VP Tomlin review survey

4/15/2011 update: The standard way around the confidentiality issues is to hire a trusted independent firm to collect the data and interview employees. In 2009 VP Frances Dyke did hire such a firm, Stan McKnight and Associates – but she hired them to do some union busting for the AAUP/AFT organizing effort, not help evaluate senior administrators. $300 an hour, total $25,000. $1 under the public reporting limit. Very clever.

4/14/2011: People need to step up to the plate on this. From the email sent a few weeks ago:

Colleagues –

Russ Tomlin, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, is currently undergoing a periodic administrative review.  Such reviews are a vital part of our commitment to academic excellence and include a public presentation by the administrator and a web-based survey of their colleagues.

The web-based survey of Russ’s leadership and management of Academic Affairs can be accessed (Check your email from Bev or ask your chair to get this link).  The survey was developed by Dr. Tomlin’s review committee which consists of: Larry Singell, Chair, College of Arts and Sciences; Dennis Howard, Lundquist College of Business; and, Kassia Dellabough, Architecture and Allied Arts.

Senior Vice Provost Russ Tomlin will only have access to summary information from this survey.  Please note that only signed responses can be used for the purpose of this review.

You are also invited to Dr. Tomlin’s public presentation which will be held on Monday, May 23 from 3:30-5:00pm in the Knight Library Browsing Room.

The survey will remain open for comment until May 31, 2011. Your feedback is important.


Beverlee Stilwell
Assistant Vice President for Academic Administration/Chief of Staff
Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost

It is possible to set up Survey Monkey to track IP addresses. I don’t think that the administration would do this – particularly not the people doing this review. But if you are worried you can always fill it in from a library computer.

Of course, anonymous comments “cannot be used for the purposes of this review”. That doesn’t mean they will be ignored. At a minimum the committee knows the count, and they know anonymous responses are likely negative. But talking to your department chair and asking them to relay the department’s opinion to the review committee might be an effective complement to the survey if you aren’t going to sign it.

I think this survey is a giant step forward for shared governance. The administration needs to know what people think to make the right call on whether or not to reappoint Tomlin. They’ve asked for that opinion. This is the first time they have ever done this on something substantive. We want to get asked next time – for Bean? – we need to respond to this one. I signed my survey.

And judging from the unscientific and biased uo matters poll, if there is going to be retaliation, it’s going to take a long, long time to get to your name anyway!

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3 Responses to VP Tomlin review survey

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone concerned that this survey violates the protection of employee (in this case, Tomlin’s) employment file? There is no authentication in Survey Monkey. Anyone can say they are anyone and make a statement which goes into his file. Moreover, there is no guarantee the survey information is not available to third parties, e.g., Survey Monkey employees, people who can hack into Survey Monkey, etc. What protections are in place to ensure the confidentiality and authenticity of this information? It is totally unacceptable to conduct employee reviews in this matter. I am concerned that if this type of totally unprofessional (and possibly illegal) data collection can be performed on Tomlin, it could be performed on me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Addendum (I am the original commentator). For the record, I have no love for Russ; everything he touches gets f***ed up. Nonetheless, using Survey Monkey to generate performance review is akin to using RateMyProfessor.com to evaluate teaching. There is no ability to connect the received comments to the people supposedly making them (I am talking about signed comments), other than to confirm through separate channels that those comments are indeed the work of the supposed signer. Confidentiality and security is another issue. I have little doubt that a *free* web tool offers zero protection of the collected data from being hacked, compromised, or otherwise viewed by unauthorized parties.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dog says

    Don’t worry about SurveyMonkey
    simply fill out the questions and
    sign your name as James Bean.

    Why we can’t have a validated form (i.e. DuckID sign in) I guess is beyond the capability of Information