Fourth ‘Governing Board Equity in Student Success’ Seminar Reveals New Opportunities for Higher Education Leaders

By AGB March 23, 2023 Press Releases, Student Success News
Press Release

For Immediate Release
Morgan Alexander

Katie Locke
Gardner Institute

WASHINGTON, DC (March 23, 2023)—Teams of higher education board members, presidents, and senior-level administrators hailing from a cross-section of Kentucky’s public colleges and universities convened at the Equity in Student Success Seminar in February to determine key goals and implementation strategies. The leadership retreat was hosted by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (Gardner Institute). The seminar is the latest component of a $2.1 million grant initiative, Governing Board Equity in Student Success, funded by the Ascendium Education Group.

The initiative is designed to engage governing boards, chief executive officers, and other senior leaders in advancing equitable student success within their colleges and universities. AGB is the premier organization advocating strategic board governance in higher education. The Gardner Institute partners with colleges, universities, and others to increase institutional responsibility for improving student outcomes.

Teams from seven higher education institutions or systems in Kentucky joined AGB and the Gardner Institute to create action plans that identify strategic goals, implementation strategies, and “champions” charged with ensuring plan success. These discussions can have far-reaching effects on the governing board and inform institutional priorities, board structure, and subsequent board agendas.

Each team received a leadership playbook for equitable student success. The playbook draws from leading practices and practical examples, some of which originated in AGB’s Board Responsibility for Equitable Student Success initiative—a separate project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Both initiatives promote and elevate one another to maximize impact.

“The seminar was a perfect mix of high-level theory and practical grounding,” said Drew Koch, Gardner Institute CEO. “I know that these teams are invested in making a meaningful change on campus, but I was blown away by their engagement and desire to get it right. I’m excited to see how these colleges and universities manifest the plans they have put together.”

The event marked the fourth meeting for the teams in Kentucky. The meeting coincided with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s Student Success Summit. The next convening will be held on September 17, 2023, in Louisville, in conjunction with the Council’s statewide trusteeship conference.

The seven institutions that participated in February’s seminar were:

  • Bellarmine University
  • Berea College
  • Kentucky State University
  • Simmons College of Kentucky
  • Thomas More University
  • Transylvania University
  • University of Louisville

In addition to the seminars, teams engage in webinars and tailored coaching sessions throughout the year to sustain momentum during this multiyear project. Several institutions were also selected to engage in comprehensive data analysis and strategic planning, led by the Gardner Institute, that focused on improving retention and graduation rates. AGB and the Gardner Institute look forward to inviting additional participants in the future.

“We are confident that the tools and resources that we provide to these teams will help their governing boards serve as consequential, strategic thought partners with their executive partners,” said Henry Stoever, AGB president and CEO. “This important work is essential to elevate each institution’s efforts and to impact students on the ground. As we share the successes of these teams and begin to gather additional cohorts, we think we’re going to see significant change—first in Kentucky, and then throughout the country.”

More information about the Governing Board Equity in Student Success initiative can be found here and here.

About AGB
The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) is the premier membership organization that strengthens higher education governing boards and the strategic roles they serve within their organizations. Through our vast library of resources, educational events, and consulting services, and with more than 100 years of experience, we empower 40,000 AGB members from more than 2,000 institutions and foundations to navigate complex issues, implement leading practices, streamline operations, and govern with confidence. AGB is the trusted resource for board members, chief executives, and key administrators on higher education governance and leadership.

About the Gardner Institute
The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to partnering with colleges, universities, philanthropic organizations, educators, and other entities to increase institutional responsibility for improving outcomes associated with teaching, learning, retention, and completion. It is dedicated to advancing higher education’s larger goal of achieving equity and social justice.


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