With the 2014 mid-term elections behind us and the inauguration of ten new governors in January, it’s prime time for governors and legislators to think carefully about the appointments of the individuals who will begin their terms on public college/university boards.
As new and reelected governors and legislators think about the “state of their states,” building the leadership capacity of public college and university boards is critically important to institutional aspirations and state priorities.
New governors in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas, and hundreds of new legislators will soon recommend/confirm candidates for service. AGB’s state policy brief, Suggestions and Recommendations to Governors and State Legislatures for Improving the Selection and Composition of Public College and University Board Members, provides an overview of desirable qualifications sought in individual board members, both personal and professional/experiential, as well as how to establish a non-partisan committee to recruit, screen, and appoint public higher education governing board members. Simultaneously, many education leaders are informing elected officials of the skill sets that are needed on their boards—advocating that vacancies be filled with board members that can bring specific experiences/expertise to the table.
States are grappling with many issues facing higher education: access and affordability, improved revenue and business models, completion and attainment, gainful employment, and whether or not public higher education is structured to enact the policies/strategies to meet institutional and state goals, among others. Selecting an effective board is an important first step in keeping state education strong.