College and university board directors would be remiss if they failed to consider the vast evolution that’s taking place in higher education governance. The changes stem directly from regulatory and governance changes in the corporate world. Best practices are being applied more evenly across every industry. The changes in governance for college and university boards mean that directors need to function more like board directors in other industries, as opposed to allowing senior managers of their institutions to make the major decisions and having boards approve management’s initiatives.
The changes mean that boards are now having to deal with many of the challenges that senior managers have addressed in the past. College boards are now dealing with competition from online learning platforms, unavailability of student loans, the cost of healthcare, the enhancement of sports programs and the high cost of higher education. In addition, boards must also handle crisis-related issues, such as sex scandals, alcoholism, academic cheating, school shootings and drug use.
A board portal provides a platform where board directors can collaborate with each other on these and other issues in a highly safe arena.
College and University Boards Need the Capacity for Unlimited Document Storage
College and university boards need the capacity to store thousands of documents. It’s best to store documents using unlimited, cloud-based storage. College boards need to store their compliance documents, such as the mission statement, bylaws, financial reports, reporting requirements and deadlines. Board portals allow college boards to file documents electronically where the portal organizes them and makes them easy to find and retrieve.
As trustees of higher educational learning institutions, college and university boards must be very careful with their budgets. Creating board books for every board meeting costs a lot in time, materials and distribution. Board portals allow boards to create and publish their board books online, where trustees can view them when they choose to.
In the past, strategic planning fell primarily on senior management or was a joint effort between senior managers and the board. This responsibility is increasingly becoming the board’s responsibility. Boards need the assistance of a board portal to be able to track finances, analyze enrollments, manage budgets, analyze student demographics, track trends, evaluate campus life, manage healthcare and address many other issues that affect higher educational learning.
Colleges and universities have had their fair share of issues with alcoholism and hazing. Today’s society brings those problems, as well as additional issues with employee scandals, school shootings, sexual harassment, drugs, student protests and other serious issues. The actions that boards take can prevent current issues from escalating and future issues from happening. Board portals automate and streamline many of the board’s activities, so boards can focus on serious issues such as these.
Board Portals Provide the Platform for College Boards to Navigate Higher Educational Changes
For the baby boomer generation, higher education was a greatly coveted experience. The best companies saw value in college degrees. Students could count on higher-level degrees to get them the best job opportunities with the best salaries. Today’s job market is very different.
The internet has created a highly competitive job market. In the interest of not acquiring huge amounts of student loan debt and knowing that they will face major competition for jobs, millennial students tend to view higher education differently than past generations. While they hope to socialize and have a good time at college, they also have their sights on the end goal. For millennials, the end goal is not getting a degree — it’s getting a good-paying job.
Many of today’s corporations are looking for talent pools that meet the skills and abilities that they need, with or without a degree. Savvy students research the qualities and skills that certain career fields list as important and gear their higher education around them. In addition to traditional college classes, today’s students are looking at online classes, online degrees and hybrid courses. They’re also looking into the advantages of training through Job Corps, AmeriCorps, vocational schools and apprenticeships. For some students, building a customized skillset and knowledge base will give them the best career outlook possible.
The fact that students are taking a creative approach to higher education means that college boards are, and will continue to see, declining enrollment, which affects their financial bottom line. College boards will almost assuredly need to implement board portal technology to navigate these complex and challenging waters.
Corporate boards aren’t the only boards that deal with the threat of cyberattacks. College and university boards need to collect a fair amount of personal identifying information to enroll students. That makes them a prime target for hackers. Boards require the benefit of a highly secure platform to keep their planning and risk mitigation plans safe. Board portals provide the high levels of tight security that boards need. BoardEffect’s board portal offers end-to-end encryption, three levels of security and a secure data center. BoardEffect provides an infrastructure that protects against accidental or intentional data leaks and attacks.
College boards do much of their work in committees. Board portals provide a secure environment for committee members to collaborate, share documents and send out documents for various rounds of approvals. Board portals ensure that this information remains confidential until committees are ready to make their recommendations to the board. Electronic board books eliminate the need to collect board books and to shred documents after board meetings.
Mobility and the ability to conduct board business remotely is perhaps more important for college and university boards than other types of boards. Board trustees are often living and working miles apart geographically. It’s not uncommon for college boards to conduct most of their meetings via teleconference or videoconference and to meet in person only for the annual meeting. Whether board trustees are on the East Coast or the West Coast, they can access the same board books, reports and other meeting materials as their peers. The days of lugging heavy board books on planes and busses are over.
There’s no question about the value that board portals offer college and university trustees. Our complex, changing society makes them necessary in order for boards to commit to best practices and to fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities.