Why this is important.

The governance committee has the central responsibility of ensuring that board members are prepared to exercise their fiduciary duties.

This committee is the key means by which board members receive a comprehensive orientation to higher education, to their institution, and to the principles of highly effective trusteeship. A board looks to its governance committee to help it ask and answer the right governance questions.

Sources: The Governance Committee (Independent Institutions) by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2013
The Governance Committee (Public Institutions) , Carol Cartwright, AGB 2019

The Governance Committee (Foundation Boards) , by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2014

Questions for boards.

These are key questions for your board to consider:

Planning and Processes

Consequential Questions:

  1. Is our committee work aligned with our institution’s strategic vision, goals, and priorities?
  2. Are our committee meeting agendas concise and developed with clearly stated desired meeting outcomes?
  3. Has our committee identified best practices in governance and customized them, as appropriate, to our board and institution?
  4. How effective is our board member recruitment process?
  5. Is our committee apprised by legal counsel of relevant federal and state laws and do we ensure they are followed?

Sources:

The Governance Committee (Independent Institutions) by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2013
The Governance Committee (Public Institutions) , Carol Cartwright, AGB 2019
The Governance Committee (Foundation Boards) , by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2014

Roles and Responsibilities

Consequential Questions:

  1. When was the last time our committee updated new board member orientation?
  2. When did our committee last review our board’s term limit policies?
  3. How frequently does our board conduct individual board member assessments?

Sources:

The Governance Committee (Independent Institutions) by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2013
The Governance Committee (Public Institutions) , Carol Cartwright, AGB 2019
The Governance Committee (Foundation Boards) , by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2014

Key Metrics

Consequential Questions:

  1. Is our committee aware of the impact of issues brought before other board committees that deal with governance-related issues?
  2. Does our committee translate our charges into annual goals and work plans that align with the board’s governance responsibilities and our institution’s strategic plan?

Sources:

The Governance Committee (Independent Institutions) by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2013
The Governance Committee (Public Institutions) , Carol Cartwright, AGB 2019
The Governance Committee (Foundation Boards) , by E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB 2014

We carefully curated these staff-picked resources for you:

The Governance Committee (Independent Institutions)

2013
E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB

The Governance Committee (Foundation Boards)

2014
E.B. Wilson and James L. Lanier, AGB