The Faculty Senate postponed a vote of no confidence Wednesday against President Doug Baker, instead exploring the possibility of faculty involvement in the presidential evaluation process.Let's say that I built that new headquarters for Cold Spring Shops and set aside my F-U money for a reason. And yes, that involved too many management fads, too much special education, too much affirmative action, and too much expense-preference behavior by the administration. Remember the chief inspiration officer?
A vote of no confidence would formally signify the faculty’s lack of support for Baker, although no actions against Baker could result from the vote.
Discussion of the confidence vote first arose in a Jan. 25 Faculty Senate meeting during which members addressed Baker’s Dec. 22 email to the NIU community in which he announced upgrading NIU’s Whistleblower Policy and revising employment policies as a result of “weaknesses in internal controls, some limited compliance violations, and lack of clarity of policies across multiple units,” that occurred in 2013 and 2014, according to the email.
The motion to take the confidence vote was proposed in a March 24 email from Michael Haji-Sheikh, assistant professor of electrical engineering.
“I believe that the university hasn’t been well served by this president and administration,” Haji-Sheikh said after the 3 p.m. meeting Wednesday in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room.
The good news is, the faculty are rediscovering (reclaiming?) their proper role as stewards of the university.
Although the vote of confidence was postponed, members of Faculty Senate were able to work with the Board of Trustees about presidential evaluations prior to the Wednesday meeting.There are no stakes for the external stakeholders to hold without a functioning university. Restoring a state of good repair in faculty governance will be a proper course.
“This is our immediate response, and this provides an opportunity to show goodwill on our part and collaboration on our part toward the Board of Trustees,” said Faculty Senate Speaker Greg Long during the meeting.
The Faculty Senate proposed a resolution in which they requested involvement in the Board of Trustees’ presidential evaluation process, particularly when Baker’s contract ends in June 2018. The resolution also requested formalized involvement of staff, students, instructors, alumni and community members in the evaluation process.
In an email to Long, Trustee John Butler proposed incorporating faculty voice in the review process. Butler alludes to prior conversation between himself and Long about the potential involvement.
“You expressed particular interest in the manner in which representatives of the faculty, supportive professional staff, operating staff, and students will participate [in evaluating the performance of the president],” Butler said in the email. “The assessment pool will certainly involve such representation (as well as trustees, the president’s direct reports, and representatives from external stakeholders such as the Alumni Association, Foundation Board, community leaders, etc.).”
A formal decision regarding faculty involvement in the evaluation process has not yet been proposed during a Board of Trustees meeting.