Institute for Board Leaders and Chief Executives of Public Universities and Systems

Fall 2020  –  Location TBD
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Since it was founded by board chairs of state universities in 1921, AGB has prioritized assistance to board leaders and chief executives in ensuring their essential partnership is healthy and up to the challenges of the day. Public higher education today must be at once responsive, anticipatory, reliable, and durable in navigating dynamic environments. Please join us this spring for a program dedicated to the imperative of “leadership in changing environments.”

Facilitated group sessions provide best practices in governance and elicit effective strategies from fellow participants, while team meetings between chief executives and board leaders and one-on-one consultations allow participants to focus on shared work back home.

Participant teams enjoy a dedicated, well-structured one-and-a-half day program to:

  • develop shared understandings of mutual and respective responsibilities
  • gain clarity together on what effectiveness looks like
  • develop a governance action plan to strengthen the board and address high-level challenges

Expert-led discussions allow participants to learn from others, developing a network of peers they can draw upon after the Institute concludes. Key to the experience is the team time for board leaders and chief executives to work together, collaborating on ideas for moving their boards and universities forward.


Day One: Saturday, April 4
7:30 am – 8:30 am Breakfast
8:00 am – 8:45 am Welcome and Setting the Stage
Meet the facilitators, review the overall institute program, and engage in an important early discussion about “what keeps you up at night” as a leader.
8:45 am – 10:15 am Module One: Board, President, and Chair Responsibilities
Explore the distinct roles of board chair and chief executive, and make explicit a set of mutual expectations of who does what, and when as public higher education leaders. Discuss strategies for sustaining effectiveness in a politically structured body.
10:15 am – 10:30 am Break
10:30 am – 11:15 am Module One: Mutual Expectations of the Chief Executive and Board Leaders
A continuation of the exploration of board roles and responsibilities in public institutions, with a focus on strengthening trust and partnership with the chief executive.
11:15 am – 12:00 pm Moderated Panel Discussion: Ensuring Accountability
Get sharp on what it looks like, to be an effective board. Develop clarity around what it means for the board to be accountable.
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Team Meeting #1: An Assessment of Your Board
In the first of three essential activities between you and your partner, develop a shared understanding of your board’s current focus and its readiness for the work ahead.
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Module Two: Leading in an Environment of Change
Examine how your board and chief executive can cultivate institutional responsiveness, innovation, and boldness in public institution and system environments, as well as facilitate collaboration between board chair and president.
3:45 pm – 5:00 pm Team Meeting #2: Identifying Risks and Expectations with your Board
Plan together with your partner to position your board for greater facility and value-added regarding upside and downside risk.
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm Group Debrief
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Free Time
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm Fireside Chat with Millie Garcia, president American Association of State Colleges and Universities
Leadership is about courage, savvy, vision, motivation, resilience, nimbleness, the ability to engage a wide array of constituents and stakeholders in the shaping of your institution’s future, and more. During this new institute session, a special guest speaker on the subject of leadership will discuss these and other critical topics.

Day Two: Sunday, April 5
7:30 am – 8:00 am Breakfast
8:00 am – 10:00 am Module 3: Building a High-Performing Team
Clarify how you can build and sustain a board that thinks strategically.
10:00 am – 11:15 am Team Meeting #3: Strengthening the Board’s Structure and Reviewing the Leadership Team Action Plan
Together with your partner identity concrete steps to work more effectively within your board’s current structure and, where necessary, revise it constructively. Ensure that all of the planning you have done adds up to a clear set of deliverables, timelines, and next steps to take governance to a higher level together.
11:15 am – 12:00 pm Closing the Loop
Address lingering questions and discuss among peers which next steps you and your partner intend to take. Review concrete actions and key takeaways for implementing your action plan and ensuring board buy-in.
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Adjournment and Optional Lunch
Take advantage of one final opportunity to consult with peers and AGB experts to ensure that your president and board chair partnership is prepared and supported for future success.


Barbara Gitenstein

President Emerita, The College of New Jersey; Senior Fellow, AGB

Dr. R. Barbara “Bobby” Gitenstein is president emerita of the College of New Jersey, and has over 40 years of experience as a college professor and administrator in both public and private institutions. She came to the College of New Jersey from Drake University where she served as provost and executive vice president. She is the first woman to serve as president of the College of New Jersey in its 160-year history. Upon her arrival at TCNJ in 1999, Dr. Gitenstein enhanced academic rigor and faculty-student engagement, which led to a transformation of the undergraduate program. Utilizing the public-private partnership provision contained in the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009, Dr. Gitenstein completed a contract for Campus Town, the college’s first public-private partnership with a developer. Under Dr. Gitenstein’s leadership, the college invested more than $380 million in its physical plant. Improvements included six academic buildings, housing for an additional 400 students, and the acquisition of 103 acres of property to add to the central campus of 289 acres. Dr. Gitenstein earned her BA degree from Duke University and her PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Terrence MacTaggart

Former Chancellor, Minnesota State System and University of Maine System; Senior Fellow, AGB

Dr. Terrence “Terry” MacTaggart is an experienced leader and scholar in higher education. His consulting and research work focuses on higher education leadership and policy, strategic planning, board development, issues of shared governance, and leadership evaluation. He has held the chancellor’s position at the Minnesota State University System and on two occasions at the University of Maine System. He has also served as a faculty member and administrator at several public and independent colleges and universities where he has led or participated in multiple institutional turnarounds. He has served as a consultant and/or facilitator of board retreats for numerous colleges, universities, and systems. His clients include major public research universities, urban and metropolitan universities, distinguished independent institutions, regional comprehensives, international colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, nontraditional colleges, community colleges, and proprietary schools. Dr. MacTaggart has served as a Fulbright Scholar to Thailand and to Vietnam as an expert on accreditation and quality assurance. His research and publications focus on governance, improving relations between institutions and the public, and restoring institutional competitiveness. Dr. MacTaggart earned his MA and PhD from Saint Louis University, an MBA from St. Cloud University, and has been awarded two honorary doctorates.

Registration Information

The registration fee for the institute is $4,975 per two-member team. A third team member may join for $2,487.50.

The registration fee includes program expenses for both the board leader and the president (and optional third team member), private lodging for two nights, meals during the Institute, and program materials.

This program is available only to board leaders and chief executives of public institutions and systems that are members of AGB.

Due to the intensive nature of the Institute, spouses and families are not included in the program. The curriculum is designed with a strong emphasis on developing the board leader – chief executive relationship through private interaction and collaboration; it makes full use of the participants’ time throughout the two-day meeting. AGB appreciates this commitment from all participants. Please contact with any questions.


The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, MD 20745

Institute Application

To see a list of member institutions, see the Member List.

Board Chair Information

President/Chancellor/CEO Information

Additional Team Member

Administrative/Presidential Assistant

Payment and Refund Policies

Please select your preferred payment method. Upon review and acceptance of your application, you will be contacted by the AGB Registrar to complete your payment.

Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to Cancellations received on or before March 1, 2020 are entitled to a full refund. No refunds will be granted for cancellations after these dates.