Ithaca College has launched a “Comprehensive Presidential Assessment,” which will review the performance of President Tom Rochon.
Though the board of trustees regularly evaluates the performance of the president, the college is undertaking a more expansive process because it is the fifth year Rochon has been in the position, according to a college press release. The review will be opened up to representatives of the faculty, staff, students, alumni, community leaders, senior officers and the board of trustees.
David Maley, associate director of media relations, said this is not the first time a presidential assessment has taken place at the college.
The college will be adopting the recommended best practices of the Association of Governing Boards, a national higher education organization that works with college and university governing boards. To do so, it is hiring Douglas Orr, a consultant from the AGB. Orr served as president of Warren Wilson College for 15 years. David Lebow, vice chair of the board of trustees and chair of the board’s Presidential Assessment Committee will oversee the work of Orr.
Lebow said it’s a standard time to do a presidential assessment because boards typically do comprehensive 360 assessments about halfway through a 10-year period of a president’s tenure. He said the assessment will be used to give the president feedback on how the community feels.
“Typically, we are giving a diagnostic tool to a leader, much as we would in a business, to help them become more effective in their roles,” Lebow said.
The process is being done with the full support of Rochon, according to the press release. The perspectives gathered from the review are meant to enhance awareness, provide opportunities for the president to strengthen leadership capabilities and revisit priorities and responsibilities as necessary.
Lebow said questions will include things like, “What are you thankful that the president has tackled and is working on?” and also, “What would you like to see more of and less of?”
Group interviews will take place on campus March 26–28. After, Orr will present a report to the board of trustees. The results of this process will not be made public.
Lebow said the anonymous feedback will be given to the president, which will lead to a discussion between the consultant and president.
“Typically, what you will see is that the more enlightened leaders will really internalize that feedback, and they will try to really understand why the feedback is what it is, both in what’s going well, what you need to do more of and less of,” Lebow said. “At the end of the day, this is a tool intended to help a leader be optimally effective in their job and ultimately that is up to any leader to internalize and act on that feedback in a way they see fit.”