AGB Unveils Initiative to Define Exemplary Attributes of Higher Education Governing Board Members

By AGB June 16, 2020 October 7th, 2020 Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Morgan Alexander

WASHINGTON, DC (June 16, 2020)—The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the premier organization representing higher education governing boards, is undertaking an initiative to identify the characteristics and conduct that will define exemplary college and university board members who will help their institutions and foundations flourish as they face the challenges of 21st-century higher education.

The initiative kicked off with a February meeting of the 14-member working group that will create a “Statement of the Principles of Trusteeship” that can inspire and guide board members to act strategically, drive successful outcomes, and serve as vital assets for their institutions and foundations and higher education as a whole. AGB’s goal in crafting the statement is to help the governing boards of higher education colleges, universities, systems, and institutionally related foundations raise the bar for their performance. Despite differences in the appointment processes of public governing and system boards and those of their private counterparts, the same high expectations should apply to all boards.

Just as private institutions must recruit individuals of exceptional merit and commitment, state leaders who hold the authority to appoint members to the governing boards of their state’s public institutions must identify outstanding individuals to serve on public governing boards. The Principles of Trusteeship Project will examine best practices and attributes of board members of both sectors. The second meeting of the working group was held virtually on June 8 to continue the conversation.

The initiative is exploring such topics as accountability, board composition, independent judgment, risk management, diversity and inclusion, and innovation and technology. AGB’s goal is to unveil the “Statement of the Principles of Trusteeship” in April 2021 in conjunction with the National Conference on Trusteeship.

“As higher education faces disruption and challenges that require a fundamental rethinking of how to lead strategically, this initiative will provide sound guidance for a critical group of changemakers: college, university, system, and foundation board members,” said Shauna Ryder Diggs, chair of the AGB Board of Directors and a member of the working group.

“College and university board members are the leaders who can help solidify the future of higher education,” said Henry Stoever, AGB president and CEO and a member of the working group. “AGB’s goal with this initiative is to inspire board members to rise to the challenges facing our sector and to use their position as higher education leaders to effect change.”

The Principles of Trusteeship Project Working Group

Steven Bahls, President, Augustana College
Richard Chait, Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ellen Chaffee, Senior Fellow and Senior Consultant, AGB Consulting; Former President, Valley City State University and Mayville State University
Gerald Czarnecki, Trustee, National University
Shauna Ryder Diggs, Chair, Board of Directors, AGB; Regent, University of Michigan
Eleanor V. Horne, Member, Board of Directors, AGB; Trustee, The College of New Jersey
Tom Hyatt, General Counsel, AGB; AGB Senior Fellow for Public Policy; Partner, Dentons
James Lyons, Senior Consultant, AGB; Trustee, Dillard University and Alliant International University
Martin Michaelson, Senior Counsel, Hogan Lovells LLC
David Moore, Secretary of the Board of Trustees, The Ohio University
Leonard Raley, President and CEO, University System of Maryland Foundation
Laurene Sperling, Vice Chair, Duke University Board of Trustees
Henry Stoever, President and CEO, AGB
Michael Vekich, Immediate Past Chair and Member, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees

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 nearly 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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