As a central component of the sector, public higher education systems enroll more than half of all postsecondary students in the United States—upwards of 10 million students each year. These systems are essential drivers of state and national economies and of our democracy. The vastness of their reach also means they hold enormous responsibility. Governing boards, state officials, and system chief executives (“system heads”) are each responsible for upholding public trust and advancing the performance of the system; it is difficult to overstate the importance of that work.
In August 2015, AGB assembled a Task Force on System Board Governance to further study the question of how to ensure effective board governance across the nation’s approximately 55 public higher education systems. Kevin Reilly, president emeritus of the University of Wisconsin System, chaired the task force, which, in collaboration with the leadership and board of the National Association of System Heads and its chair, Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York, produced a set of specific recommendations, included herein and geared toward system governing boards, system chief executives, and policy leaders.