Murray State University’s Board of Regents has released the ad-hoc contract review committee’s draft report. WKMS obtained the report through an open records request. The 17-page document was sent to board members days before they voted against extending President Randy Dunn’s contract on March 15th. Dunn's contract expires June 2014. Board of Regents Chairman, Dr. Constantine Curris, said following the vote, he received no feedback from board members. The report identifies positive and negative trends during Dunn’s six-year presidential run in the areas of academic standings, enrollment data and financial management.
Dunn’s working relationship with board members stood out as the most glaring deficiency in the document. The report first identified the issue by referencing a comprehensive evaluation of Dunn conducted during the 2011-12 academic year. The committee’s report states that since the evaluation the President’s relationship with the board has eroded from insensitivity to disrespect. The report goes on to say Dunn’s decision against notifying the board of his candidacy for other positions has impacted the board’s trust in the president. Dunn had been a finalist in two recent national searches and was among the top 20 candidates for another position.
The report did include resolutions of support for Dunn from the Faculty Senate, the Staff Congress, and more than twenty area school superintendents. Eighteen letters in total were submitted for the review. Included in those letters, are three from former regents Alan Stout, Peg Hays and Jeff Taylor. The report says 14 letters are in support of Dunn and four against. However, at the ad hoc committee’s February 13th meeting in Louisville, Curris said the review wouldn’t be a popularity contest.
The report displayed enrollment data against other Kentucky universities, generally, as a weak spot for MSU. The data used in the report came from Kentucky’s Council on Post-Secondary Education (CPE) and The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The report identifies an overall 13% drop in enrollment (about 355 students) at MSU’s regional campuses.
MSU, however, does maintain the highest graduation rate among the Kentucky institutions used for comparison in the report. Those institutions were EKU, Morehead, NKU and WKU.
The committee’s report showed a 5.1% enrollment growth during the last six years. The comparable institutions the committee referenced, mostly, showed better gains. Morehead State led that category with 23.8% growth between 2006 and 2012 while EKU showed the least amount of growth at 1.3%.
As for academic rankings, the report included five articles in three publications: U.S. News and World Report, Forbes and Kiplinger’s that showed some changes in rankings. Between 2006 and 2012, all three of the publications showed decreases in rankings, some marginal others significant. The report did not include all of the publications the university cites in promotional materials including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Get Educated.com or GI Jobs.
President Dunn said in an emailed statement regarding the report, “I'm glad to have received a copy via a news outlet.” “Unfortunately, the Board never shared their draft with me nor did they ever discuss their findings with me --and of course it received no public discussion by the Board before they decided to act.” Dunn said he may comment next week as he has time to review the “accuracy of their fact-finding and other information provided.”