September 2019 Advocate: Anonymous evaluations of administrators!


One way to help improve administrators’ performance? Anonymous evaluations by everyone they supervise

In light of the investigation of Ron Galatolo and the District relating to allegations of harassment and improper handling of contracts, some faculty and staff have raised concerns about the performance and practices of various administrators at college and district levels. The AFT has made a proposal in the current contract negotiations that will help address the possibility of any questionable behavior by administrators: the opportunity for anonymous evaluations of administrators by all faculty under each administrator’s supervision.

AFT Contract Proposal:

Annual Evaluations for administrators with responsibility for instruction or student services will include an opportunity for the faculty within the unit, division, or college to provide anonymous performance feedback. College administration and/or Human Resources will oversee the evaluation process, evaluation content, and all other matters related to the evaluation of administrators.

While there currently are procedures for evaluating administrators, they are misleadingly referred to as “360 evaluations.”  “360” suggests that they are looked at from every angle, but that is not the case.  Administrators actually get to select who, among the people they supervise, gets a chance to evaluate them.  And the evaluations are not anonymous. Read the procedures for evaluating academic supervisors and administrators (up to college presidents.)

District’s response: No changes are needed; existing procedures are sufficient

The District rejected the AFT’s proposal for anonymous evaluations of administrators with the following statement: “The District finds no compelling rationale for including additional language relating to this matter as it does not relate to traditionally bargained issues such as employee wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. As such, the District believes that existing policy and procedures relating to administrator evaluations is sufficient and offers no counter proposal at this time.”

In the current climate of questions being raised about District administration behaviors, perhaps a “compelling rationale” might be that serious procedures for inclusive, in-house anonymous evaluations of administrators by faculty and staff would help build trust and more positive relations between staff and administrators.

Regarding how evaluations of administrators “relate to traditionally bargained issues”, it should be very clear that administrators’ treatment of faculty and staff has an essential impact on their working conditions.

Current policy: Administrators choose who evaluates them and evaluations  are not anonymous

Finally, as to whether the “existing policy is sufficient,” that is plainly not the case, since it does not allow all faculty (or all employees) supervised by an administrator to participate because it is “by invitation only” and the fact that it is not anonymous will not elicit candid responses, as faculty and staff fear retaliation.

We hope the District will reconsider the AFT’s contract proposal for the evaluation of administrators with responsibility for instruction and student services that would include an opportunity for anonymous evaluations by all faculty (and staff) they supervise.