WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 18, 2013, 10:13 AM

Embattled North Dakota chancellor criticizes 3 presidents

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Outgoing North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani has criticized three university presidents in annual performance evaluations.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Outgoing North Dakota University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani has criticized three university presidents in annual performance evaluations.

Shirvani called for outside reviews of University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley and North Dakota State President Dean Bresciani. He recommended no raises for Kelley and Minot State President David Fuller because of what he called poor leadership.

Shirvani declined comment to The Forum newspaper on the evaluations.

The State Board of Higher Education is to discuss the evaluations and salary recommendations at a meeting Thursday in Bottineau. Board President Duaine Espegard said the group's recommendations might differ from Shirvani's.

"I'm sure we'll be fair," he said.

The state Board of Higher Education voted earlier this month to buy out the remaining two years of Shirvani's contract at an estimated cost of more than $925,000 after months of pressure from critics who questioned the chancellor's leadership style. The board is to review applicants for the job at its Thursday meeting and is slated to make an appointment by the end of the month.

Shirvani said in his reviews that UND and NSDU, the state's biggest universities, should focus more tuition waivers on doctoral students who conduct research and that the university system should provide more oversight of athletics.

He also said Kelley's leadership "lacks vision," and that in the case of NDSU, the school wasn't comparing itself to the right peers.

"Simply comparing your institution to those universities that make you look good is lacking in vision and true entrepreneurial spirit," he wrote.

Kelley said in a letter to the board that he met the goals set for him and that he is "perplexed" by the recommendation that he not receive a raise in the coming year.

UND spokesman Peter Johnson said in a statement to the Forum that the president appreciates the feedback, but that "more information is needed to fully and accurately assess his performance against the goals in his performance review. President Kelley is planning to provide additional information to the board shortly and looks forward to further discussions."

NDSU spokeswoman Laura McDaniel issued a statement on Bresciani's behalf.

"President Bresciani was surprised by the timing and the analysis," she said. "He remains committed to sustaining and enhancing the success of NDSU, which has been further catalyzed by the historic support offered through our Legislature in the last session."

Fuller, the most outspoken critic of Shirvani's leadership among the presidents of the system's 11 campuses, also received arguably the most critical evaluation.

"My overall sense is that you have exercised a form of myopic leadership that has probably served you well among certain elements in Minot but reinforced among your peers a growing exasperation due to your sense of exceptionalism for MiSU and your clear lack of respect for your sister institutions," Shirvani wrote.

He recommended no pay hike for Fuller because of "what I perceive is poor leadership on your part."

Fuller said he was surprised the review had been distributed before he had a chance to discuss it with Shirvani and sign off on it, as has been the practice with previous chancellors.

Fuller said he's "very proud" of his achievements in the year, "contrary to the majority of that evaluation."

Shirvani's evaluations of the other seven campus presidents were mostly positive. He recommended 4 percent or 5 percent raises for all except North Dakota State College of Science President John Richman, for whom he proposed a 3 percent raise.