Principles and Issues

Certain principles define the Presidents Governance Academy:
  • An effective governing board is necessary for both the institution and the president to be successful. One of these is unlikely to be effective if the other two are not.
  • Presidential leadership is essential to strengthening board performance. Presidents who desire a truly high-performing governing board understand that it is the president who must take the lead in the education of trustees and in board development initiatives.
  • The performance of individual trustees and of boards of trustees as a whole will excel only if the formal policies, desired practices, and performance standards are articulated in key governance documents and are well understood by both the board chair and the president.
  • How the board is organized to accomplish its work is at least as important as the credentials and experience of individual trustees.
  • Best practices in the governance of nonprofit institutions, although better understood today, remain more art than science. Reductionist approaches to improvement will not work.
  • Efforts to strengthen the board’s commitment and performance and to improve board-president relations are ongoing activities, not finite exercises.

Among the many topics the Presidents Governance Academy will address are:
  • Desirable and undesirable bylaws provisions
  • Committee structures
  • Board membership issues
  • Committee on trusteeship and the executive committee roles
  • Performance review of both the president and the governing board
  • Opportunities for trustee education and board development
  • Shared governance
  • Term limits
  • Board retreats
  • Effective board meetings
Presidents will have opportunities to discuss their own board’s bylaws in consultation with the Academy’s leaders and with fellow participants as well as to obtain assistance in drafting trustee education and board development plans for their own institutions. Each participant will receive a binder of resources for future reference including articles, book chapters, checklists, and other materials. Participants also will have the opportunity to consult by phone with the Academy’s leaders throughout the year.