Evaluations satisfy officials

By Ken Goze

Despite several snags in the process, officials involved said they were satisfied with the evaluation of Board of Regents administrators.

NIU President John La Tourette, Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves and the presidents of Illinois State University at Normal and Sangamon State University at Springfield underwent mandatory five-year evaluations this fall. The results of the evaluations were announced in a brief statement at last week’s Regents meeting at ISU.

Although no specific details were released, the report rated all of the administrators highly and bought La Tourette, Groves and ISU President Thomas Wallace an extra year of retirement service. SSU President Naomi Lynn was excluded because she had just taken the job last July.

Groves had earlier said he expected the benefit would be worth “less than $10,000 per person.” Chancellor’s Assistant Cheryl Peck said the benefit will be paid for by non-state local funds at each university, or in Groves case, the personnel line of the Chancellor’s office.

The evaluation process, which included campus visits, was interrupted when a chain of personal crises forced one of the original consultants and his replacement off the project.

The Regents originally hired Joseph Kauffman, a retired administrator from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and William Muse, Akron University president, to carry out the evaluations.

During a scheduled visit to NIU in October, Kauffman left because of a family medical emergency. Edward Penson, a former vice president of Ohio University, was hired as a replacement. Penson then missed an ISU campus visit in late October when an illness struck in his family, Peck said.

Peck said despite the problems, the Regents were satisfied with what they considered to be a professional evaluation.

“The board feels they got a very strong effort from the consultants,” Peck said. “They felt they had gotten their money’s worth.”

Peck said Muse remained throughout the process and was able to pick up visits and interviews. In addition, Penson had been hired in part because he had worked with Kauffman and Muse before and was familiar with their methods.

Findings by Penson and Muse and a written report by Kauffman were presented to the Regents in an executive session last week.

J. Carroll Moody, Joint University Advisory Committee member, said despite misunderstandings with the Regents over JUAC’s involvement in the process, he believes the evaluations were done well at NIU.

“The consultants I found to be very interested in getting information,” Moody said. “They both seemed eager to get our input.”