaluation process is used by the Board.

  2. A flow chart of the University administrative structure.

  3. A self- evaluation report of the University leadership.

  4. The areas of responsibility of all vice presidents.

  5. A set of questions from the president to include in the survey.

    The president will send the above documents to the chair of C3F by the end of first week of spring semester.

VII. Survey Instrument

The entry page to the survey instrument will contain links to the documents listed in Section VI. It should also describe the process of conducting the survey, which will ensure the anonymity and confidentiality of the respondent.

Responses to all questions on the survey instrument will be optional, and the respondent will not be prevented from completing the survey if (s)he chooses not to answer a question, including those related to demographics. This should be clearly stated on the entry page.

A survey of each constituent group will be conducted separately; however, all of these surveys will be conducted simultaneously. Each survey instrument will have three parts:

  1. A set of questions that reflects issues important to each of the constituent groups. These questions may change to reflect the changing environment.

  2. A set of questions common to all of the survey instruments. The C3F committee will determine the content of these questions.

  3. A set of questions provided by the University president.

For data analysis there will be five survey groups that may or may not have different survey instruments. The five survey groups are (i) Faculty, (ii) Professional staff, (iii) Represented staff, (iv) Administrators who are Senate constituents, and (v) Administrators who are not Senate constituents. It is the responsibility of each member to ensure that their constituents have an opportunity to provide input to them.

Each survey instrument will have questions for scaled responses and questions that call for comments by the respondents. The expert will design the survey instruments based on the content gathered.

The committee will make a preliminary decision on each survey instrument and then send it to each of its constituents. The constituents will have one week to provide input to the committee. The committee will then make the final decision on all of the survey instruments.

VIII.  Conducting of the survey

The Senate Administrative Assistant (SAA), under the guidance of the expert, will conduct the survey electronically. Each member of the committee will be responsible for ensuring that the SAA has the e-mail addresses of their constituents.

The survey will be conducted for at least seven days, starting by Monday of the third week of the spring semester.

IX.  Results of the survey and the report

Within seven days of the conclusion of the survey, the SAA will electronically send the results of the survey to the chair of C3F and to the expert. The chair of the committee, in consultation with the expert, will inform the SAA when to purge the responses from the computer system. This should be done as soon as possible in order to bolster confidence in the anonymity and confidentiality of the responses.

The expert will conduct a statistical analysis of the scaled responses and will write a brief overview of the results for the committee.

The chair of C3F will distribute the results of the survey to the committee members. It is the responsibility of each committee member to ensure the security of these results.

The committee will establish a common format for processing comments. Each constituent group will identify common trends in the comments and provide the full committee with appropriate contexts for trends in the comments.

No verbatim comments will be included in the body of the report. The committee will place all comments in the appendix of the report, except for those containing personal attacks, names of individuals, or unprofessional language. The C3F will determine whether a comment qualifies as appropriate for inclusion in the appendix.

Within four weeks of the conclusion of the survey, the committee will compile a report and a set of recommendations for improvements based on the survey results. This report and all the unedited comments (including those flagged as inappropriate) will be sent to the University president. The president will have four weeks to write his/her reply to the report, including a plan for implementing the recommendations in the report.

The report, the appendix of comments and the president’s reply will henceforth be referred to as “the report.”

X. Dissemination of the Report

The report will be disseminated as follows:

  1. The report will be posted on a Michigan Tech, ISO-password-protected, Senate website. It will be set up such that it cannot be copied, downloaded, or printed.

  2. The president will send a copy of the report to the Board of Control with her/his memo. The memo will be copied to the Senate president and to all members of the C3F.

  3. By the end of April, the Senate president will organize and moderate an open forum for all University employees. When possible, Michigan Tech employees will be excused from their work in order to attend this forum. The C3F will present its findings, which will be followed by the president’s presentation and questions from the audience. The forum will be videotaped and posted next to the report on the ISO-password-protected Senate website.

XI. Recommendations for Improving the Evaluation Process

The C3F will write a memo for improving this procedure and send it to the University and Senate presidents.

Appendix A: Time line

An approximate time line is described below. C3F may make adjustment as it sees fit.

  1. The Senate president will organize a forum for discussion of the report before the end of April.

  2. The University president has four weeks to reply to the report.

  3. The SAA sends the results to the committee chair and to the expert within seven calendar days of the conclusion of the survey. The committee chair will inform the SAA when to purge the responses from the computer system

  4. The University president sends all of the documents listed in Documents from the University president to the chair of C3F before the beginning of spring semester.

  5. The committee works on the creation of the survey instruments and on gathering e-mail addresses of survey participants.

  6. The members of the C3F elected by last week of spring semester.

  7. First meeting of the C3F called by the chair of Administrative Policy Committee before the end of third week of the fall semester. The committee elects its chair and establishes its operating protocol.

  8. The chair of C3F meets with the University president by the end of November.

  9. The survey is launched by Monday of the third week of the spring semester. The survey is conducted for at least seven days.

  10. C3F will create a report on the results of the survey within four weeks of the conclusion of the survey and will send this report to the University president along with all comments.

  11. The report will be disseminated as described in Section X.

  12. The committee will send a memo to the University and Senate presidents for improving this procedure by the end of spring semester.

Introduced to Senate:  19 November 2014
Referred back to committee: 10 December 2014
Revised and Reintroduced: 18 March 2015
Amended (in blue):  01 April 2015
Referred back to committee:  15 April 2015