Report Faults Schnitzer Museum's Sense of Mission, Organization, Management

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon lacks a clear sense of mission and has suffered from a fragmented staff and inadequate oversight, a private consultant's report says.

The Jan. 30 report by Alceste Pappas, president of Pappas Consulting Group of Connecticut, was released this week.

The university hired Pappas last year to evaluate the museum; she issued a similarly critical report about the Oregon Bach Festival last year.

The 43-page report on the Schnitzer paints a picture of an institution whose advisory board of directors has become increasingly frustrated with the staff's lax management.

Among Pappas' findings:

"The board is uniform in its belief that the financial management and reporting practices of the museum are inadequate," the report says.

Board members aren't being given financial information, the report says, and are concerned that the museum staff may not be following generally accepted accounting practices. The report calls for a financial review of the museum by the university's chief financial officer.

"The day-to-day operating environment at the museum may best be characterized as informal," it says.

The museum apparently lacks current policy manuals, seldom does performance reviews of its staff, and lacks consistent practices regarding areas as disparate as personnel management and buying and selling artworks, the report says.

Pappas suggests that the university step in and review the museum's operations.

The museum lacks any clear sense of purpose, especially since its reopening in 2005 after a $14 million remodel, the report says. Not one of the two dozen museum and university people who Pappas interviewed knew the museum's mission statement, and "few resonated with its current wording," the report says.

The report also found that the museum's organizational structure was fragmented, leading to a "siloed" culture in which board members have had a tendency to micromanage operations.

Pappas called on university officials to create a plan that articulates the "mission, vision, values, goals and strategic initiatives" of the museum. …