Why this is important.

Board assessment is a foundational element of good governance for all higher education governing boards. Effective assessments are learning experiences that enable boards to identify key areas of improvement, recalibrate board priorities, ensure board accountability, and demonstrate their commitment to serve the institution.

There are a variety of ways to assess board performance, ranging from “an intentional and constructive conversation among board members about current board structures, practices, and behaviors to a comprehensive governance review led by an outside consultant.” Going hand in hand with board assessments are principles designed to enhance the effectiveness of individual board members. Over the course of a year, AGB engaged thought leaders and members in defining the attitudes and behaviors of highly effective trustees. The result of this work is the Principles of Trusteeship: How to Become a Highly Effective Board Member for Colleges, Universities, and Foundations—a set of nine principles that lay out a vision for more effective boards based on more effective board members.

Regardless of the assessment method, AGB empowers our members to conduct impactful assessments to ensure their board’s effectiveness, relevance, and sustainability in today’s challenging higher education environment.

Sources:
AGB Consulting
Assessing Board Performance: A Practical Guide for College, University, System, and Foundation Boards by Marla J. Bobowick and Merrill P. Schwartz, AGB 2018
Principles of Trusteeship: How to Become a Highly Effective Board Member for Colleges, Universities, and Foundations, AGB 2021

Questions for boards.

These are key questions for your board to consider:

Practices and Policies

Consequential Questions:

  1. How mature are our shared governance practices?
  2. Are our board policies and procedures current and based on best practices?
  3. What changes could be made to optimize board performance?

Sources:

AGB Consulting
Assessing Board Performance: A Practical Guide for College, University, System, and Foundation Boards by Marla J. Bobowick and Merrill P. Schwartz, AGB 2018

Strategy and Decision-Making

Consequential Questions:

  1. Is our team embodying our defined mission and strategy?
  2. How can our board and leadership ensure institutional sustainability?
  3. What role does educational quality play in board decision-making?

Sources:

AGB Consulting
Assessing Board Performance: A Practical Guide for College, University, System, and Foundation Boards by Marla J. Bobowick and Merrill P. Schwartz, AGB 2018

Board Culture and Assessment

Consequential Questions:

  1. How would board members and those who work with the board describe board culture, and are there opportunities to strengthen it?
  2. What role does the self-assessment of individual board members play in the assessment of the board as a whole?

Sources:

AGB Consulting
Assessing Board Performance: A Practical Guide for College, University, System, and Foundation Boards by Marla J. Bobowick and Merrill P. Schwartz, AGB 2018

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