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How University Boards Work

, 224 pages
January 2018



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How University Boards Work

A Guide for Trustees, Officers, and Leaders in Higher Education

We expect college and university trustees to hire the president, advise senior staff, manage investments and financial decisions, and oversee major strategic initiatives. Unfortunately, they sometimes come into this powerful role with little or no understanding of what they are meant to do or how their institutions work.

How University Boards Work, by Robert A. Scott, is designed to help trustees understand how to fulfill their responsibilities. Written by a widely respected leader in American higher education and former university president, How University Boards Work is the product of personal experience and considerable research. This concise, straightforward guide includes:

• an explanation of the difference between governance and management
• tips on how best to prepare for board decisions and discussions
• examples of positive and negative board behavior
• guidance about board professional development
• advice on managing transitions between chief executives

How University Boards Work will prove an invaluable resource for those responsible for governing colleges and universities, whether privately financed or state funded. It will also be an illuminating read for board secretaries, campus executives and administrators, faculty leaders, alumni volunteers, and public officials, as well as anybody seeking to understand institutional governance in the light of past and current trends in higher education.

Robert A. Scott is the former president of Adelphi University and of Ramapo College of New Jersey.

"The ideas are presented alongside some changes colleges and universities could make on their own, like modifying class schedules to make better use of facilities. But the inclusion of policy ideas in a book aimed at trustees fits a larger idea: the big picture matters for colleges and universities, and their leaders, as they face the future."

"Scott has written a gold standard owner’s manual for college and university board members. A copy of his book given to every new trustee will add much to their performance and the satisfaction of the institutions they help to govern. Bob Scott is the Julia Child of higher educational governance."

"As one of the most successful US college presidents in recent years, Robert A. Scott fully understands the importance of creating strong boards whose members understand the idiosyncrasies of academic institutions. Writing with his usual clarity, Scott lays out the traditional and emerging governance challenges to colleges and universities today. How University Boards Work should now be the first item in every new trustee’s orientation packet."

"Hands-on experience provides the true guide to all corporate governance, and that's why How University Boards Work is essential reading for those engaged in governing our universities: boards, managers, faculties, and alumni. With over thirty years' experience serving as a university president, Robert A. Scott shares a unique perspective and thoughtful solutions for the growing governance problems facing universities. It is core learning necessary to protect the long-term future of higher education."

"As I saw while serving as a trustee, Bob Scott was transformational at Adelphi and is one of the most capable university presidents I know. I am glad he has written this important book."

"The college invited me. I was flattered. I accepted. What have I gotten myself into? This book has the answers. Robert A. Scott's How University Boards Work is both profoundly intelligent and readable."

"How University Boards Work is a tremendous source of knowledge and demonstrated wisdom for trustees, higher education leaders, and other interested parties."

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