While there are always differences among governing boards, I have found that boards share many important goals. For example, boards are interested in clarifying expectations for leadership and want to build a partnership with the president to achieve the strategic agenda of the institution.
Good institutional governance begins with the purposeful selection of trustees and depends heavily on how they work together. Effective boards seek and welcome a wide diversity of perspectives and skill sets and then commit to building a culture of shared information, strategic focus, productive debate, and mutual trust in the collective intelligence of the board.
Better boards make for better presidents. Wise presidents will support ongoing board development to strengthen the president board partnership and to enhance the board’s capacity for strategic governance. That investment will pay great dividends in presidents’ capacity to lead effectively and to advance their institutions in this turbulent era.
What do students learn? Do they get what they pay for? Are graduates ready to succeed? How do we know? These questions, and public concerns about cost and value, top the national agenda. For fiduciary and reputational reasons, boards must effectively oversee educational quality, appropriately assessing and measuring it.
Generally speaking I would say that heightened ethics requirement are positive for universities. It raises the bar for new board members---what expectations are, what behaviors should be, and how individuals should conduct themselves as a member of that board.
Yvonne Jackson | Board Chair, AGB Board of Directors and Trustee, Simmons College
While ‘risk management’ sounds like a legal or insurance term, effective boards look at strategic issues through a risk/reward lens. Boards that regularly, collaboratively work with their presidents on risk oversight are always more strategically engaged, with a higher probability of ensuring a successful institutions.
University foundations exist to support the academic missions of the universities they serve. Proper board governance and trustee selection are essential to maximize foundation work such as fundraising, investment management, and advocacy. AGB Consulting services offer an independent assessment from seasoned foundation professionals to help meet these challenges.
It’s true: Governing boards are ultimately responsible for the quality of students’ educational experience! Today’s challenges to higher education require boards to take this responsibility seriously—developing capacity to ensure quality, understanding educational programs, making certain learning is assessed, grasping the importance of accreditation, and allocating resources purposefully.
Change leadership is the task of every president and board. Success depends on how effectively they work together. A strong president and passive or weak board can get some things done, but able board leaders working effectively with a capable, courageous president can make all the difference in the life and fortune of a college or university.