Return to Institute Homepage Presidents Governance Academy

Tuesday, January 3 • 8:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 4 • 7:15 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Supported by the Henry Luce Foundation

2017 Presidents Governance Academy brochureThe CIC Presidents Governance Academy, held immediately prior to the Presidents Institute, is a highly personalized and participatory two-day program for CIC member presidents who wish to strengthen and sustain a high-performing board of trustees. Through both time-tested and new approaches, the Academy helps presidents strengthen president-board relations, align board bylaws with principles of good governance, make bylaws more effective, and sustain a high-performing board of trustees. The Presidents Governance Academy is unique in its exclusive focus on the perspective of the independent college president. While it respects the distinction between the president’s and the board’s authority, the Academy starts with the premise that the president must have the tools and the mandate to advance efforts, with board leaders, to develop an effective governing board. Each participant will receive an individualized critique of the institution’s board bylaws and will begin to draft a trustee education and board development plan. Registration for the Academy also allows the opportunity to consult privately by phone with the Academy’s leaders throughout the year. Additional information is available at
Luce Foundation logoThe registration fee for the Presidents Governance Academy is $400 for presidents, thanks to the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and includes all program meals and materials. Participation is limited to 20 presidents to provide for candid exchange among participants. Additional institutional officers, trustees, spouses, and others are not eligible to participate. Please pre-register for this program. To add this program to an existing registration, please contact Sherita Ashmon, CIC conference manager, by email at or by phone at (202) 466-7230.
Richard T. (Tom) Ingram, Senior Advisor for President-Board Relations, CIC, and former President, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
Richard J. Cook, President Emeritus, Allegheny College, and Chair, Board of Directors, Second Nature (Presidents’ Climate Commitment)


8:00–8:45 a.m.


9:00–9:45 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

  • Review of participant survey
  • What are some of the most vexing challenges presidents face in working with their boards of trustees?

9:45–10:30 a.m.

Discussion Topics

  • Review of key program themes, facilitator roles, ground rules, and agenda
  • What distinguishes a high-performing governing board?
10:30–10:45 a.m.

Refreshment Break

10:45–11:45 a.m.

Discussion Topics

  • What levers, strategies, and resources are available to presidents to strengthen the board?
  • What presidential relationships are particularly key—and sometimes problematic?
  • “Shared” governance and relations with faculty

Noon–1:00 pm.


1:15–2:45 p.m.

Discussion of Best Board Practices (part 1)

  • Membership: size, composition, terms and term limits, committee on trustees
  • Organization: committees, especially executive, and reserved powers
  • Meetings
  • Trustee philanthropy
2:45–3:00 p.m.

Refreshment Break

3:00–4:30 p.m.

Discussion of Best Board Practices (part 2)

  • Retreats
  • Orientation programs
  • In-service education
  • Handbook and trustee information systems
4:30–5:30 p.m.

Discussion Groups

  • Overview of critiques by facilitators of participants’ bylaws
  • How does affiliation with your respective sponsor, founder,
    congregation, tradition, or other major influence directly affect,
    positively or negatively, how your governing board is constituted,
    is organized, or functions?

6:30–8:30 p.m.

Reception and Dinner



7:15–8:00 a.m.


8:00–8:45 a.m.


  • On yesterday’s conversations
  • On a few articles in the Book of Readings you find especially helpful or provocative

8:45–10:00 a.m.

Discussion Topics

  • What are best practices in performance assessment of the governing board, individual trustees, and the presidency?
10:00–10:15 a.m.

Refreshment Break

10:15–11:15 a.m.

One-on-One Bylaws Critique

(in teams of two)
11:30 a.m.–Noon

Review of Bylaws Discussions

Noon–1:00 pm.


1:15–2:30 p.m.

Pulling It All Together

  • What are some effective approaches to in-service trustee education and board development initiatives that have worked for you? What approaches have not worked?
  • What is your plan to strengthen governance policies and practices (explicit goals, strategy, and timetable)?
2:30–3:00 p.m.

Closing Comments and Program Assessment