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A Standing Committee on IT—or Not?

A Standing Committee on IT—or Not?

Angel L. Mendez is a trustee and chairman of the board’s information technology committee at Lafayette College, as well as a member of AGB’s Board of Directors. Today’s blog is an excerpt from his article "Need IT with That? How One Board Effectively Oversees Technology," which first appeared in the special Tech Issue of Trusteeship.

Some colleges and universities, including Lafayette College where I am a trustee, have created a separate board committee on information technology. Is this the most effective approach? Given the sweeping influence of technology, should it be thought of as a separate silo managed exclusively by geeky experts? After all, isn’t information technology a key ingredient in nearly every aspect of the college or university’s experience and successful operation?

But regardless of the structure that an institution eventually adopts, it is important that the institution’s leadership consider information technology’s reach. For example, from the board of trustees’ perspective:

  • A board committee on facilities should worry about the ongoing costs of providing appropriate technology for every new academic building or residence hall.
  • A board committee on external affairs should worry about the institution’s web presence and use of social-networking tools to promote its brand and connect with alumni.
  • A board committee on academic affairs should consider investments in instructional technology as it addresses curricular innovation and faculty recognition.
  • A board committee on development and advancement should work to leverage technology to research, develop, and nurture its pipeline of donors.
  • A board committee on audit should oversee many other institutionwide considerations such as risks involving data privacy and IT system security.

The baseline consideration is that all these areas of institutional life, and probably others, are increasingly likely to rely heavily on IT.

Read the full article for more discussion about IT on campus, as well as to understand the role the IT committee at Lafayette played in campus technology.

We invite you to read this special digital-only issue of Trusteeship on your iPad! Through AGB's complimentary app, you can read the full stories and explore special features. The issue is also available online. AGB is grateful to Sonic Foundry, sole sponsor of this special issue.

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