The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Koester undergoes second performance review

The CSU system is conducting its second three-year review of CSUN President Jolene Koester since she took office in 2000.

Under CSU policy, presidents at every campus are required to undergo a performance evaluation every three years by the chancellor and the Board of Trustees, said Clara Potes-Fellow, director of media relations for the CSU system.

The evaluation includes a request by the chancellor for comments from the CSUN community about the president’s performance.

“The purpose of (the evaluation) is not only to inform the campus community, but to provide the president feedback on that,” said John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson.

Chandler stated that the review is not used to determine the president’s future employment status, but is instead akin to the annual evaluation that every CSUN staff member undergoes.

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed began the review by sending an open letter in February to the CSUN community requesting feedback on Koester’s performance from the Associated Students, the University Advisory Board, the Academic Senate, and the Alumni Association.

The letter also invited comments from students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community, though not allowing any anonymous comments.

Dave Moon, Art Department chair, said he received an e-mail that requested he give an opinion about Koester.

The reviews, he said, are private.

The e-mail included questions regarding how effective Koester’s leadership with CSUN faculty, staff and students is and her relationship the CSUN’s outside community. Other questions in the review, he said, included her effectiveness with university finances and fundraising.

“She is by far the best president I have worked with since I first arrived here in the late 90s,” he said. “She is remarkable.”

As part of the review process the chancellor’s office solicits various reviews throughout CSUN, Moon said, from faculty, staff and students who would have worked with her.

“(The board) wants to get a broad perspective of individuals who have worked with (Koester),” he said.

Koester could not be reached for comment on the review, but the Sundial was referred to Chandler.

The chancellor and the Board of Trustees evaluate six areas based upon the comments submitted: general administrative effectiveness, including management of human, fiscal and physical resources; working relations with the system and the campus; educational leadership and effectiveness; community relations; major achievements of the campus and the president; and personal characteristics.

Chad Charton, Associated Students president, was one of the CSUN community members specifically approached for comments.

“I was designated to issue a written response to the chancellor (on behalf of A.S.) ? because I have more interaction with the president (than other A.S. members),” Charton said.

Charton said his five-page assessment of Koester was positive overall, but he highlighted some areas that could be expanded further, such as Koester’s level of visibility among the student body.

Koester has said in the past that she frequently walks around campus and tries to visit departments once a year.

Charton said, however, that the extent to which he has worked with Koester was limited due to his single year in office.

Robert Danes, director of Undergraduate Studies, stated that the faculty reviews were a private matter and declined to comment on either his own possible involvement or his department’s.

At every six-year interval the evaluation includes a review from a visiting team that comes to CSUN to interview the president, administrators, faculty and students, Potes-Fellow said.

She said the team, which is composed of a trustee, a retired CSU president, a retired out-of-state university president, and a retired CSU faculty member, began visiting the campus April 20.

Charton was one of the community members interviewed by the team, and he said he spent 30 minutes talking with an interviewer who suggested that the A.S. president should be involved with the CSU president’s cabinet meetings. Charton said he supported that idea.

After collecting written comments from the campus community and information from the visiting team, the data will then be brought back to the Board of Trustees where it will be discussed with the chancellor in a closed session, Chandler said.

The chancellor then has a one-on-one discussion with Koester about the review, he said.

The review concludes with a written summary by the chancellor, which should be posted online in August, Potes-Fellow said.

The chancellor’s summary in 2003 stated that Koester “is a very effective president for a very large urban university,” and “is organized, accessible, visible, and committed to CSUN.”

The summary praised Koester and the campus for obtaining a $7 million gift from The Eisner Foundation, and a $5 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the Michael D. Eisner College of Education, and set a goal of improving graduation rates, which is to be reviewed in this year’s evaluation.

Mike Siciliano can be reached at

More to Discover