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Proposal 1-17

The University Senate of Michigan Technological University

Proposal 1-17 
(Voting Units: Full Senate)

“Proposed Revisions to Senate Procedures 507.1.1, Procedure to Enhance Confidentiality and Anonymity in Department Chairs/School Deans Review Surveys and Balloting”

PDF version of Proposal 1-17

Proposal

The University Administration proposes that Senate Procedures 507.1.1, “Procedure to Enhance Confidentiality and Anonymity in Department Chairs/School Deans Review Surveys and Balloting,” be changed so that it recommends rather than requires Senate assistance in administering surveys and ballots. The rationale for this proposed change is that it will allow units to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to avail themselves of the Senate’s assistance. Proposed modifications to the existing procedures are as indicated below. 

Proposed Revisions to Senate Procedures 507.1.1

I.  Background 

This procedure formalizes recommendations for conducting survey and reappointment ballots during a department chair/school dean review. The procedure is designed to enhance the security, confidentiality, and anonymity of the review process.

It is recommended that the unit’s chair/dean review committee will give its survey instruments and its list of constituents (in electronic form) to the University Senate’s administrative assistant who will then use a secure online tool to conduct the constituent survey and an electronic ballot for the unit, and then deliver the results back to the review committee. 

Several electronic survey tools are available. Because the intent of this procedure is to improve the process, no particular tool is recommended. Hence, the University Senate’s Administrative Policy Committee should select the best available tool with the advice of experts in Michigan Tech’s information services. All efforts should be made to ensure the anonymity of the respondents. For example, the tool shall not record the computer identity (name, MAC address, IP address, etc.) of the respondents.

II.  Procedure for Survey Conducted with Senate Assistance 

  1. The unit chair/dean review committee will design the survey instrument and prepare the unit constituents’ email address list in electronic form. If faculty and staff are to be surveyed separately then two lists, one for the faculty and another for the staff, must be submitted. The unit review committee will also submit the email list of all the members of the unit review committee, identifying its chair and the external member. The survey instruments for faculty and staff can be different (Senate Procedure 506.1.1).
  2. The unit chair/dean review committee will submit the constituent email list and survey instrument to the Senate administrative assistant at least ten working days before the conduct of the survey.
  3. The Senate administrative assistant will prepare an electronic survey instrument following the design intent of the unit’s review committee. Comments for questions will be collected separately from Likert-scale responses.
  4. Within five working days from the submission date, the Senate administrative assistant will send a copy of the survey instrument to all members of the unit’s chair/dean review committee for final approval. The chair of the unit’s review committee will inform the Senate administrative assistant of any changes to the survey instrument and will specify the start date for the survey.
  5. On the specified start date, the Senate administrative assistant will send eligible constituents an email message with a link to the online survey, and the survey will remain open for seven calendar days.
  6. The Senate administrative assistant will send the results of the survey to the chair of the unit’s chair/dean review committee and the external member of the committee. These two members will acknowledge to the Senate administrative assistant the receipt of the results, after which the administrative assistant will purge all responses from the online survey tool within five working days. The Senate administrative assistant will update the survey instrument posted on the Senate website for future use by the Michigan Tech community. 

III. Procedure for the Reappointment Ballot Conducted with Senate Assistance 

  1. The chair of the unit’s chair/dean review committee will notify the Senate administrative assistant to conduct the ballot for reappointment via an online survey tool.
  2. The Senate administrative assistant will conduct the ballot within two working days of the notification. The balloting will remain open for seven calendar days.
  3. As per Senate Procedure 506.1.1, the ballot will read as follows: 

(Name of department chair/school dean) should be reappointed or continue as the chair of the department/school: 

Yes —  No —  Abstain —

  1. The Senate administrative assistant will email the results to the chair of the unit’s chair/dean review committee and the external member of the committee within two working days of the conclusion of the survey. The chair of the chair/dean review committee will acknowledge to the senate administrative assistant receipt of the results, after which the administrative assistant will purge all responses from the online survey tool within five working days. The results should record the number of electronic ballots sent out, the number of votes received, and the breakdown of the number of votes received (Yes, No, and Abstain).

 IV.  Entry Page of Survey/Ballot

The entry page for the survey/ballot should read as follows: 

“This survey/ballot is being conducted by the University Senate on behalf of [department/school name] in review of [administrator name, administrator title]. No identifying information (computer name, user name, computer IP or MAC addresses, etc.) is stored. All comments are stored in a common bin; hence, no pattern can be discerned from your responses. At the end of survey/ballot, the results will be sent to the chair and external member of the [chair/dean] review committee of your [department/school], and all survey records will be purged.” 

[Insertion of any additional information requested by the unit review committee may follow.] 

Introduced to Senate:  05 October 2016
Senate rejected proposal:  19 October 2016