Most boards of colleges and universities don't reach their fullest potential for effective governance. In fact, many may suffer from boardroom dysfunctions that might not be fully apparent. Yet now, more than ever, boards need to strive toward a higher level of performance. Today’s challenges and expectations demand nothing less.
High performance should be the goal of the governing bodies of all institutions and systems. So, how can boards become more effective?
AGB’s National Commission on College and University Board Governance, under the leadership of former Governor Philip N. Bredesen (D-TN), is working to ensure that boards have the capacity and awareness to meet their responsibilities in an era that often calls for answers to challenging problems. We will share the commission’s recommendations this fall.
1. Create a culture of inclusion.
2. Uphold basic fiduciary principles.
3. Cultivate a healthy relationship with the president.
4. Select an effective board chair.
5. Establish an effective governance committee.
6. Delegate appropriate decision-making authority to committees.
7. Consider strategic risk factors.
8. Provide appropriate oversight of academic quality.
9, Develop a renewed commitment to shared governance.
10. Focus on accountability.
The goal is to make this higher level of board engagement work—for the students who expect our institutions to meet their needs, for policy makers who want to be sure that the public’s investment in higher education is providing collective societal benefits, and for others among our stakeholder groups who care about the opportunities that higher education offers.
Taken from “The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Boards” by AGB's president, Richard D. Legon. The full text first appeared in the March/April 2014 issue of Trusteeship. Read the full text online or download Trusteeship on your iPad.