2022 Presidents Governance Academy 1/3/2022 1/3/2022 1/3/20221/4/20221/4/20221/4/2022 JW Marriott Marco Island Marco Island, Florida

About the Academy

Recent circumstances have created unusual pressures on both presidents and trustees as they seek to balance short-term needs with long-term strategic priorities in the face of intense external challenges. These strains have sometimes resulted in adverse consequences for institutions—and for presidential tenures. The roots of those problems are often traceable to board culture, norms, and structure—that is, misalignment with the best governance principles, policies, and practices.

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.

CIC is grateful to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for its support of this program.

The Academy was a perfect crash course on governance at independent colleges and helped me transfer my knowledge of public higher education into a new culture.”
—Danny J. Anderson, President, Trinity University (TX)

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.”
—Laurie M. Hamen, Transitional President, College of Saint Benedict

Principles and Benefits

The Academy’s approach is based on these principles:
  • An effective governing board is necessary for both the institution and the president to be successful, escpecially in times of strategic change. The performance of each is dependent on the effectiveness of the other two.
  • Presidential leadership is essential to strengthening board effectiveness. Presidents who desire a truly high-performing governing board understand that they must take the lead in the education of trustees and on board development initiatives.
  • The performance of individual trustees and of boards of trustees as a whole are enhanced if the formal policies, desired practices, and performance standards are articulated and institutionalizedin bylaws and other key governance documents.
  • How the board is led and organized to accomplish its work is at least as important as the credentials and experience of individual trustees if the board is to be “more than the sum of its parts.”
  • A mutual understanding of shared governance among the board, the faculty, and the president is necessary for effective leadership. 
  • Best practices in the governance of nonprofit institutions, although better understood today, remain more art than science. Experience has shown that presidents must be knowledgeable, skillful, and assertive to guide the effective performance of their boards.

WhY Participate?

CIC’s annual Presidents Governance Academy is a two-day program for college presidents who wish to strengthen and sustain a high-performing board of trustees in a time of change. The program provides the opportunity to learn about both time-tested and new approaches to ensure supportive relations with the board and its leaders and to improve board composition, organization, and effectiveness. The program is intended for experienced presidents and will be especially helpful to those who are at least a few years into their presidencies.



The Academy is an intensive and highly participatory program. To allow for candid exchange, participation is limited to 20 presidents. To jump-start thinking about the ideas discussed in the Academy, participants receive a set of advance readings and checklists related to institutional governance. Over two days, presidents learn from Academy leaders about best practices in board governance, consider case studies of governance challenges, and discuss examples of board by-laws, and discuss practical solutions for governance problems. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to consult privately by phone with the Academy’s leaders throughout the year.

I found the readings extremely helpful. They put the workshop in context.”
—Lester C. Newman, President, Jarvis Christian College 

The Academy was one of the finest professional development occasions, perhaps the finest, in which I have participated.”
—Kurt Dykstra, President, Trinity Christian College (IL)

Discussion Topics

  • The board's role in leading institutional change
  • Board committee structures
  • Committee on trusteeship and executive committee roles and responsibilities
  • Board membership issues and recruitment
  • Term limits for trustees and officers
  • Performance reviews of both the president and the governing board
  • Strategies for trustee education and board development
  • Desirable and undersirable bylaws and provisions
  • Alignment of faculty governance with board governance
  • Trustee philanthropy
  • Effective board meetings and board retreats




  • Thomas L. Hellie
    Thomas L. Hellie
    Council of Independent Colleges
  • Michele Perkins
    Michele Perkins
    New England College
Need to update speakers names, bios, photos: change "SPEAKERS" to "ACADEMY LEADERSHIP

Hotel and Registration

The Presidents Governance Academy will take place January 3–4, 2022, immediately preceding CIC's 2022 Presidents Institute, and is limited to 20 participants. Only CIC member presidents are eligible for the Academy. Spouses and partners of participating presidents are invited to join in an Academy dinner on Monday, January 3, 2022; guest dinner tickets can be purchased after registration is complete.

Thanks to the support of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the registration fee is only $575, which includes the program, all meals and refreshments, resource materials, and telephone consultations with the Academy's leaders throughout the year. Participants are responsible for the costs of lodging and transportation. Lodging is at the JW Marriott Marco Island hotel in Marco Island, Florida, the site of the 2022 Presidents Institute. Participants will receive a discount code for the special CIC rate of $299 per night, single or double occupancy, after they register for the Academy.

The registration deadline is December 1, 2021, but participants are encouraged to register early, as space is limited.

Questions about registration? Please contact Sherita Ashmon, CIC conference manager, at (202) 466-7230 or sashmon@cic.nche.edu. 

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