Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Oct. 24, 1997

Presidential review completed

Office receives high marks on external leadership

by Linda Charles

The Office of the President received high marks for external leadership efforts, but could cooperate more with faculty in solving university problems, according to the final report of a Faculty Senate committee that has been reviewing the office.

The Committee to Review the Office of the President gathered comments from many sources, including faculty, staff and outside sources. Richard Seagrave, committee chair, presented the results of the evaluation of the President's Office to the senate during the October meeting. An evaluation of President Martin Jischke will be shared only with the State Board of Regents and the Faculty Senate Executive Board.

The report on the President's Office notes that universities the size of Iowa State are "inherently complex and inescapably bureaucratic"; that there often are gaps between the activities of presidents and senior academic administrators and the general faculty; and that universities are being called upon to do more with fewer resources.

"When viewed in this context of a very difficult environment, and when viewed from a national perspective, things are going remarkably well at Iowa State University," the report says.

The office received high marks from the faculty for efforts to enhance the financial resource base of the university, build support for Iowa State within Iowa, focus university initiatives on meeting the state's needs and communicating effectively with external constituencies such as advisory committees, alumni, business leaders, the regents and legislators.

Among department chairs, the university is perceived as stronger and more competitive externally than it was five years ago, the report says.

The office also drew favorable reviews for efforts to communicate strategic aspirations to the university community, focus attention on recruitment of top students, support retention of well-qualified students, support an academic climate conducive to research excellence and support the recruitment and retention of faculty and students from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

But the report adds, "There is significant feeling among the faculty that the Office of the President could cooperate more with faculty and staff in solving university problems, seek better techniques to manage human resources and resolve conflicts, promote means of enhancing an atmosphere of enthusiasm, cooperation and trust, and seek more input from the faculty on key issues."

The committee noted that the commitment to the strategic plan is shared by administrators at the level of dean and above, but that at the level of department chairs and below, the strategic plan is "somewhat remote from the daily life and problems."

The report also notes it takes too long for department chairs to get decisions from some key academic administrators, while the response time for supplying information to those administrators often is "unacceptably short."

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