University administrators will face closer scrutiny of their
actions starting this fall because of an amendment passed by the
Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs this week. SACUA
voted to institute an evaluation of administrators every two to
three years by faculty members. Results will then be reported to
the University Board of Regents as well as faculty members and the
evaluated administrators.

SACUA represents the University faculty, often acting as a
liason with the administration and legislating policies that are
binding to all professors. The amendment, passed by them on Monday,
will affect administrators including the president, chancellors,
provosts, deans and department chairs.

“The logic (behind the amendment) was that students
evaluate the teachers, the teachers evaluate students but no one
evaluates the bosses,” Aerospace Engineering Prof. William
Kauffman said.

He added that presenting the results to the regents would allow
them to become aware of faculty sentiments regarding administrators
and perhaps even threaten the job security of administrators
receiving consistently negative reviews.

“Regents are going to find out that the faculty is not
satisfied. If I was a regent I would say, ‘Well we better
look at what we’re doing.’ Maybe we can get them to
change their ways or get someone new,” said Kauffman.

SACUA does not yet have concrete rules on consequences faced by
poorly received administrators.

Sociology Prof. Silvia Pedraza, who has been elected vice chair
of SACUA for the upcoming term starting in May, said besides just
passing judgment on the work of administrators, the evaluations
seek to provide constructive feedback to University policy makers,
enabling them to make necessary changes in their performance.

For this reason, the format of the evaluations — which is
still being debated — will include a space for written
comments. They will make a distinction between the different types
of administrators at the University by providing, questions that
are appropriate to the administrators roles.

Both Kauffman and Pedraza said that once written the format of
the evaluations may closely resemble that of the survey filled out
by students about their instructors at the end of a semester.

But students will take no part in the newly instituted
administrator evaluations. They will continue to evaluate only
their instructors.

“The reasons is that (students) don’t come in
contact with (administrators),” Pedraza said. “They get
to evaluate faculty because that is who they come into contact
with.”

But Kauffman disagreed with not allowing students to participate
in these evaluations. He said that students are affected by the
actions of administrators more than faculty members and suggested
that student governments work on administering their own student
evaluations of University officials.

The amendment, which was originally proposed by Mechanical
Engineering Professor Galip Ulsoy and Electrical Engineering
Professor Semyon Meerkov, was passed by majority vote at the SACUA
meeting on Monday. The committee that will work out specific
details will be headed by SACUA secretary John Lehman.

Retired School of Education professor C. Philip Kearny who
specializes in studying Michigan schools felt that the new
evaluations will give the power of influence to faculty members in
theory but questioned their effectiveness.

“I don’t have any problems with faculty evaluations
(but) try to remember who is the person that really has the power
to appoint or not appoint,” he said.

Although many details to the amendment have not been decided on
yet, Kauffman said ultimately evaluation of policy makers would
work to better the University.

“I think it’s revolutionary. I think other
universities are going to follow us. It makes sense,” he
said.

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