The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges recently said they have created a new committee that will look at how higher education is governed. The hope is that needed changes will result by examining whether college boards function both efficiently and effectively.
In recent years, some college boards have made the headlines – and not for good reasons. Some schools were criticized for having boards that move too fast without listening to college faculty. Other times, boards were under fire for moving too slowly.
While these instances are allegedly not the reasons behind why this committee was formed, according to Richard Legon, the association’s president, he does believe that “we need to take a hard look at how to strengthen and make more effective the role of governing boards”[i]. He also states that “we are in a period of substantial change where the choices and the decisions that institutional policy makers – including CEOs and boards – face are more complex”[ii]. Basically, there are new educational concerns today like finances and technological innovations that should be addressed and the only group to do so is the college board.
Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen will chair the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and he believes it “will be key to find solutions for universal changes that exist throughout higher education”[i] such as how colleges comply and what types of curriculums are offered. Legon’s own priorities include making sure boards work with administrators and students, figuring out how academic programs should be shaped, addressing financial concerns, and analyzing how boards should be structured.
Once the first meeting is held, the association will address which topics should be covered. While the association doesn’t know how many colleges will take its recommendations to heart and implement changes, many schools have already shown interest in how they can improve their boards’ effectiveness.