The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees completed its review of UW President Laurie Nichols’ performance, but does not plan to publicly release specific details.
The board issued a statement following its meeting in March, thanking the faculty, staff, students and others who contributed to the review.
“The board has now concluded the facilitated evaluation with a very constructive meeting with President Laurie Nichols,” the statement reads. “The board also found the evaluation a help to itself and, in conjunction with the president, will initiate a process to address the recommendations outlined in the evaluation.”
Faculty Senate Chair Michael Barker said he supported the release of some kind of executive summary.
“I think part of (the review) should be made public so the university community can know the results of Dr. (Steve) Portch’s review,” he said.
Board President John MacPherson said he stood by the board’s statement and decision not to release more information.
“It involves a personnel,” he said. “Personnel matters are confidential by state statute.”
MacPherson said he would not comment on the topic of an executive summary.
Part of the review process was open to the public, including a day in February when members of the UW community were invited to share their thoughts on the president’s performance with evaluator Steve Portch.
Portch, the former chancellor of Georgia’s 34-campus university system, was paid $16,000 plus travel expenses to visit campus and conduct the evaluation.
During the public forum, a handful of faculty, staff and anonymous online respondents shared some thoughts on both the president’s performance and the review process itself. One such anonymous comment asked whether any part of the review would be made public.
“That’s entirely up to the board,” Portch said. “Normally, I recommend not, to be very honest, because I can be most helpful by being as candid as possible.”
Nichols’ three-year contract provided for a review halfway through her term, which is when the review process started. While such a review has been included in previous presidential contracts, the use of an external evaluator was a first for UW.
“At UW, we have not engaged third-party consultants in the past to participate in those — they were performed in-house,” UW Spokesman Chad Baldwin said in January. “And I think the board’s rationale in this particular case is presidential evaluations are typically pretty complex and involve a lot of internal resources to conduct. The choice to use the third party in this case allowed the preservation of internal resources, but it also provides a degree of neutrality and transparency.”