From annarbor.com comes “Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin falls short of multiple goals in review.” Here’s a quote from the opening paragraphs:
Tension that surfaced between Eastern Michigan University’s governing board and president last year appears to remain an issue at the Ypsilanti school.
In a fiscal 2011-12 performance review, EMU regents said president Susan Martin fell short of enrollment goals, failed to develop a strategic vision for the school and inconsistently consulted regents prior to making decisions.
“All regents should feel informed and updated on all matters requiring board engagement to their particular level of interest and satisfaction,” the October 19, 2012, review states. “Performance in this regard has been inconsistent. Board input on significant policy direction merits more serious attention.”
The review was obtained by AnnArbor.com through a Freedom of Information Act request. It was signed by former regent Roy Wilbanks and current regents Francine Parker, Mike Morris and Mike Hawks, who asserted that regents were “sometimes not alerted to major issues affecting the campus” and cited Martin’s decision to close satellite campuses without informing regents.
The actual letter annarbor.com got via FOIA is here as a PDF.
I haven’t seen the previous job evaluations so it’s hard to compare, but it’s kind of a lukewarm review, not at all surprising given that Martin’s contract is up in July 2013 and obviously the Board wants to be in a position where they can get rid of Martin if they want to. Though given the positive trends– enrollment is up, fundraising is up, on-campus housing is up, etc., etc.– I’m not sure that they’ll want to get rid of her. Or will be able to easily get rid of her since I think Martin probably has the support of students and faculty, more or less.
Personally, I think Martin has done a pretty decent job overall– I’d probably give her a B+ as a grade– and I think EMU ought to keep things stable and renew her contract. I think there has been a lot more “good” than “bad” in what she’s done or not done. I do agree with two things that the board says needs improvement:
The review said Martin hadn’t presented a strategic plan for the school, which she was supposed to have completed by June 2009. “This goal remains unmet,” the review states. “This should remain an area of focus for you and the institution as a whole.”
The regents wanted Martin to evaluate services provided to students and staff, such as the ombudsman and human services offices, but said in the review that Martin failed to complete those tasks. Regents also told Martin she did not properly handle layoffs and payroll issues.
I’m not a big fan of elaborate strategic plans, but I would agree there perhaps ought to be at least some plan, and I think a review of the ombudsman function in particular ought to be revisited.
So, rehire Martin or a new presidential search in 2013?