2016 Presidents Governance Academy Works to Strengthen Presidents’ Relations with the Board of Trustees

Presenter stands beside participants seated at roundtables  

Most CIC presidents place improving president-board relations on top of their list of the vexing challenges they face. CIC has developed the Presidents Governance Academy in response to member presidents’ requests for an opportunity to discuss sensitive leadership issues among themselves, receive expert advice on the features of high-performing boards, and distill best practices and resources available to strengthen board performance.

The third Academy took place January 3–4, 2016, immediately prior to the start of the 2016 Presidents Institute. Participants discussed such topics as board composition, committee structure, trustee selection and orientation, effective board meetings, in-service education and board retreats, and performance assessment of the governing board.

As with the previous two offerings, participants from a diverse array of CIC member colleges and universities enthusiastically endorsed the seminar. “The program far exceeded my expectations. In particular, I appreciated the variety of viewpoints reflected in the advance readings along with consideration of board assessment practices and procedures during the Academy,” reflected Laurie M. Hamen, president of Mount Mercy University (IA). Driss Ouaouicha, president of Al Akhawayn University (Morocco), remarked, “It was most helpful to have external, objective review and analysis of the bylaws.” Participants in the January Academy included long-serving presidents representing small and large campuses, a range of religious affiliations as well as secular institutions, and two international colleges. The diversity of the group’s practices and experiences contributed to helpful small group and one-on-one conversations, as highlighted by many of the participants.

The seminar was led by Richard T. (Tom) Ingram, CIC senior advisor for president-board relations and former president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and Richard J. Cook, president emeritus of Allegheny College (PA) and chair of the board of directors of Second Nature, the founding and umbrella organization of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

Sandra S. Harper, president of McMurry University (TX), stated, “The expertise and experience of the program facilitators and the wisdom and ideas of colleagues were two of the most helpful aspects of the Academy.”

CIC’s Presidents Governance Academy program is generously supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The next Academy is planned for January 3–4, 2017. Additional information is available at www.cic.edu/GovernanceAcademy.