After completing its five-year review of Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard, the WWU Board of Trustees has released the following statement:
Board of Trustees Chair Peggy Zoro has announced that in keeping with its rules of operation, Western Washington University’s Board of Trustees conducted a comprehensive five year performance review of President Shepard during the week of May 5, 2013. This comprehensive review is intended to complement the Board’s annual performance reviews of the President. The purpose of this review is to gather more extensive feedback from various internal and external stakeholders, and to provide President Shepard with constructive suggestions to improve his effectiveness.
“The feedback gathered by Dr. Moore’s comprehensive review confirmed the Board’s sense that President Shepard continues to demonstrate highly effective leadership during very challenging times for Western,” Zoro declared. “Despite significant declines in state support and a changing landscape for higher education in general, President Shepard has protected Western’s core academic excellence while encouraging the institution to innovate and adapt to the times. The Board of Trustees joins the many stakeholders who participated in the review process in thanking President Shepard for his service to Western, and expressing continued confidence in his leadership.”
The Board of Trustees invited Dr. John W. Moore, a national authority on university presidential review, to serve as the facilitator of the review process. Dr. Moore interviewed a wide range of stakeholders within and outside the university, including local and statewide officials and leaders of P-12 and other higher education institutions. Additionally, individuals who did not participate in interviews were invited to send written comments to Dr. Moore. Nearly 100 people participated in the process altogether. In order to elicit candid feedback, Dr. Moore assures all participants that their comments will remain anonymous.
After careful assessment of the interviews and written comments, Dr. Moore provided his findings to the Board of Trustees, and discussed them in an independent meeting with President Shepard.
Trustee Zoro added, “The Board of Trustees would also like to thank those who participated in the review process for their candor and willingness to share their thoughts for the benefit of the institution.”
President Shepard echoed the Board of Trustees’ gratitude to the review participants: “This review process really is a great service to me and my ability to better serve Western. The conversation with the Board of Trustees following Dr. Moore’s review gave me better perspective and direction on where to put my energies to best serve Western, its partners and the public more effectively. I wish to thank all those who participated in the review for sharing their views and helpful suggestions.”
President Shepard further stated, “With the full support of the Board of Trustees, the Western campus community, and the external friends and partners of Western, we heard from all that we are on the right track in pursuing our strategic goals of applying Western’s considerable strengths to meet critical needs of the State of Washington. That will involve protecting our core strengths in the liberal arts and sciences, effectively engaging and reflecting the increasing diversity that enriches our state, and relentlessly pursuing innovative means to serve Washington through public-private partnerships, and collaboration with other educational institutions. At the same time, we must take care of our own on campus, nurturing our systems of shared governance and transparent, bottom-up decision making, and prioritizing so that Western continues to attract and retain the very best faculty, staff and students. We must ensure that Western’s academic and administrative structures and processes continue to facilitate innovation and adaptation. Our strength is found in our shared understanding and reaffirmation of our critical core mission; our continuing success will come from our willingness to experiment, assess, and learn just how, in a fundamentally changing external environment, we fulfill that mission.”
Finally, added President Shepard, “I am always grateful for these reviews—they are wonderful learning opportunities. I appreciate the constructive criticism every bit as much as the expressions of strong support that have been communicated through this process. The very positive nature of the review is testimony to what all those who are Western have achieved. It is in what we have done together, rather than anything individual, that I take great pride.”