david miles 2018 wrote an autobiographical account of his years of serving 23 years on higher education governing boards. he currently serves as chair of the board of directors of the association of governing boards of universities and colleges and is a member and former chair of the board of trustees at drake university. he is also a former member and president of the iowa board of regents. in his article miles states that from the beginning of his tenure as a board member he wanted to make a positive impact; however he really was not as fully prepared when his service commenced.
mr. miles attended formal orientations sessions at both drake university and the iowa board of regents where he learned about the duties and responsibilities of board member and some of the challenges facing the institutions. in retrospect he acknowledges it took quite a while for him to become an effective trustee. in this article miles shares some of the information he wishes had been given to him when he first became a board member; he believes it would have brought him up to speed more quickly: data-driven analysis of the provisions of higher education to individuals and society and where higher education shortcomings an overview of global and higher education systems including the various types of institutions and how they address student needs a concise understanding of the ethical questions that can arise on the board and how to resolve them straightforward information of the business model of higher education including key revenue sources and expenses and how the institution fits in an explanation on the shared-governance model of higher education historically to the present the history current state and future vision of the institution information on where to find additional resources to further my understanding miles 2018 ends his article with recommendations that he believes institutions of higher education should incorporate.
he considers serving as a board member one of his lifes rewarding experiences because his desire is to give back to institutions of higher education. however he wishes he could have made a bigger impact from the beginning of his services as a board member. my first reaction to this article is that this article is based on a personal self-reflection and personal experiences. as an educator and mental health professional i believe the self-assessment past performance impacts our future behaviors. self-assessments by board members relative to understanding their role duties/responsibilities and knowledge of institution they serve. would provide the best information that can be used in developing mentorships and training/orientation and produce data in areas that require improvement. in addition according to robinson 2014 board self-assessments can be used to determine whether the board as a whole is functioning efficiently and provide a platform for improvements. the american community college association of trustees acct is responsible for defining the role and responsibility of its trustee members. acct offers a range of services in support of trustee education: new trustee orientation board retreats and board self-assessments. according to boggs 2006 board members should self-assess their performance on an annual basis p. 45 questions looming for me after reading the article is how effective the chairs of the boards where miller served were and did the chairs participate in accts services and require members to participate as well. my second reactions was the relationship i saw between the acct book trustee talk 2018 which is an electronic question-and-answer guidance newsletter on challenging issues in community college governance. in this newsletter there is a section that specifically provides several key strategies to foster and maintain board cohesiveness beginning with the orientation process. orientation programs should be comprehensive and ongoing about trustee and board roles. the program should consist of: an orientation to the college provided by the president an orientation to the workings of the board provided by the chair and/or current trustees an overview of the roles and responsibilities of trustees and the board board strategies and goals communications protocols trustee resources including a board manual mini-sessions on the college budget a review of the last audited financial statement and the campus master facility plan. board governance works best when boards understand the business of higher education in general and the business of their institution specifically as well as the stakes involved. as stated by miles 2015 through formal orientation sessions he learned about governing board processes and of the challenges facing the institutions he served. board orientation is crucial because it directly affects board performance; however according to weisman and vaughn 1997 found that only a small percent of community colleges required newly elected trustees to participate in an orientation providing guidance on their roles and responsibilities as board members. effective boards ensure that all members are educated about the institution and their roles. according to boggs 2006 education and professional development for trustees does not cease after the initial orientation session p. 24 as noted by miles 2008 i believe that board members must understand various types of institutions and how they address student needs. while there are similarities between community college boards and boards of four-colleges and universities there are some important distinctions. community college are designed to serve the needs of local communities. the effectiveness of community college boards depends on their ability to understand and connect to the community in which they serve; the board ensures that the community interest is represented and they maintain close connections with their communities and elicit input from community members in decision-making. in conclusion i would strongly recommend millers article to those interested in serving as a member of higher education boards of trustees.