Norfolk State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 627-636
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Governing boards of institutions of higher education have a fiduciary responsibility to guide and steward the institution in the public’s interest. The boards of public institutions face even greater scrutiny and accountability demands from government officials and taxpayers, and generally serve as a means to regulate or hold institutions accountable to the priorities of the state. Increased demand for accountability, declining financial resources and recent national controversies involving colleges and universities suggest that to be effective, governing boards must assess their performance and have the competencies needed to execute the board’s work. The Board Self-Assessment Questionnaire (BSAQ) was developed to measure board performance utilizing six competencies of effective trusteeship: Contextual, Educational, Interpersonal, Analytical, Political, and Strategic. These competencies were identified in research by Chait, Holland and Taylor (1993) to determine specific characteristics and behaviors that distinguish strong boards from weak boards. While mostly prescriptive literature on board practices and procedures is generally available, there is a gap on the competencies of governing boards of public institutions of higher education, in general. In Virginia, very little is known about the competencies of governing boards at public institutions of higher education. This study examined the results of the BSAQ administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to determine the competencies of governing boards at public institutions. The findings were that governing boards in Virginia possess high Contextual and Strategic competencies. Governing boards understood contextually the culture and norms of their institutions, and attempted to strategically lead their institutions through the use of information, insight and inquiry. The results also demonstrated a need for improved Educational competence among governing boards without regard to institution or size. Analytical, Interpersonal and Political competencies were also demonstrated by Virginia boards, but with uncertainty in many responses. Although there were no statistically significant differences found, weak positive-relationships between the Political competence of governing boards and institutional size existed, as well as between the Political competence of the boards and members’ prior higher educational experience. The relationships suggested that institutions with higher institutional classifications had higher levels of political competence compared to smaller institutions, and board members with prior experience in higher education had higher political competency than board members with no prior experience in higher education.
Governing Board, Competencies, Public Institutions, Higher Education, Higher Education in Virginia, Governance, Virginia Boards.