New AGB Resource Highlights Most Pressing Issues Facing Higher Education Governing Boards

By AGB May 2, 2024 Press Releases
Press Release

For Immediate Release
Morgan Alexander

AGB’s biennial publication, Top Strategic Issues for Boards 2024–2025, informs higher education leaders about the topics and challenges that demand board attention.

WASHINGTON, DC (May 2, 2024)—The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) today released Top Strategic Issues for Boards 2024–2025, a biennial resource for higher education board members, chief executives, and senior administrators. The new edition provides an in-depth overview of the most pressing issues confronting higher education—issues that require board oversight and innovative thinking. Importantly, this new publication is designed to guide boardroom discussions on each issue by including relevant questions that can inform committee meetings, retreats, and strategic planning discussions.

The strategic issues detailed in the publication include:

  • Board independence and leadership
  • Leadership succession and support
  • Student success, the student experience, and campus inclusion
  • Business model innovation and digital transformation

“This is a crucible moment for colleges and universities everywhere,” said Ellen Chaffee, PhD, AGB interim president and CEO. “Boards have to collaborate with senior administrators to address the make-or-break issues that impact the mission, institutional values, and financial health. Top Strategic Issues helps boards move from simply doing oversight to becoming engaged partners and leaders.”

Beyond the more traditional responsibilities, such as ensuring fiscal health, the publication elevates broader board imperatives. For example, board members must champion board independence and academic freedom in front of critics and the public. As fiduciaries, board members must act in the best interest of the institutions they serve, and not accede to partisan whims or disgruntled donors. In response to member feedback, AGB published the AGB Board of Directors’ Statement on Influences Impacting Governing Board Independence and Leadership to help higher education governing boards address these challenges.

In another example, leadership succession and support is becoming imperative. With the average tenure of college presidents shortening, a governing board must ensure it is providing appropriate support and accountability for the individual it selected to lead the institution. Numerous articles have revealed the myriad challenges that college and university presidents must contend with, often at a breakneck pace. AGB experts continue to provide guidance for how best to develop the board-president relationship, develop effective transition plans, and perform meaningful assessments.

Mary Papazian, PhD, AGB executive vice president, expects that boards will use the publication to frame upcoming board meetings. “This is an important resource for orientations, retreat pre-meetings, and other opportunities for board education,” she said. “College and university leaders have to stay abreast of broader trends so they can prepare and respond to those trends in ways that push their institutions forward.”

A complimentary e-book version of Top Strategic Issues for Boards 2024–2025 is available for AGB members at Print copies are available for preorder, with a discount for members.

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 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.


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