In a new book titled “The College Board: The Story of America’s Most Accused Board” (HarperOne), a leading authority on college boards, author Matt Flegenheimer reveals that for most people, college board is an “excessively self-regulating” entity.
The problem with boards is that they tend to be overly self-interested and, therefore, overly susceptible to political pressure.
That’s a dangerous combination, and it can lead to a lack of accountability and transparency.
The book lays out a number of strategies for improving college board accountability and independence, including: * Making sure boards can be self-regulated.
Boards should have a self-regulation plan, but it should also have a mandate for boards to comply with its own internal rules.
Flegensheimer calls for “regulatory accountability” to be at the heart of college boards’ functions, and says that boards should: * Make the best possible use of their board’s resources to achieve its mission.
This means making sure that they use those resources to do the most effective work possible, even if it means getting a board member to vote in favor of an issue that might be opposed by the board.
* Limit the board’s scope of operations.
This should include limiting the board to the areas in which they have the authority to act, and minimizing the scope of their authority to do something like change the college admissions process or take action to improve student safety.
* Ensure that boards are transparent.
FLegenheimer says boards should be required to publish annual reports and make public the names of board members who have made decisions.
* Create a process to prevent board members from influencing the process of the college, or from participating in a decision that might impact their personal or professional relationships.
The result should be accountability, transparency and, importantly, accountability for the outcomes.