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A Wake-up Call: Enterprise Risk Management at Colleges and Universities Today

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2014

After five years of change and upheaval, why is it that governing boards of colleges and universities continue to consider risk on a largely ad hoc basis? The findings from a recent survey, conducted by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and United Educators (UE), indicate a modest increase in the use of risk assessment in high-level decision making over the past five years, but they also show that boards and administrators are not yet substantially committed to this process, which offers an approach for assessing threats and seizing opportunities. Now, more than ever, governing boards and senior leaders need to be attentive to risks. 

In 2008 and 2013, AGB and UE jointly surveyed higher education leaders to track the acceptance of, use of, and attitudes toward enterprise risk management (ERM) on college campuses. Unfortunately, a comparative analysis of survey results suggests that higher education is conflicted when it comes to ERM. Overall, while advancing ERM in important ways, higher education has lost ground or made no change to ERM practices on critical fronts. A Wake-Up Call: Enterprise Risk Management at Colleges and Universities Today explores this disconnect while recommending six key practices for boards.

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