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ERIC Number: ED518530
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 373
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-6721-6
Developing an Effective Instrument for Assessing the Performance of Public University Presidents
Lester, Dennis
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of New Mexico
Conducting a worthwhile assessment of the performance of senior leaders such as university presidents poses unique challenges for public institutions of higher education. One of the most difficult issues is determining the "content" and "format" of the assessment instrument. Due to the breadth and complexity of the job, the list of potential criteria that could serve as content for the assessment instrument is almost limitless. Turning to the format, there are also many options with respect to the arrangement of the assessment instrument or plan for its administration. Based on a review of literature for this study, there does not appear to be a comprehensive approach for developing the content and format of a president assessment instrument that provides sufficient reliability and validity evidence for the ratings derived from such an instrument. In order to fill an apparent gap in research on university president assessment, this study proposes a model for determining the content and format of an assessment instrument--the Assessment Instrument Development Approach (AIDA). The AIDA model incorporates a mixed-methods research design aimed at identifying the content and format of an assessment instrument that will produce reliable and valid results. Addressing the question, "What approach can UNM and other public universities use to develop an effective performance assessment instrument for their presidents?" this study critiques the initial AIDA model and suggests a revised model based on study findings. Addressing the question, "What is the preferred content and format for a president performance assessment instrument?" this study proposed an initial framework for the relationships among variables derived from pertinent theory and concepts pertaining to university president assessment. Considering the study results, a revised framework was developed along with example hypotheses that should be tested in future research to gain additional insights into performance assessment for university presidents. Since two earlier studies on president effectiveness indicators obtained feedback from presidents and boards of trustees, the faculty of two research universities in the southwest were chosen as the target population for this study in order to obtain the perspectives of the third body that participates in shared governance. Qualitative data was collected through 15 individual interviews, 2 focus group interviews, a pilot survey, and a final survey. Quantitative data was collected through the pilot survey and final survey. StudentVoice(TM) administered the web-based pilot survey for the University of New Mexico (UNM) faculty and final survey for both the UNM and New Mexico State University (NMSU) faculty. There were 106 faculty members who volunteered to complete the pilot survey and 280 faculty members who completed the final survey. The AIDA model was an effective tool for identifying the content and format of a president assessment instrument based on the perspective of faculty members who participated in the study. Incorporating a mixed-methods design, the AIDA model enabled the researcher to analyze the data from different perspectives and to identify complementary and conflicting findings. While the application of the AIDA model was time consuming because it included qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, it proved to be useful in integrating and condensing a large amount of data and in making the results understandable. Addressing the question of the preferred content of a president assessment instrument, over 200 potential assessment criteria were identified relating to traits and behaviors of a president and performance outcomes at the university level. These candidate criteria were prioritized based on the outcome of surveys and interviews of university faculty. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify overarching constructs to which these criteria related and to provide insight into a methodical approach to reduce the number of items in an assessment instrument to those that are the most relevant. The constructs identified in this study that relate to university president performance were "strategic leadership, consideration, continuous improvement, university mission support, interpersonal competence, stewardship, academic quality, and responsibility." Addressing the question of format, participating faculty members believed that a president assessment instrument should be a formalized tool that is administered according to written policies and procedures. Study results showed that faculty members preferred annual 360-degree assessments involving multiple constituents and stakeholders that focus on president development and improvement. Faculty also identified external factors that should be considered in performing an assessment that includes qualitative and quantitative assessment criteria. The results of this study reveal there are many candidate criteria and formats for assessing performance. What appears to be lacking in literature and in practice is a means to identify the best criteria and formats that will produce reliable, valid, and useful results for the assessment of university presidents. The methods and findings described in this study provide additional insight into the "means" for developing an assessment instrument and the "ends" which are fair, equitable, and productive assessments of university president performance. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico