AGB recently released Top Strategic Issues for Boards 2018-2019, which frames some of the most pressing challenges for colleges and universities. As colleges and universities navigate an era of rapid change—characterized by an evolving student population, increased demands from business and political leaders, and persistent technological advancement—it is fitting that innovation is on the list.
Governing boards have a key role to play in fostering and sustaining a culture of innovation on their campuses. To assist boards in this role, the AGB Board of Directors’ Statement on Innovation in Higher Education offers six principles for consideration:
- Innovation in higher education requires a focus on current and long-term priorities and aspirations.
- Innovation depends on an active commitment to building and sustaining a culture of institutional collaboration.
- In fostering a culture of innovation, the governing board should be clear in its support for presidential leadership.
- Innovation requires a governing board’s readiness for change, a willingness to accept and monitor risk, and a structure that ensures proper oversight and participation in innovation.
- Innovation requires a sufficient commitment of resources.
- Successful innovation demands the governing board’s attention to the strategic role of technology.
A truly consequential board recognizes the importance of innovation for the future of the institution. In framing a culture of innovation—one that meets challenges with boldness and empowers the creativity of all stakeholders—boards can add immense value as their institutions navigate higher education’s dynamic environment.