UND Employee Survey Blasts Administration


Update: The survey has been released and is available below.

A few weeks ago a number of UND employees began circulating a survey soliciting feedback on the performance of the UND administration (see the email here).

The survey was to have been completed on May 23rd, and according to an email sent out to the UND campus by President Robert Kelley today the results are in:

From: UND President Robert Kelley <noreply.president@und.edu>
Date: June 8, 2015 at 8:03:26 AM CDT
Subject: Message from UND President Robert Kelley
Reply-To: <noreply.president@und.edu>


Recently, a group of UND faculty conducted an opinion survey intended to measure perceptions regarding the President, the Provost, and the Deans. Three of the four faculty members who developed and initiated the survey—Jim Whitehead, Tom Petros, Kim Kenville and Jim Higgins—shared the results of the survey with me in a meeting last Friday and indicated they plan to make the results publicly available soon. We wanted everyone to be aware of this.

We will closely review the survey results and will thoughtfully consider how best to move forward. We also want to fully involve the entire campus community, and, as many of our faculty and students are away, this will be a priority item as the new academic year begins.

When Kelley’s administration was asked about the survey by the Grand Forks Herald spokesman Peter Johnson “admitted recent tension and a need for better communication could be at play.”

That may have been putting it mildly. What I’m hearing from campus sources familiar with the survey is that it’s quite scathing.

I’m told that approximately 47 percent of the faculty and adjuncts – that would be roughly 420 people – responded to the survey. Of that total, approximately two thirds are saying that Kelley is doing a “poor job,” while roughly 85 percent are saying that provost Tom DiLorenzo is doing a “poor job.”

My source says that the survey officially a vote of no confidence, but that unofficially that’s pretty much what it is.

This comes after a showdown between Kelley’s administration and students toward the end academic year. Student government leaders were set to cast an official vote of no confidence in Kelley for his handling of tuition talks, but after things got ugly at a Student Senate meeting where Kelley and his supporters verbally attacked students, the two sides made up with Kelley promising better communication and more transparency.

Yet if what I’m being told about this survey is accurate, Kelley’s promises about better communication aren’t carrying much weight.

You really have to wonder how much longer Kelley is going to last in his present position. He’s in his 70’s and he seems to have lost the trust of significant factions within the faculty and student body. And let’s not forget all the UND alumni and sports fans ticked off by his patently arrogant handling of the Fighting Sioux nickname issue.

My guess is that Kelley won’t stick around much longer after the nickname issue is settled.

Update: Here’s the full survey.

Among the findings are:

  • 54 percent saying Kelley’s office is “not at all” or “not very” transparent.
  • 43 percent saying Kelley’s office is “not at all” or “not very” open
  • 35 percent saying they have confidence in Kelley’s office, an additional 23 percent are neutral
  • 75 percent say Provost Thomas Dilorenzo’s is “not at all” or “not very” transparent
  • 72 percent say Dilorenzo’s office is “not at all” or “not very” open
  • 71 percent say they’re “not at all” not “not very” confident in Dilorenzo’s office

Most of the ire from the survey seems aimed at Kelley and Dilorenzo. Also, it was nice to see my work here on SAB showing up in the comments. This comment, from page 4, was a reference to my open records request for university domain names.

without investigative reporting we would have no knowledge at all about what is happening at UND. re: nickname domain names list that did not exist until a freedom of information request was taken to the attorney general