Assessing Board Readiness to Lead Change in Public Higher Education Systems

By Barbara Brittingham and James H. Page


$65.00 (Member Price $45.00)


Download E-book


$65.00 (Member Price $45.00)


Download E-book

Public systems are uniquely positioned to lead transformative change in higher education, both in terms of how public institutions are structured and how academic programs and instruction are delivered. Given the scope of the institutions under system auspices and the scale of students who are enrolled at system-affiliated institutions, systems are vital to shaping the future of American higher education. System boards must therefore be ready to work with system leaders and staff to leverage that scope and scale to lead the kind of strategic transformations needed to deliver more affordable and relevant college degrees.

In this new resource from AGB, Barbara Brittingham, PhD, and James H. Page, PhD, delve into the important prework that system boards must perform to assess their readiness to help identify and lead transformative strategic change. They begin with an overview of the myriad kinds of public system boards active across the American higher education landscape. The goal is to enable a system board to identify where it fits within this landscape and therefore understand its capacity for leading change.

Next, they present a process for identifying board strengths and weaknesses—because identifying and addressing any weaknesses is central to a board’s ability to lead transformative change. The final chapter shows how to develop action plans to address high-priority gaps and ends with a brief reflection on what to do if a gap cannot be closed.

Each chapter includes templates to help situate the system board in the larger context of the higher education landscape, work through the assessment exercise, and develop effective action plans to close gaps.


● Foreword by R. Barbara Gitenstein, PhD, Senior Vice President of Consulting and Cristin Toutsi Grigos, Vice President for Content and Program Strategy, AGB

● Introduction

● Chapter 1: Locating Your System Board

  • Template 1.1: Situating Your System Board in the Higher Education Landscape

● Chapter 2: Board Assessment—15 Questions

  • Template 2.1: Summary Board Assessment
  • Template 2.2: Identifying the Highest Level of Authority for Key Areas of Governance Responsibilities
  • Template 2.3: Creating an Inventory of Board Skills

● Chapter 3: Closing the Gaps

  • Template 3.1: Gap Analysis Action Items

Title Information

  • A bulk discount is available for orders of 10 or more copies. 
  • Publication Year: 2023 
  • ISBN: 978-1-951635-33-6 
  • 66 pages 
About the Author:

Barbara Brittingham, PhD, is president emerita of the New England Commission of Higher Education. She is on the board of the National Student Clearinghouse, serves as an adviser to the Transformational Partnerships Fund, and has served on the quality assurance bodies in Iceland and Ireland.

James H. Page, PhD, is chancellor emeritus of the University of Maine System. In addition to his academic work, he spent 15 years in the private sector as CEO of a professional services consulting firm. He has served on a number of private and public sector boards.

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