Michael Lane, president of Emporia State, Steve Brown, dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Gwen Alexander, dean of the School of Library and Information Management, are currently being evaluated, a process which is coordinated by Faculty Senate. It has not yet been determined if or how the results will be released.
“We do not have a specific protocol for the reviews,” said Carol Russell, president of Faculty Senate. “In the past, the Committee on Campus Governance has attempted guidelines, and a bill was even drafted, but did not go to the senate for a vote. We probably need to look at this again.”
Amy Webb, associate professor of English and former president of Faculty Senate, said the release of evaluation results have varied in the past, depending on the decisions of COCG, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the administrator who is evaluated. In the past, results have sometimes been summarized, distributed showing exact commentary, or locked in an office where those who wish to access them must sign in.
Though there have been discrepancies in the release of these documents, Webb said they try to remain in compliance with the Kansas Open Records Act.
“There have been investigations by various faculty and administrators to know what we are legally supposed to do (in regards of releasing the evaluation results),” Webb said. “We have files in the senate office of asking the regents lawyer, where should these things go, and the one thing that legally is consistent is it’s a personnel file and it needs to be protected, you can’t just have it out there.”
The evaluations pertain to employee performance, which is outlined in KOMA as a personnel issue and is legally a closed record.
“Public agencies shall not be required to disclose: personnel records, performance ratings or individually identifiable records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment, except that this exemption shall not apply to the names, positions, salaries or actual compensation employment contracts or employment-related contracts or agreements and lengths of service of officers and employees of public agencies once they are employed as such,” a portion of KOMA pertaining to these records reads.
Though, in the past, some of those files were available.
“Some administrators have asked that their evaluations be open,” said Kevin Rabas, chair of COCG. “However, they have often asked that those wishing to see the data sign in and read the documents in a secure place, such as in the Faculty Senate office.”
Webb said that deciding how the evaluation results will be handled is constantly debated.
“We’re of two minds about this,” Webb said. “No faculty member would want his or her evaluations available to every single person in the world because people can be irresponsible with those and it can be damaging, but at the same time we want some level of accountability.”
Though, as far as the evaluation results determining change, Rabas said they are mainly used to measure progress.
“It is my understanding that the evaluations are to be used by the administrator as a gauge and are not traditionally used to determine job fitness, merit, promotion, or retention,” Rabas said.
Lane said he looks forward to the completion of the evaluation, as it will allow future improvement.
“I think it’s a good process,” Lane said. “I’m more than happy to see the results and it gives me an opportunity to look at things I do and see if there are ways to make things better. I think that’s one of the benefits of having that kind of an evaluative process.”
Though it has not yet been decided whether or not Lane’s evaluation results will be open, when asked, Lane responded: “on this campus we have determined them to be personnel issues, and they don’t become public.”