Institute for Board Chairs and Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities

January 9 – 11, 2020  –  Naples, FL
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The most important relationship for effective governance is that between the board chair and the president. To succeed, both individuals must commit their time and talents to work as partners for the institution and the students they serve.

AGB’s Institute for Board Chairs and Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities allows chair-president teams to develop robust partnerships and create a focused agenda that moves both the board and the institution forward. Since 1985, nearly 900 teams have participated in the institute, and have found it essential to effective governance at their institutions. As a result of this Institute, board chairs and presidents will strengthen their relationship, find answers to emerging challenges, and develop an action agenda for the board.

Facilitated group sessions provide best practices in governance and effective strategies from other institutions, while president-chair team meetings and one-on-one consultations allow participants to focus on shared work at their own institutions.

By participating in this institute, participants will:

  • Enjoy highly engaging small-group sessions with higher education experts to discuss best practices and innovations in governance;
  • Develop an action agenda for improving board practice and advancing their institutions;
  • Participate in one-on-one consultations to focus on shared work at their institutions and assess the strength of their boards; and
  • Engage with a network of peers to learn from and draw upon after the institute concludes.

Event Resources


Day One: Thursday, January 9

7:30 am – 8:30 am

Optional Breakfast for Presidents 
Gather with AGB leadership to discuss among peers the challenges your institution and fellow presidents are facing.

8:45 am – 9:45 am

Optional Breakfast for Board Chairs
Gather with AGB leadership to discuss among peers the challenges your institution and fellow board chairs are facing.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Meet your fellow participants and participate in an introductory special exercise to better understand what success means to you and your partner.

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

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.

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm

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.”

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

An Anatomy of Good Board Governance
Sharpen your response to the key question: “How would you know an effective board in action if you saw one?”

4:45 pm – 5:45 pm

Team Meeting #1: An Assessment of Your Board
In the first of five essential activities between you and your partner, develop a shared understanding of your board’s current focus and its readiness for the work ahead.

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Reception and Dinner

Day Two: Friday, January 10

7:30 am – 8:15 am


8:15 am – 9:45 am

Getting Your Board Risk-Savvy: Challenges and Opportunities
Examine how the board and president can cultivate institutional responsiveness, innovation, and boldness, as well as facilitate collaboration between board chair and president.

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Team Meeting #2: Identifying Risks and Expectations with Your Board
Plan together with your partner to position your board to add value by embracing upside and downside risk.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Building a High-Performing Board: Getting Your Board into Strategy Mode
Clarify how you can build and sustain a board that thinks strategically.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Team Task #3: Building a High-Performing Team
Work together with your partner to develop board policies, practices, and ultimately a board culture that improves performance and adds strategic value.

2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

Assessing and Building Effectiveness
Develop wise and practical approaches for board accountability and presidential accountability. Note: Each participant will also receive a complimentary copy of two AGB publications: Assessing Board Performance and Assessing Presidential Effectiveness.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Team Task #4: Assessing President and Board Effectiveness
Together with your partner assess the strengths and challenges in your board and presidential assessment practices, identify new opportunities, and make a fresh plan for undertaking these important responsibilities.

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Reception and Dinner
On Leadership: A Fireside Chat with Dr. Robert “Bobby” Satcher, Jr.
An alumnus of AGB’s Institute for Board Chairs and Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, Dr. Satcher chairs the Voorhees College Board of Trustees. In his professional life, he is a trained physician and a chemical engineer. He is also an astronaut with more than twelve hours of spacewalk experience as a crew member of the space shuttle Atlantis on its 2009 voyage to the International Space Station. AGB is pleased to present a unique evening discussion with Dr. Satcher on the subject of courageous leadership, as part of this program.

Day Three: Saturday, January 11

7:30 am – 8:15 am


8:15 am – 10:00 am

Using Committees to Support the Board’s Work
Examine what it means for a board’s committees to drive the board’s agenda forward and explore how and when to revise your board’s committee structure.

10:15 am – 11:15 am

Team Task #5: Strengthening the Board’s Structure and Culture
Plan together with your partner for how you will build and leverage your board’s committees to maximize benefit.

11:15 am – 11:30 am

Team Task #6: Reviewing the Leadership Team Action Plan
With your partner ensure all of the planning you have done adds up to a clear set of deliverables, time lines, and next steps to take governance to a higher level together.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm

Closing Session
Address lingering questions and discuss where you go from here. Review concrete actions and key takeaways for implementing your action plan and ensuring board buy-in.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch and Departure
Before returning home take advantage of one final opportunity to consult one-on-one with institute facilitators and AGB staff to ensure that your president and board chair partnership is prepared and supported for future success.


Tom Flynn

Thomas Flynn
President Emeritus, Alvernia University; Former President, Milliken University; Senior Fellow, AGB 

Dr. Flynn is president emeritus of Alvernia University, having served from 2005 to 2019. During this time he oversaw the development of new strategic and campus master plans and a campus-wide process culminating in the achievement of university status. Under his leadership, Alvernia launched “Values and Vision: The Fiftieth Anniversary Campaign.” In addition to major capital projects already completed, endowed professorships and centers of excellence have been established, notably the O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership, and Public Service and the Holleran Center for Community Engagement. Prior to his arrival at Alvernia, Dr. Flynn served as senior advisor for the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). Previously, he served nine years at Millikin University (IL), initially as provost and subsequently as president. He also spent 14 years on the faculty of Mount Saint Mary’s College (MD), where he was a professor of English and served as dean of the college.

Artis Hampshire Cowan

Artis Hampshire-Cowan
Former Acting President, Senior Vice President, and Secretary, Howard University; Senior Fellow, AGB

Ms. Hampshire-Cowan was a senior vice president and secretary, interim chief operating officer, and acting president at Howard University. Prior to serving as senior vice president, she served concurrently as secretary and vice president for human resource management and provided executive oversight for a workforce of more than 6,000. Before joining Howard University, Ms. Hampshire-Cowan spent 12 years working with the government of the District of Columbia. This included time as a congressional lobbyist, consumer and regulatory enforcement administrator, attorney-advisor to the deputy mayor for economic development, and senior advisor and counsel to the city administrator. She also served as general counsel of RFK Stadium, where she led the negotiations to build a new stadium. She subsequently served as special counsel to County Executive Wayne Curry in his successful bid to relocate the Washington football club to Prince George’s county, Maryland.

Registration & Refund Policy

The registration fee for the institute is $8,745 per two-member team.

The registration fee includes program expenses for both the board chair and the president, private lodging for two nights, meals during the Institute, and program materials.

This program is available only to board chairs and presidents of independent institutions 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 chair-president relationship through private interaction and collaboration; it makes full use of the participants’ time throughout the three-day meeting. AGB appreciates this commitment from all participants. Please contact with any questions. 

All cancellations and requests for refunds must be submitted in writing to AGB will issue a full refund if written notification of cancellation is provided to AGB by November 11, 2019 for the winter program. AGB will issue refunds after the meeting. No refunds will be issued for attendees who cancel after this date. AGB is not responsible for cancellations due to airline disruption, inclement weather or schedule changes.


La Playa Beach and Golf Resort
9891 Gulf Shore Drive
Naples, FL  34108

Institute Application

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

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Institute Contact

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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 November 11, 2019 are entitled to a full refund. No refunds will be granted for cancellations after these dates.