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How Boards Lead Small Colleges

'How Boards Lead Small Colleges' cover image

How Boards Lead Small Colleges

A college is only as strong as its board of trustees.

While the media frequently report on threats facing colleges and universities, no sector of higher education is in more danger than private colleges with small endowments and low enrollments. Numerous small private liberal arts colleges could benefit from careful consideration of characteristics and practices of successful trusteeship.

In How Boards Lead Small Colleges, Alice Lee Williams Brown and Elizabeth Richmond Hayford focus on small colleges—the kind that seldom attract the attention of researchers. Integrating case studies with theoretical analyses of college governance, they explain the basic responsibilities of boards while demonstrating how some develop practices that fulfill these responsibilities more effectively than others. The book emphasizes strategic planning and collaboration between the board and central administration—advice useful to those governing colleges and universities of all sizes and strengths.

For decades, the authors led consortia of small colleges and served on boards of multiple nonprofit organizations. Here, they interview trustees and presidents at dozens of small colleges across multiple states to identify the role governing boards play in building strong private colleges. Encouraging presidents to consider new approaches for working with their boards based on mutual dedication to strengthening institutions, Brown and Hayford also urge trustees to challenge new thinking from their presidents without interfering in internal operations. How Boards Lead Small Colleges is designed to appeal to anyone with a special interest in the future of small private colleges, which play a critical role in the world of higher education.