This series of essays written for trustees and administrative leaders of universities and colleges draws on the authors’ extensive consulting experience, research into the dynamics of boards, and service as trustees, to focus on practical insights that will help readers improve governance. The authors have contributed a series of essays on governing well to Inside Higher Education, which formed the inspiration for this volume.
The primary aim of the book is to provide insight that boards can use to enhance their governing practices. The author’s take is not a “how to do” book but rather one on “how to think.” Their basic premise is that too many boards are underperforming because they adopt or continue ineffective practices. However, thinking in more intentional if not new ways about not only what they do as boards, but how they go about their efforts, will help boards add value to the institutions and state systems they govern. The authors use thought provoking-titles and a conversational tone to engage the readers, get them to reflect on their work, and broaden their horizons.
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About the Author
Peter D. Eckel is senior fellow and director of leadership programs in he Alliance for Higher Education for Democracy in the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. He coleads the Penn Project on University Governance and serves as a trustee at the University of La Verne.
Cathy A. Trower is president of Trower & Trower, Inc., a board governance consulting firm, and former research director at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Table of Contents
Figures and Tables
Foreword by Richard Chait
Introduction: Thinking, Doing, Governing
1) The Evolving Board: Ways to Think About Governing Today
2) The “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t” Dynamics of Governing
3) Is Your Board Mediocre?
4) Individual Competencies for Collective Impact
5) Right Answers; Wrong Questions
6) Spending Scarce Time Wisely
7) Ensuring Accountability for the Board by the Board
8) Curiosity: The Boardroom’s Missing Element
9) The “Jobs” of Committees (of Drill Bits and Milkshakes)
10) The Culture of Boards: Making the Invisible Visible
11) The (Not So) Hidden Dynamics of Power and Influence
12) The Prime Partnership Between Presidents and Board Chairs
13) Creating the Capacity for Trying Issues
14) Strategy, Higher Education, and Boards (and Forget Planning)
15) Getting to Grips With Shared Governance
16) Governing Circa 1749
16 ½) Half a Chapter: The Unfinished Work
About the Authors