Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) on December 11, 2019. Reposted here with permission.
The 2019-2020 school year is already half over, and many boards are asking, What’s next? Here are three key trends that will have the greatest impact on university and college boards in 2020 and beyond.
DEI is not a buzzword; it’s a key to success.
DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) are increasingly important among more diverse student bodies and boards composed of people who are similar in appearance, gender, background, age, and education will be more closely scrutinized in 2020. New ideas depend on fresh perspectives and solving problems in an increasingly complex world requires new methods to address them.
The push for gender inclusion is already well underway in the corporate world:
- A new regulation in California requires boards of companies headquartered in the state to have at least one woman on their board.
- Boards with six or more people in California will be required to include at least three women by 2021.
- Illinois is debating a bill that will require both gender and ethnic diversity on corporate boards.
- While regulations in higher education remain separate from corporate regulations, the call for colleges and universities to follow the path of their corporate counterparts is inevitable.
Technology in the boardroom is no longer optional.
To achieve their goals, higher education boards must place greater emphasis on strategy and decision making. This emphasis requires them to take action, adjust, and adapt – or be left behind. As a result, “future-proofed” colleges and universities are finally bringing data-based insights and tools to the boardroom.
Effective college and university boards are embracing change and seeking ways to improve their processes and use technology to help make better decisions more quickly.
AGB OnBoard is one of those tools. It is a board meeting platform that provides secure online collaboration, paperless processes, and document management accessible to all devices.
Shift some of your focus to risk management.
In recent years, risk management has focused on the appropriate collection and preservation of personal and confidential data. Unfortunately, exposure and breaches are more common than ever before. Real-time communication tools, emails, cloud-based file storage systems, and social media give anyone with internet access the ability to steal and broadly publicize sensitive data. At the same time, universities and colleges are under increasing pressure to safeguard data while operating with greater transparency and disclosure.
Boards can continue to expect risk management to be a challenging part of their decision making. There is a lot at stake and poor practices have real consequences.
In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.
Even amidst all the challenges facing boards governing universities and colleges, the opportunity remains to provide a meaningful, impactful education to their students. Awareness of the trends we’ve outlined here will help institutions know which parts of the status quo to preserve, and which to discard.