Regents release study

By Eric Krol

A recently released self-study gives new insight to the Board of Regents, even if the participation was less than unanimous.

Each of the 14 Regents received a self-study questionnaire in late January from the national Association of Governing Boards.

The AGB compiled the self-study results and used them during the Regents’ self-study workshop Feb. 14 and 15 in Chicago.

Although 14 questionnaires were mailed, only nine answers were listed in the compiled responses released by Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves.

Individual responses were kept confidential so Groves could not disclose who did not respond. However, further checking revealed possible reasons that five responses were missing.

Groves’ assistant Cheryl Peck said the questionnaires sent to the two alumni Regents weren’t returned. NIU Alumni Regent Joe Ebbesen and ISU Alumni Regent Carl Kasten agreed not to respond because they are new to the Regents, Peck said.

Regents Has Riss and Carol Burns were ill when the questionnaires were sent, Peck added. Due to illness, neither attended the workshop.

NIU Student Regent Jim Mertes was unsure if his questionnaire arrived by the deadline.

Peck said the self-study was used to facilitate discussion by Tom Ingram, the AGB’s mentor of the study.

The questionnaire consisted of yes/no questions on 11 criteria for governing bodies, 30 trustee audit “yes, no, somewhat” questions and four general suggestion queries.

Response to the criteria question found the Regents see positive relationships in the areas of academic planning and policy, board organization, faculty relations and selection of executive members.

The questionnaire revealed the Regents felt they perform financial planning and management well. The Regents have been questioned in this area recently for their creation of a vice chancellor for strategic planning, a $90,000-a-year job without a specific job description when created.

The Regents were divided evenly on whether they have a statement of mission for the Regency system as a whole but thought each university had a clear statement of goals.

While the Regents generally responded positively to the questions on dealings with university presidents, there was some doubt if a climate of mutual trust existed, as only two of nine responded “yes” while four were neutral.

The trustee audit questions required each Regent to answer questions on their qualifications and knowledge of the Regency system. The Regents generally felt knowledgeable and comfortable with the system.

The final four questions were broad, general response questions. The Regents found the most important issues that faced them in the last year were the collective bargaining and presidency issues at SSU, the service contract violations at ISU and general fiscal matters.

The Regents listed the NIU expansion projects at Rockford and Hoffman Estates and resolving the crises they faced as the areas they were most proud of.

The Regents saw lack of leadership and communication as possible shortcomings of the system.