Baker Report: An Opportunity for Feedback

My role and performance as president is reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees to aid in goal-setting for the coming year, and this June will mark my fourth anniversary. The board and I agree that it is an appropriate time – and considered a best practice in the higher education community – to conduct a “360 degree review” to garner feedback from across the university at this phase. Our goal is to come away with feedback that will aid in understanding what has been successful, what potential exists for growth and what improvements need to be made.

Because we are opening this process to faculty, staff and students, timing is critical as the end of the semester draws near. With direction from the board, the university has chosen Greenwood/Asher & Associates from a list of vendors approved by the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative to conduct the review and to collect relevant information for the review within the next two weeks. The firm is led by individuals who have both previously served as tenured professors and presidents at four-year universities, and who specialize in finding leaders and evaluating leadership for universities across the country.

The team will facilitate face-to-face interviews (individually and in groups) with approximately 100 members of the university community. The interview process will include representatives from the Faculty Senate, the Operating Staff Council, the Supportive Professional Staff Council and the Student Association. The leaders of each group have been asked to assist in identifying appropriate representatives to participate in the review. To encourage open and honest feedback during this process, the names of participants will not be released. Interviewers also will speak with alumni, members of the Board of Trustees, deans, members of the senior cabinet and all those who report directly to the president.

We anticipate that results of the review will be presented to members of the Board of Trustees in the May-June timeframe to inform their annual presidential evaluation, which under a new state law effective this year must be posted on the university’s website.

I welcome and value honest and constructive feedback as part of my professional development, and I look forward to learning more.

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