Tag Archives: board engagement

Getting the President-Board Relationship Right

PRG senior associate Laurie Fenlason and I co-authored an essay for Inside Higher Ed, Getting the President-Board Relationship Right, offering best practices for college presidents and their senior teams to develop strong, collaborative relationships with their governing boards. This essay is a companion to our new blog post, Why Board Engagement Matters. As we note in the essay, a highly engaged board is a vital strategic partner to a college or university president. While much of the responsibility for effectively engaging trustees falls on the board and its leaders, a significant portion of this work belongs to the president and their senior leadership team. Proactively and strategically cultivating a productive relationship with the board as a whole, and with individual trustees, is one of the most important tasks for any college president. Read the rest of our essay, including 10 practical tips for effective board engagement, on Inside Higher Ed.

Why Board Engagement Matters

The following essay was co-authored with PRG senior associate Laurie Fenlason, who is also the founder and principal of L. Fenlason Consulting. It is the companion to an essay that appeared in Inside Higher Ed on “Getting the President-Board Relationship Right.”

Laurie Fenlason

College and university governing boards have rarely faced the public spotlight as frequently and glaringly as they do today. The headwinds facing higher ed — enrollment pressures, challenges to the financial model, accelerated leadership turnover and political incursions on institutional mission, to name just a few — lie at the heart of a board’s duty of care for an institution.

Campus discourse about these matters is increasingly fractious, resulting in governance disputes playing out in social media and the public square. Campuses also face enormous pressure to respond to pressing societal needs, many of which lie beyond their institutional mission, of which trustees are the ultimate stewards. As we have seen on multiple campuses over the last several years, boards that are not sufficiently connected to the university’s history, mission and culture can work at odds with institutional leadership and, in extreme cases, tip challenges into full-blown crises.  Continue reading

Buckle Up for the Next Phase of Post-COVID Planning

The following essay by PRG partners Steve Kloehn, Julie Peterson and Lisa Rudgers appeared in Inside Higher Ed on April 21, 2020.

For colleges and universities across the country, the past few weeks represented an historic, breathtaking achievement. Faced with the choice to act or be acted upon, higher education institutions took the initiative and led the nation.

ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ERHUI

In a matter of days, they transformed curricula that would normally take years or decades to reshape. In the face of deep uncertainty, wobbly governmental guidance, and no precedent whatsoever, they moved thousands and thousands of students out of harm’s way. They made bold choices, and they did so with intelligence, grace, and an unfathomable amount of hard work.

And now, even as we counsel our clients to find time for a breather, we know that can be only the briefest of respites. Because if colleges and universities are to recover from this pandemic, leaders must begin now to plan what those institutions will do and be when the crisis ebbs. Continue reading