Why this is important.

Innovation is a critical driver of progress in higher education. As fiduciaries, board members are responsible for ensuring institutions utilize innovation to advance institutional missions and safeguard the future vitality of colleges and universities.

While there is no single formula for innovation in higher education, governing boards that embrace a culture of innovation are typically attentive to changing consumer demands, fostering institutional collaboration, proactively align technological innovations to their institutional priorities, and embrace experimentation as part of the process. Innovation requires an institution-wide commitment and governing boards must spearhead this challenging but rewarding task.

Source: AGB Board of Directors’ Statement on Innovation in Higher Education, AGB 2020

 

Questions for boards.

These are key questions for your board to consider:

Commitment to Innovation

Consequential Questions:

  1. How has our board formally delegated the leadership for innovation to the president and signaled its commitment to support innovation to the campus community?
  2. Have our board and president discussed the need for patience, the potential for failure, and the risk involved when undertaking innovation?
  3. Is our board properly constituted for and engaged in discussions on innovation?
  4. How is our board building a culture conducive to innovation?
  5. How are faculty meaningfully included in conversations about change?
  6. Where are innovative ideas emerging on campus? How are these innovative ideas recognized at this institution, and how is innovation rewarded?
  7. Is technology sufficiently robust to support innovation at this institution?

Source:

AGB Board of Directors’ Statement on Innovation in Higher Education, AGB 2020

Financial Implications

Consequential Questions:

  1. How clear is our board’s understanding of the institution’s business model and its challenges?
  2. Has the board, in concert with institutional leadership, considered the financial implications associated with change?
  3. What kind of financial resources are required for innovation, and where should they come from?

Source:

AGB Board of Directors’ Statement on Innovation in Higher Education, AGB 2020

We carefully curated these staff-picked resources for you:

Strategic Planning and Transformation

Consulting Service
AGB

Innovations in Higher Education

Podcast
Featuring Nancy Zimpher and Paul LeBlanc

The 2021 John Nason Award Winners: Six Boards that Met the Moment

Trusteeship magazine, March/April 2021
Christopher Connell