It’s time for graduation, and the question board members should be asking themselves is this: How confident are you that the students from your institution know and can do what they should when they graduate? Over the last several years, how much information have you received about the learning outcomes at your college or university? Have you heard about the satisfaction levels of those who hire your graduates? What are the results of satisfaction surveys of alumni five, ten, and fifteen years after graduation? These are some of the indicators of success that board members should hear about from the academic affairs committee. This committee is among the most important a board can have because it directly links the board with the institution’s mission—the education of students. The committee is also one of the most challenging because to be successful, it needs to delve into areas outside the comfort level of most board members.
While not doing the work of the faculty or the administration, this committee needs to monitor the institution’s education quality, and it needs to keep the full board informed of the process of continuous improvement of quality.
The work of the academic affairs committee has grown in significance over the last decade as parents, students, state and federal policymakers, and employers have demanded evidence of the return on investment in a college education. The committee can help hold the institution accountable to these various constituents by asking the same questions and by insisting on improvement. By doing so, the committee can help make sure all board members can attest to success at graduation.