AGB members often need information right away about a broad range of policies and practices and want to hear from other board professionals, especially at institutions like their own. The Board Professionals Network on Ning.com allows you to reach out to your network of peers and get answers fast. It is restricted to board professionals to focus the discussion on issues of greatest interest and to allow for candid exchanges. Subscribers typically use the network to: post questions; ask for sample documents, such as handbooks, policies, committee charges, and job descriptions; and get advice on event planning, such as trustee orientation and presidential inaugurations.
The Network for Board Professionals is hosted on "Ning," and members use it as a listserv to post questions, participate in discussions, and more.
To join the Board Professionals Network, send an email to the moderator with your name, title, institution, and email address; all AGB member board professionals may join. You will receive an email invitation to join the Network from "email@example.com." Follow the instructions on the home page of the site to get started. When you set up your profile, please list your institution along with your name in the name field (e.g. "Mary Smith, College of the West"), so colleagues will know where you work, as well as your name, when you initiate or participate in a discussion.
We hope you will join: the larger and more active the network, the more valuable it is for everyone involved!
Mitzi Norton, director of the Office of the President at Adler University, says of Ning:
In our jobs as board professionals, we often are asked to come up with a new procedure, policy, or way of doing things. In these situations, wouldn't it be nice to have the advice of colleagues right at your fingertips?
With AGB's online Board Professionals Network on ning.com, you do! All you have to do is go to the home page, http://agbbps.ning.com, click on the "Forum" tab, click "Add a discussion," and name your topic. All colleagues who have joined Ning will be able to see your message and weigh in. You can also peruse the already posted topics to see if any are responsive to your needs, and request to be notified when new discussion topics have been posted or when someone has responded to a topic in which you have an interest.
Recent discussion topics have ranged from those related to trustees (trustee emeritus appointments, FAQs for new trustees, board orientation, academic regalia, suggestions for gifts), to meetings (digitization of documents, online agendas, meeting evaluation and feedback, executive sessions, meeting recording software) to more general topics (online sources for quotations, commencement/H1N1 issues, IRS Form 990).
Those of you who have attended the annual AGB Workshop for Board Professionals know how valuable it is to network with colleagues who also work with higher education boards. The forum discussions on the board professionals' social networking site are the next best thing to being there, and they're available year round. I encourage you to take advantage of them.