January 27, 2023
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At a meeting in the fall of 2022, the Hamline University faculty made a near-unanimous decision asking the university board of trustees and senior management to develop and implement a comprehensive review process for consistent periodic evaluation of the university administration. The resolution was intended to promote a more inclusive culture of assessment on campus, better consider and account for the closely interdependent work of offices and initiatives on campus, and vital intersections with off-campus groups and communities.

We believe that the specific challenges we see at our university reflect the broader challenges facing all colleges and universities, and we are writing to argue why and how 360 Degree Reviews enable:

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    • Rethink how we value leadership as collaboration, given the new complexities of university management;
    • Reaffirm the value of working in higher education by giving all staff the opportunity to actively participate in evaluating the university’s mission and direction, and;
    • Reaffirm the value of higher education by linking assessment more closely with community needs and community stakeholders.

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Context and definition

In its traditional application, the 360-degree view provides an opportunity to collect diverse, meaningful feedback from the community on the work. institutional leader in relation to the daily activities and strategic goals of the university. A designated review team will collect and compile information about university administration, helping to see patterns of strengths, challenges and opportunities often less visible to line managers or the Board of Trustees through quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews with a broader range of stakeholders. .

Such surveys, long practiced in the business and non-profit sectors, increasingly being introduced into higher education.with particular emphasis, as the Association of University and College Governing Boards has argued, on benefits of presidential 360-degree views support the Board of Trustees in periodic, comprehensive estimates – especially in hard times. 360-degree views are especially useful for identifying and expanding opportunities for growth and improvement that align the effectiveness of administrative leadership with the strategic vision of the problem. In addition, these reviews provide honest, far-reaching and comprehensive feedback on the impact of the work of university leaders on their unit and the wider university community, as well as provide a more complete and meaningful picture of the work of senior university leaders to their leaders and / or to the Board of Trustees.

Expanding the scope and strategic objectives of the review

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Our resolution suggested extending the 360 ​​review process to other members of the university administration. As noted in recent article on higher education, understanding who and what “administration” is is important for various reasons, and we could use three sources of information to “determine who has decision-making power and responsibility and what defines administration in a particular institution: organizational charts, chain subordination and sphere of decision-making”. In other words, while there may be similarities, different higher education institutions are likely to have different administrative structures defining “university administration”. Including all members of the university administration in the periodic review, especially before important moments of change and renewal of leadership, will increase the transparency of the decision-making process.

Perhaps most importantly, transparency leads to trust, and trust fuels engagement. 360-degree reviews provide a closer relationship between university staff and administration based on meaningful opportunities to communicate about perceived needs, strengths, and challenges. Numerous new articles assume that at the time whengreat retirement” and “quiet care“working in tandem and influencing higher education, university leaders and university councils need to understand the current environment on their campuses—through surveys, study tours, exit interviews, focus groups, etc.—to identify areas in need of development, and people in need of support and develop an action plan. Belonging and common purpose do not come from “free t shirtsand 360 Degree View offers a dedicated listening and community building platform to actively and transparently engage employees in campus decision-making.

360-degree views can enhance the sense of purpose not only for people on campus, but for higher education work in general. Universities—whether directly funded by the state or supported indirectly through their non-profit status—have been the subject of intense cultural debate and a waning sentiment their value. A strong 360-degree process would bring together meaningful public input about our impact on the civic lives of our communities, using the opportunity to create more meaningful collaboration and definition. accountability for the mission and our benefits of higher education.

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It’s no secret that rising costs are making it difficult for many students to afford college. However, higher education remains a smart investment for our students and their families. Higher education institutions have a responsibility to ensure that faculty and university leaders perform well. A well thought out and well implemented 360 view is an essential tool in policy development and institutional culture development who understands, supports and serves students, especially when those students and their needs change.

Binnur Ozkechedji-Taner and Michael (Mike) Reynolds are professors of political science and English, respectively, at Hamline University.. Reynolds was twice Associate Dean of Hamline College of Liberal Arts and served as Associate Provost. Both Özkechechi-Taner and Reynolds served as faculty council presidents for the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 academic years, respectively.

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