Why this is important.

Board members of public colleges and universities oversee valuable public assets that they hold in trust for the state and current and future generations. Unlike private institutions, most public institution, system, and state higher education board members are appointed by governors and legislators or occasionally elected at large by the general public. Yet like private institutions, public boards require thoughtful, deliberate, merit-based selection processes. AGB empowers key appointing authorities to nominate quality board members ready to combat disruptive forces in the higher education landscape today and establish legacies of effective governance and leadership for the benefit of the state and its citizens.

Source: “The Importance of Public Board Member Selection for the Future of U.S. Higher Education,” AGB Blog Post by Cristin Toutsi Grigos, January 24, 2020 

Questions for boards.

These are key questions for your board to consider:

Board Culture and Processes

Consequential Questions:

  1. Does our governing board embody our defined mission and strategy? When is the last time we updated our institution’s mission?  
  2. Do our board members act as more than just names on a masthead? Does our board act collectively and our individual board members understand their fiduciary duties, responsibilities, and how these translate to effective board performance?   
  3. How diverse is our board? What perspectives are missing from the table and how can the board be more inclusive? How are potential new board members identified? 
  4. Does my state have an annual statewide education program for public board members? If not, how can our institution’s board orientation and board development programs fill this gap?  

Sources:

“The Importance of Public Board Member Selection for the Future of U.S. Higher Education,” AGB Blog Post by Cristin Toutsi Grigos, January 24, 2020 

“Strengthening Capacity through Public Board Member Education,” AGB Blog Post by Cristin Toutsi Grigos, January 30, 2020 

Sustainability Strategies

Consequential Questions:

  1. Do we know if our current educational and financial model is or is not sustainable for the next 10 years? 
  2. Does our institution have a comprehensive enrollment strategy? What other comprehensive strategies do we have, and which are we missing? 
  3. Does our board have a system for tracking key financial metrics that provide data relevant to long-term financial decision-making? 

Sources:

“The Importance of Public Board Member Selection for the Future of U.S. Higher Education,” AGB Blog Post by Cristin Toutsi Grigos, January 24, 2020 

“Strengthening Capacity through Public Board Member Education,” AGB Blog Post by Cristin Toutsi Grigos, January 30, 2020 

Board Relationships

Consequential Questions:

  1. Does our governing board have a clear boundary between board policymaking and the president’s leadership and management of the institution? 
  2. How can our board strengthen the relationship between higher education and state government?  

Sources:

“The Importance of Public Board Member Selection for the Future of U.S. Higher Education,” AGB Blog Post by Cristin Toutsi Grigos, January 24, 2020 

“Strengthening Capacity through Public Board Member Education,” AGB Blog Post by Cristin Toutsi Grigos, January 30, 2020 

We carefully curated these staff-picked resources for you:

All resources.