The National Commission on College and University Board Governance

The National Commission on College and University Board Governance examines how well prepared the governing bodies of higher education institutions and systems are to address the myriad challenges confronting the sector.

Consequential Boards: Adding Value Where It Matters Most
Report of the National Commission on College and University Board Governance

The value of American higher education faces multiple risks, and changes in governance are needed to address them. At risk are accessibility and degree attainment for current and future students, institutional fiscal sustainability, educational quality, economic development and social equity, service to communities, and knowledge creation.

This report finds that despite the pace of social, economic, and political change affecting much of higher education, most college and university boards continue to approach governance as they did 50 years ago–often focusing on narrow, near-term tactical matters instead of providing long-range strategic direction and policy. Recognizing the crucial role that boards can and should play in guiding colleges and universities, the report provides a series of recommendations to help boards engage in their distinct role more substantively and effectively.

Over the past few weeks, we've asked members of the commission to tease out key topics from the report and place them in the larger context of higher education today. We hope their thoughts, first published on AGB's blog, help inform your own.


How can you lead the board in the most constructive way possible? From where I sat as board chair, I embraced two rules that I recommend not just to chairs but to all board members...


Higher education has never been more important to America’s future, yet our universities and colleges have seldom been regarded so skeptically by the American people...


An old investment adage admonishes: “Never mistake brains for a bull market.” In other words, know when to credit your own judgment and when to acknowledge things beyond your control...


The relationship between the governing board chair and the president is critical—probably the single most crucial relationship to get right. Strong board chair-president relationships set the stage...

Join us for related events:

Becoming "Consequential Boards"
February 18, 2015 (Boston)

Leadership for change is more important than ever. In this demanding environment, the structure of governance itself should not be an additional risk factor to higher education. Yet, too often it is. This panel discussion will focus on the report and recommendations of AGB's National Commission on College and University Board Governance and on how these pitfalls can be avoided and higher education's mission advanced.

Briefing on Consequential Boards: Adding Value Where it Matters Most
On November 6, the Commission held a briefing and public release of their report at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Experts from the remarks and panel discussion can be seen below.

More Information

Press About the Commission


Inside Higher Ed: "On Their Watch" (November 6, 2014)

The Chronicle of Higher Education: "Governing Boards Should Focus on Finances and Stay Out of Politics, Report Says" (November 6, 2014)


The Chronicle of Higher Education: "In Tense Times, Governance Group Promises Tough Medicine for Boards" (July 25, 2013)

Inside Higher Ed: "Back to the Drawing Board" (July 25, 2013)

Huffington Post: "A New Academic Year and a National Commission" (July 25, 2013)

USA Today: "Seeking a 'new way' to govern higher education" (July 25, 2013)

Washington Post: "National commission will review how colleges are governed, recommend changes" (July 25, 2013)

From AGB's own Trusteeship: "AGB Launches National Commission on College and University Board Governance" (July/August 2013)

The National Commission on College and University Board Governance was supported by the AGB Board of Directors and by grants from Lumina Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Kendall Foundation of the Montgomery County Community Foundation.