Presidents earn better reviews

Was anyone surprised that four North Dakota university presidents received much more positive job reviews from an interim chancellor than from dismissed chancellor Hamid Shirvani?

Minot State University President David Fuller, North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani, University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley and North Dakota State College of Science President John Richman were singled out by Shirvani in scathing reviews he wrote before he was forced from office. The presidents rightly complained and asked for new job performance reviews, which were done by interim chancellor Larry Skogen, the president of Bismarck State College.

We certainly didn’t put much if any stock in Shirvani’s reviews of the four presidents, since at least three of them had serious differences of opinion with Shirvani during his stormy one-tenure as chancellor. But Skogen was also put in a difficult position in being tasked with doing job reviews of four of his peers. We certainly expected Skogen’s review process to be more professional than Shirvani’s process, and it was. It could have been difficult for Skogen to levy strong criticism of his fellow presidents, but at least his process and resulting reviews were much more open and accurate than those done by Shirvani.

What we take from this process is this:?The four presidents in question are performing better than suggested by Shirvani, and personal feelings clearly skewed Shirvani’s reviews. We discount his reviews altogether. There have been positives taking place at the universities in Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo and Wahpeton, and we’re glad Skogen’s reviews reflect that progress.