Meeting Summaries

Meeting Summary for June 30, 2020

The Seattle University Cabinet met on June 30, 2020. This is a summary of the Cabinet discussion.
Jun 30, 2020

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Cabinet Leadership Assessment Process

As part of our commitment to excellence in leadership and continuous improvement at Seattle University, in 2018 we embarked on a process to conduct comprehensive assessments of deans and cabinet members.

The primary objective of this endeavor is focused on the professional formation of the university’s top leaders. Three cabinet members will participate in the assessment process every six months, beginning in January 2019. This first group was selected based on length of service. We will conduct an evaluation of the process, collect data through a 360° assessment tool and examine the outcome once completed to ensure it provides a comprehensive and insightful experience for participants.

An outside consulting firm administers the entire process and all survey data is confidential, with results reported in aggregate only. The survey portion of the assessment consists of important leadership competencies and open-ended questions regarding the individual leader’s overall strengths and areas for development.

What is a 360° assessment tool?

The 360° assessment tool involves a process for gathering feedback on leadership and personal and interpersonal effectiveness. It typically consists of an online survey and a series of in-person interviews. Those invited to complete the survey and/or be interviewed are colleagues with whom the person being assessed has had extensive interaction over time and therefore are well positioned to provide feedback. They typically include a direct supervisor, peer colleagues, direct reports and external stakeholders such as board members. The purpose of the exercise is to help an individual understand his or her strengths and areas for development and to inform personal development planning.

A 360° assessment is different from an opinion survey, which tends to solicit feedback on a function or an entity rather than an individual.

Cabinet members going through the process are asked to select a diverse group of 75-100 people they interact with on campus to rate their impact as a leader using the 360° tool. The rater group is developed by each respective cabinet member with the oversight of their supervisor and in consultation with the vice president of human resources to ensure consistency across the group. The raters are comprised of all cabinet members, all deans, all direct reports and key staff and faculty who interact with the individual cabinet member. For a number of cabinet members it will include members from the Board of Trustees. In addition, each cabinet member identifies six to eight stakeholders they interact with extensively to be interviewed by the external firm. The objective of these in-person interviews is to gain additional insights on the leader’s effectiveness.

Once the survey and in-person interviews are completed, the external consultant compiles the results, which are shared with each respective cabinet member in a confidential report. Each cabinet member will then work with the external consultant to identify the key learnings with the objective of creating a comprehensive development plan. Once the plan is developed, each leader then meets with their supervisor to share the plan and gain input and feedback.

The process of completing leadership assessments is to benefit not only the individual cabinet members, but also the university as a whole. Enhancing our leadership effectiveness helps us to better fulfill our mission, embody our values and retain our position as a leading Jesuit institution in a continuously changing, more diverse world.