Evaluation questioned

By Eric Krol

A presidential evaluation was the prime topic of debate at Wednesday’s Joint University Advisory Committee (JUAC) meeting.

JUAC members, meeting at Illinois State University at Normal, questioned this week’s campus visit of two consultants evaluating NIU President John La Tourette and the two other Regency university presidents.

The consultants, retired University of Wisconsin-Madison administrator Joseph Kauffman and Akron University President William Muse, visited NIU Monday and Tuesday to gather information in the mandatory five-year evaluation of La Tourette and the other presidents.

“It’s going pretty much the way we expected,” NIU JUAC member J. Carroll Moody said.

NIU JUAC member Joan Greening said the consultants asked what La Tourette’s strengths, weaknesses and improvements were.

Dave Artabasy, another NIU JUAC member, said the consultants asked no questions and merely took down information.

JUAC Chairman Larry Quane asked whether the consultants are keeping the information confidential.

Moody said, “Yes, they said up front it would be confidential, they were very low-key and tended to put people at ease.”

ISU JUAC member Len Schmaltz asked about the level and type of faculty response.

Moody said NIU did not submit specific faculty input because only 11 faculty members responded to the open-ended question format he had dispersed.

JUAC also reversed itself on a complaint raised at last month’s meeting. The advisory body wanted a separate meeting with the consultants before presenting their findings to the Board of Regents after completing campus visits.

However, the NIU contingent said the meeting would not be necessary after the campus visits are done. “I’m not so sure it’s necessary to meet with them after watching the process at NIU,” Artabasy said.

Schmaltz suggested JUAC keep pushing the request as a kind of back up measure. “What can it hurt us to keep it?” Schmaltz said.

Compromise was reached after a suggestion by Sangamon State University JUAC member Barbara Hayler suggested the group wait until after the ISU campus visits on Oct. 28 and 29 to make a decision.

SSU JUAC member Douglas Anderson raised a concern that only six hours had been allotted for SSU’s evaluation. NIU and ISU each have two days for campus visits, but SSU has one day trimmed so that Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves could be evaluated as well.