University of Kentucky trustees hear positive evaluation of Capilouto

UK President Eli Capilouto 
is confident lawmakers will 
approve the plan because of "our record of success."
UK President Eli Capilouto is confident lawmakers will approve the plan because of "our record of success."

An evaluation of University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto's second year by key constituencies rated his performance positively, but a survey of faculty only was not so favorable.

The executive committee of the UK Board of Trustees discussed the evaluation Tuesday. It was conducted in July 2013 by David Hardesty, president emeritus and law professor at West Virginia University, who has a similar profile to Capilouto.

A 21-question survey was given to 34 representatives of UK groups including students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors. The survey also included 28 in-person interviews. Questions asked respondents to rate Capilouto based on his leadership, traits and skills in areas such as priorities, organization, financial management and future consideration.

The average responses to all questions were favorable, according to the report.

Hardesty found that respondents used the word "trust" frequently to describe Capilouto's relationship with the university community.

Capilouto received "high marks for his personal communication style." That's an improvement from last year's evaluation, which raised questions about his communication with the university community, according to the report.

Respondents also reported Capilouto as a focused leader who is "driving real change." Such accomplishments, respondents noted, include facility construction and campus housing.

The report also contained several suggestions for Capilouto.

When asked to describe Capilouto's vision, "several different explanations were offered," according to the report. Respondents would like to see a clear statement of Capilouto's vision for the university.

Concern was also expressed over the rapid pace of change on campus. Some respondents brought up the university's ability to keep up with changing society, such as online education and the role of Coursera at UK, under which students will begin to take massive open online courses.

A separate survey of the university's 2,530 full-time faculty members received 807 responses, said Lee Blonder, Senate Council chair. Faculty would like to see more emphasis of the multiple missions of the university, better communication with faculty and more emphasis on building faculty morale, she said.

For example, more than half of the faculty surveyed disagreed that the president is effective in involving the faculty in decision-making.

Faculty surveyed also wish to see the president refocus on graduate education and research, Blonder said.

Board Chairman Britt Brockman said Capilouto has done what the board has asked over the past two years.

"All you have to do is look across campus to see the significant changes," Brockman said, referring to construction.

He said anytime a specific constituency is surveyed, there will be more focus on its needs.

Along with the survey, Capilouto also completed a self-evaluation.

Hardesty analyzed the self-evaluation and noted that Capilouto appears diligent and hard-working and organizes his time strategically.