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Workshop for Board Professionals


Build on your expertise, enhance your understanding of governance, and strengthen your role as a board professional. Held in conjunction with AGB’s National Conference on Trusteeship, the Workshop for Board Professionals is open to those professionals in higher education who staff boards of trustees in roles such as assistant to the president, general counsel, secretary of the college, assistant secretary of the board, vice president, and chief of staff.

A planning committee of board professionals—led by committee co-chairs Denise Nelson Nash of Scripps College, Tina Holloway of the University of Texas System and Rian Curley of California Lutheran College—developed the program. This year, for the second time, the committee solicited proposals for sessions. The program is comprised of concurrent and plenary sessions, roundtables, reception, and various social networking activities to ensure that the program delivers support, information, and professional growth to those in the profession.

Trustees and presidents are ineligible to register for the Workshop for Board Professionals (unless they are on the program as a speaker).


Diversity and Inclusion on the Board Effective Collaboration Between the BP, Cabinet, and Trustees Great Apps to Help You in Your Board Work Becoming an Effective Leader as a Board Professional Board Basics—from Orientation to Committee Meetings Speed Mentoring

Concurrent Session Tracks

Board Professional Fundamentals: These sessions cover topics on some of the basic functions and responsibilities of the board professional role.Strategic Issues: These sessions cover topics related to some of the big strategic issues facing many colleges and universities.
Influencers: These sessions address the ways in which board professionals can be influential and offer thought leadership in dealing with some of the institution’s biggest issues and opportunities.Institutionally Affiliated Foundations: These sessions cover topics on fundraising, development, and the relationship between an institution and its affiliated foundation.
Technology and Innovation: These sessions address technology-oriented questions, innovations, and strategies to enhance the work of the governing board and staff.Preparing for Change: These sessions address topics related to preparing for moments of major institutional change.

Friday, April 12

2:45pm - 4:00pmNew Attendee Welcome and Speed Networking These quick, small-group discussions afford new and seasoned workshop attendees an opportunityto forge peer connections, share ideas and resources, and discuss best practices. This activity is open to all and is especially recommended for first-time attendees.
4:15pm - 4:30pmWelcome and Greetings
4:30pm - 5:30pmOpening Plenary: Are you ready? Part One: Equity and Belonging
Diversity is imperative for boards to consider. However, John Silvanus Wilson, president emeritus at Morehouse and senior advisor to the president at Harvard, notes that diversity is merely quantitative, while inclusion and belonging are qualitative. They are about how well the different people in any given environment interact with and learn from one another. How do we help our boards and administrations realize that failure on inclusion obstructs our institutions from reaching their potential in terms of organizational strength and sustainability? In this session, we’ll hear from a panel of institutional leaders and faculty about how institutions and governing boards can effectively address these issues.
5:30pm - 6:30pmWelcome Reception Workshop participants are encouraged to attend this social event, sign up for informal dinner groups, and mingle with friends—old and new.
7:00pmDinner Groups

Saturday, April 13

7:30am - 8:15amBreakfast
8:15am - 9:45amMorning Plenary: Are you ready? Part Two: Shared Governance
The challenges looming for higher education, from financing and public support to mergers and Alt-College, will be insurmountable in the absence of productive shared governance. If trustees and senior administration don't understand what strategic alignment looks like, how can we expect faculty, staff and students to get on board? After gaining insight from three distinct perspectives, we'll join colleagues from institutions similar to our own in assessing the state of our Shared Governance game.
10:00am - 11:00amAffinity Sessions for Like Institutions
These facilitated discussions will dive deeply into the content discussed in the plenary session as well as give attendees an opportunity to share concerns, approaches, and strategies. Sessions are segmented by institution type to enhance board professionals’ understanding of the nuanced business-model needs for their specific sectors.
Specialized Institutions │Public Master's/Doctoral Institutions │ Independent Master's/Doctoral Institutions │Baccalaureate Institutions │ Systems │ Foundations │Community Colleges
11:15am - 12:15pmConcurrent Sessions I
12:30pm - 1:45pmAwards Lunch and Idea Exchange/Resource Fair
2:00pm - 3:00pmConcurrent Sessions II
3:15pm - 4:15pmConcurrent Sessions III
4:30 pm-5:30 pmIdea Exchange/Resource Fair Continued
7:30pm - 9:30pmSocial Networking Activity: TBD

Sunday, April 14

6:00am - 7:00amWalking Groups
6:30am - 7:00amYoga Join your board professional colleagues for a 30-minute class focused on relaxation and restoration. Re-balance and restore with this gentle practice to reset your mind and body. We'll use breath control, poses, and meditation.
8:00am - 8:45amBreakfast
8:45am - 9:30amRoundtable Discussions
9:45am - 10:45amConcurrent Sessions IV
11:00am - 12:00pmClosing Plenary: Cracking the Happiness Code
Let's face it: we face a lot of stress in our professional lives. Using a positive approach in addressing it can actually help us sculpt our positions in such a way that we spend less time fire-fighting and more time focusing on that which we find sustaining and rewarding. Dr. Stephen Birchak is the author of several books, including It's Not a Crisis; It's an Inconvenience! and The Jerk Whisperer: How to Deal with Tyrants, Tormentors, and Bullies...and Still Keep Your Sanity! In this uplifting and energizing plenary session, he'll teach us some attitudinal jiu-jitsu that can help us thrive in challenging times.

Trustees and presidents are ineligible to register for the Workshop for Board Professionals (unless they are on the program as a speaker).

About Registration

This year there are two registration options for the Workshop for Board Professionals.  Please carefully read the note below before making your selection.

To register for the Workshop ONLY,  click the "Register for Workshop for Board Professionals" button.  You will still have the option to register for the National Conference separately if you decide to do so later.    

To register for the Workshop AND the National Conference in one transaction,  click the "Register for National Conference " button to register for both.