Today’s colleges and universities are under great stress as they work to sustain and expand the resources needed to fulfill their missions. That, in turn, requires finance committees to assume even greater responsibilities.
In this publication, author Ingrid Stafford discusses why the finance committee is so important to good governance and how the board can get the most out of the committee’s work. She also discusses four important trends board members should be aware of and she warns against two major pitfalls to avoid—inconsistent reporting to the board and micromanaging.
"The finance committee is charged with protecting and renewing the institution’s resources and helping the board fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities," notes Stafford. Specifically, it must effectively perform two primary roles in college and university governance:
- Ensure that the institution’s mission and purposes are fulfilled, by making certain that resources (human, physical, technological, and financial) are secured, appropriately allocated, and adequately protected, maintained, and renewed. The committee must also ensure that all of these activities are accurately reported and understood by the board of trustees and the public at large.
- Provide financial guidance to the full board of trustees. "The finance committee holds the distinct responsibility of weighing the immediate against the important (although sometimes they are the same) and translating those options for the full board."
The publication's appendices include sample finance committee charters for both public and independent institutions.
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