Board Oversight of Equitable Student Success


Selecting, supporting, and assessing the chief executive of the institution/system

  • Arguably the most influential role that boards have is to select, support, and evaluate the institutional chief executive and/or system head​.
  • Boards can use this influence to elevate equitable student success as a leadership requisite.

Action Items

  • Incorporate criterion for equitable student success into the recruitment, selection, and evaluation factors for the chief executive.
  • If your institution says equitable student success is a priority, evidence of ESS must be placed prominently in the recruitment and vetting process.
  • The actions and progress of the chief executive should be monitored with the lens of equitable student success and compensation decisions should reflect achievement of related goals​.

Metrics and Assessment Tactics

  • Require a history of improved student success.
  • Ask questions centered on equitable student success in the interview.
  • Request an equitable student success statement​.
  • Ask the candidate to show evidence of equitable student success in past work.

Questions to Pose

  • What are the ways you have worked to support equitable student success at your current or past institution? ​
  • What are the ways in which different students require different resources for student success?​
  • How are those different resources provided?​
  • What goals and evidence of achievements regarding equitable student success does the board use in assessing the chief executive? ​
  • Are incentives leading to greater equity and student success? If not, why not?​
  • Boards should ask questions based on their understanding of current positioning: Do we need a transformational or transactional leader?​

What does success look like?

The candidate can craft a definition of equitable student success.

The candidate can convey a plan for equitable student success.

The chief executive makes decisions with equitable student success in mind.

“We are excited to work with the Gates Foundation to develop and provide board members with resources to help them oversee and advance student success. This grant will allow us to create an informative and practical curriculum for boards with actionable recommendations and resources.”

Henry Stoever

President and CEO, AGB