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Faculty request more frequent evaluations of campus presidents

By Bob Conrad

The Nevada Faculty Alliance last week issued a letter to Nevada System of Higher Education acting Chancellor Dale Erquiaga requesting more regular evaluations of campus presidents at NSHE institutions. 

They are asking for more regular, open presidential evaluations, particularly of presidents who have been given contract extensions without formal evaluations.

“The periodic evaluations are an essential component of shared governance,” the faculty wrote. “The Nevada Faculty Alliance strenuously opposes contract extensions for presidents without comprehensive examination of the chief officer’s performance. 

“Several Regents have offered the view that the Board should hire excellent administrators, then let them do their jobs without micromanagement but with proper oversight,” they added. “The evaluation process is the mechanism to allow the Board to conduct proper oversight.”

They cited Great Basin College President Joyce Helens who was given in May a one-year contract extension – her second one. Both occurred without an evaluation of her performance.

“Neither NSHE nor the Board of Regents provided additional explanation as to why this action was necessary, nor did either describe its impact on regularly scheduled procedures or policies, specifically, the President’s periodic performance evaluation required for a new contract,” they said. “Delaying the evaluation denies the institution’s constituents the opportunity to provide feedback and hinders the ability of the governing board to objectively recognize achievements or require course corrections.” 

Erquiaga told This Is Reno the evaluation process would be considered next spring with input from the board of regents. He said he appreciated the input from the Faculty Alliance.

“Presidents typically have a contract for about four years. There have been instances in the last couple of years where a year has been added on,” he said. “And that’s pursuant to board policy – that’s allowable, the contracts can be extended in that way.”

The board policy also requires periodic evaluations of presidents.

“But if the contract is extended, it’s my understanding that the policy interpretation has been internally that the evaluation waits until the year before the contract extends,” he added. “The language does not include, currently in policy, a statement such as ‘at least every four years.’ That’s something that could be added.”

Regents would have to change board policies, and Erquiaga said the issue would be considered for evaluations due in the spring.

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