Why Every College and University Needs a Board Portal

  • By: OnBoard Meetings
  • September 3, 2021
college university higher education board portal
Reading Time: 5 minutes

A web-based board portal makes board meetings more efficient, effective, and secure — enabling college and university boards to be more informed and engaged.

As complex, multi-layered organizations with a vital mission, colleges and universities need a reliable board management solution that enables them to efficiently and securely coordinate board business system-wide. 

These institutions serve as an epicenter for technological and business advancement, preparing and educating the next generation of professionals to compete and lead in a modern workforce environment. Yet that dynamic spirit of innovation often does not extend to routine college and university board management functions. 

Many higher education boards continue to operate with outdated, labor-intensive, and time-consuming processes due to insufficient technology solutions. Meanwhile, governance needs typically span multiple campuses, schools, and departments, as well as various boards serving different functions. 

Having board governance tools that can scale to suit the needs of these intricate institutions is essential. A board management software platform such as AGB OnBoard empowers boards with easy access to a web-based portal that can reduce administrative burdens and increase efficiencies, security, and board engagement for optimal decision-making. 

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Fewer Administrative Burdens

For many college and university board administrators, managing board materials is a laborious process. They may spend numerous hours or even days compiling, printing, organizing, and distributing hundreds of pages of materials for hard-copy meeting board books. Last-minute changes require costly print reruns and extended staff hours as personnel revise or remove and replace documents by hand. 

If they have board management solutions, those solutions often are either too minimalistic or too convoluted. Common complaints include inadequate security and cumbersome processes for managing documents, and setting appropriate access parameters. Some use dedicated webpages that were developed internally and offer limited functionalities. Others collate and send PDF board books that can cause headaches due to email restrictions on large file sizes. 

By contrast, a modern board management solution like AGB OnBoard can streamline processes and save an untold amount of staff time, stress, and resources. It also can save institutions thousands of dollars a year in printing costs for boards transitioning away from hard-copy board books.  

The solution makes it much easier for staff to collect, store, and distribute meeting information and agendas. Materials can be uploaded directly to OnBoard’s Agenda Builder, and designated staff members can update documents as needed right up to the meeting time. Administrators can delegate responsibilities for loading specific documents to staff members within various schools or departments. 

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Centralized Access and Scaled Governance

With broad networks of schools, departments, and campuses located in different towns or cities, colleges and universities benefit from tools that can facilitate centralized coordination and communication. They also benefit from tools that can be scaled to different institutional functions, whether serving boards of trustees, foundation or endowment boards, advisory boards, or specific committee boards—such as finance, health and safety, athletics, infrastructure, etc. 

Effective board management solutions can accommodate and streamline the governance needs of multiple types of boards across geographic locations. In addition to making it easier to create board materials, AGB OnBoard helps in distributing those materials 

All board materials are stored and shared in a common platform. Administrators can send directors automated alerts in real time when meeting materials are ready to view or when a specific document has been changed. There are no issues over file size, file format, or compatibility as there are when sending materials via email or through more restrictive solutions. 

Directors become more self-sufficient because board materials are shared in an accessible, central location. They always know where to look and can easily locate current or archived resources or documents whenever they need themAs a result, administrators have to respond to fewer inquiries and spend less time sending updated documents.  

AGB OnBoard’s e-signature functionality also enables higher education board and committee members to send and sign documents securely from any device. This makes it easier for administrators to keep signed documents and legal agreements organized without the need for a separate e-signature app. 

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A Secure Solution for the Digital Transformation

Ensuring board members have everything they need to make informed decisions as stewards of institutional resources is critical. Nothing has highlighted the importance of providing that centralized, digital access like the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic first hit in early 2020, boards across nearly every industry were forced to quickly shift to all-virtual board and committee meetings.  

For more traditional boards, it served as the impetus to move forward in the digital era. Colleges and universities that had effective board portals in place prior to March 2020 had a leg up on institutions that did not. The change was less abrupt and more familiar for administrators and directors already accustomed to using a portal to collaborate, access, and share information. It allowed those boards to seamlessly transition to virtual meetings, alleviating at least some anxieties during a trying and disruptive time when COVID-19 fueled comprehensive mitigation efforts, reduced enrollments, and widespread transitions to online learning. 

In today’s digital age, digital privacy protections are more important than ever as ransomware, privacy breaches, and other attacks become more commonplace. Modern board management solutions offer robust security and intuitive permissions structures that make it easy for administrators to designate and adjust access controls.  

AGB OnBoard, for example, offers the gold standard in cloud security, Microsoft Azure. The platform’s encryption and other safety features offer board administrators peace of mind that sensitive information is safe and protected, while still giving them control over who sees what and when.  

The solution also offers specialized functions to make it easier for college and university board officials to manage virtual meetings, including Zoom Integration to facilitate digital meetings within the portal and Voting and Approvals functions that allow boards to conduct votes or make decisions from anywhere and on any device. Minutes Builder allows administrators to generate minutes, take notes, create tasks, track attendance, and mark motions directly within the OnBoard platform. 

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Ease-of-Use to Strengthen Engagement

The goal for all higher education boards should be to have a more efficient, secure, and accessible online solution that fosters collaboration. Easeofuse is especially important and offers a lower barrier to entry for older board members unaccustomed to digital tools. They need a web-based solution that is straightforward to access and navigate. 

Having a user-friendly solution also makes it easier for administrators to provide orientation to new board members who typically rotate in at regular annual or biannual intervals. With minimal training, college and university directors are able to access documents with ample time for review prior to board or committee meetings.  

The AGB OnBoard portal serves as an all-in-one information hub. It may house board and committee documents, directories, meeting minutes, archives, as well as institutional policies and handbooksIts ease-of-use empowers directors to access information at their convenience, which boosts overall board engagement for more informed decision-making to better serve these valuable institutions in their role as stewards of future generations. 


About The Author

OnBoard Meetings
OnBoard Meetings
At OnBoard, we believe board meetings should be informed, effective, and uncomplicated. That’s why we give boards and leadership teams an elegant solution that simplifies governance. With customers in higher education, nonprofit, health care systems, government, and corporate enterprise business, OnBoard is the leading board management provider.