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Presidential Evaluation Policy

(approved by the UNF Board of Trustees June 20, 2006)


Board Chair Bruce Taylor charged the Presidential Evaluation Task Force ("Task Force") with developing a plan that would provide a process for effective, regular evaluation of the University president. Chair Taylor asked that the evaluation process facilitate clear communication between the board and the president, reflect best practices and promote execution of the University strategic plan.

The Task Force met on multiple occasions and reviewed relevant literature from the Association of Governing Board (AGB) and elsewhere, as well as the presidential review processes employed by 19 different colleges and universities. From this review the Task Force developed six principles and a four-step review process that it recommends.


The Task Force believes six principles should guide and inform the presidential evaluation process:

  1. The evaluation should derive from explicit values of the University and from its strategic plan.
  2. The evaluation process should set specific annual goals for the president.
  3. Evaluating the president is a non-delegable responsibility of the Board. While other viewpoints may be considered, specifically those of the faculty, the Board must take direct responsibility for the evaluation.
  4. The evaluation process should be a reciprocal process that includes a self-evaluation from the president.
  5. The evaluation should focus on the how well the president advances the major institutional objectives of the University. Checklist or scorecard evaluation forms should be avoided, as they trivialize the role of the president.
  6. A formal review should be conducted annually, immediately following the academic year. Informal evaluation should occur more frequently, in the form of informal conversation between the president and the board chair.

Evaluation Process and Timeline

  1. The Board shall undertake a performance evaluation of the president on an annual basis.
  2. The evaluation shall be conducted by the Executive Committee of the Board. The University General Counsel shall provide staff support to the Executive Committee for purposes of completing the presidential evaluation.
  3. The evaluation process shall commence August 1 and shall be fully concluded by October 1.
  4. The evaluation shall be compiled in accordance with the Presidential Evaluation Form, set forth below.
  5. The president shall initiate the evaluation process by preparing and submitting a self evaluation that broadly addresses the issues set forth on the Presidential Evaluation Form and other dimensions of his leadership to which those issues pertain. The president shall submit his self evaluation to the Board chairman by August 1of each year.
  6. The Board chairman shall distribute the president's self evaluation, a summary of current year goals and a copy of the Presidential Evaluation Form, to all members of the Board.
  7. Members of the Executive Committee shall individually assess the president's performance, giving full consideration to each element of the Presidential Evaluation Form. Executive Committee members are encouraged to respond in writing, if they so desire, and to make reference to the president's self evaluation, in order to promote useful dialogue with the president.
  8. Concurrently, the General Counsel shall telephonically survey the remainder of the Board to elicit any comments they may have. In so doing, the General Counsel shall utilize the Presidential Evaluation Form, to assure that information and responses can be effectively organized and compared.
  9. The General Counsel shall compile and summarize the responses received from Board members at large into a single, consolidated evaluation form.
  10. The Chair shall then convene the Executive Committee for the purpose of reviewing the consolidated evaluation form and to further engage the Executive Committee in its evaluation of the president's performance.
  11. Thereafter, the Board Chair or his/her designee shall prepare a proposed final evaluation form which reflects the assessment of all Board members.
  12. The Executive Committee shall reconvene to approve the final written evaluation and to establish a recommendation regarding presidential compensation for the next contract year.
  13. The Board chairman will then meet with the president to review the consolidated evaluation and reach agreement on goals for the coming year.
  14. The compensation recommendation shall be considered by the Board at its September meeting.

Presidential Evaluation Form

The Presidential Evaluation Form shall be designed to provide feedback to the president on his principal areas of responsibility. It shall be informed by leadership values the Board seeks, the University strategic plan and the president's annual goals. The Presidential Evaluation Form is designed to elicit narrative responses, as this provides clearer communication than scorecards or checklists. The following is recommended as the Presidential Evaluation Form for 2006.

  1. How successful has the president been in creating an atmosphere of integrity, unity, civility, purpose and momentum within the University community?
  2. How effective has the president been in communicating and working with the Board of Trustees?
  3. How successful has the president been in creating and executing a long-term strategic plan for the University?
  4. How effective has the president been in securing adequate resources for the University and representing the University within the SUS system?
  5. How effective has the president been in financial management?
  6. How do you evaluate the president's effectiveness and relationship with the faculty?
  7. How do you evaluate the president's effectiveness and relationship with the students?
  8. How do you evaluate the president's effectiveness and relationship with the community?
  9. How effective has the president been in advancing academic quality in teaching, research and services?
  10. How do you evaluate the quality of the president's appointments?
  11. How effective has the president been in identifying and making difficult decisions?
  12. Specifically, how do you evaluate the president's progress in implementing the University's annual goals for:
    • Student learning
    • Flagship programs
    • Research/scholarship
    • Community connections
    • Quality of Students; Diversity and Access
    • Student life
    • Quality faculty
    • Quality staff
    • Master plan
    • Funding
    • Continuous improvement
  13. What other comments would you like to make with respect to the president's performance?

Peer Review

Commencing in 2007 and every third year thereafter, or at such other interval as the Board deems appropriate, the Board shall engage an outside consultant to design and conduct a peer review assessment of the performance of the university, its president and its Board. Such peer review assessment shall be designed to compare UNF with other, comparable universities that represent the highest performing universities of comparable size and mission. The peer review process shall, among other things, solicit feedback from faculty, staff, students and the community. The peer review shall be conducted in a manner so that the confidentiality of survey individuals providing feedback is maintained. The peer review shall supplement, and not replace, the annual performance evaluation of the president.


Evaluating and supporting the president is among the most important responsibilities of the Board of Trustees. We believe the process described in this report reflects best practices for presidential evaluation and, if implemented, will cause UNF to reside among the best universities in this important responsibility.