Board members typically feel that their volunteer time and effort is highly rewarding, and boards that monitor the quality of student learning find this especially true.
In fact, one president reports that board members “are falling in love with the college all over again” as they get to know faculty members, students, and how the institution ensures educational quality.
Boards have high-level fiduciary responsibility for the entire institution, not only finances, risk, and capital projects, but also programs, curriculum, and student learning. Some trustees hesitate to get involved with academics, respecting faculty roles and expertise. It can take two or more years to grow into it, but the rewards begin immediately. Led by the academic affairs committee and the provost, overseeing educational quality typically begins with a well-planned series of meetings involving both trustees and faculty members. Through orientation and conversation, all participants come to understand the board’s legitimate role in educational quality oversight.
- Trustees learn how faculty assess quality and use that information to improve student learning.
- Trustees determine what information is most useful for them, potentially resulting in an annual report or dashboard on key indicators of educational quality and student success.
To bring educational quality full circle, boards use the evidence of educational quality to inform decisions on strategy, resource allocation, and institutional effectiveness. They continue to learn and engage with faculty and students. They become key partners in the institution’s ongoing culture of continuous improvement and accountability.