U of Akron to revamp policy on contract review
- University of Akron trustees will now have the final say on all contract offers made to potential employees, a policy change made in response to the school owing a year of salary to two former officials who left the institution as dictated by their original contract terms.
- The contract terms for the dismissed vice provost and executive dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology mirror similar standards often negotiated by university presidents, who now are becoming more aggressive about financial security with growing national trends on executive turnover.
- Trustees attributed the payouts to communication "gaps" between the university's former president and the board.
Akron's contract controversy is a classic issue of unclear expectations and communication between board members and presidents, a certain formula for short-terms of service and costly turnover. When it comes to finances, presidents should create a culture of full transparency with all board members, and not only members of a committee or those trustees who treat them well or regularly vote for their measures.
Louisville's handling of James Ramsey's resignation and the Florida system's recent rule changes on presidential selection indicate how important executive review in contracts can be. But with this priority, board members must also emphasize transparency in their own review processes, or risk public inquiry about their own ethics in approval or changes to executive contracts.