Practical Wisdom
Thinking Differently About College and University Governance

Foreword by Richard Chait
Paper: 978 1 62036 839 8 / $32.00
Due: November 2018  

Cloth: 978 1 62036 838 1 / $95.00
Due: November 2018  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 62036 840 4 / $95.00 Due: November 2018  
About Library E-Book


E-Book: 978 1 62036 841 1 / $25.99
Due: November 2018  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
228 pp., 6" x 9"
figures & tables
This series of essays written for trustees and administrative leaders of universities and colleges draws on the authors’ extensive consulting experience, research into the dynamics of boards, and service as trustees, to focus on practical insights that will help readers improve governance. The authors have contributed a series of essays on governing well to Inside Higher Education, which formed the inspiration for this volume.

The primary aim of the book is to provide insight that boards can use to enhance their governing practices. Our take is not a “how to do” book but rather one on “how to think.” Our basic premise is that too many boards are underperforming because they adopt or continue ineffective practices. However, thinking in more intentional if not new ways about not only what they do as boards, but how they go about their efforts, will help boards add value to the institutions and state systems they govern. We use thought provoking-titles and a conversational tone to engage the readers, get them to reflect on their work, and broaden their horizons.

Table of Contents:
Figures and Tables
Foreword by Richard Chait
Introduction: Thinking, Doing, Governing

1) The Evolving Board: Ways to Think About Governing Today
2) The “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t” Dynamics of Governing
3) Is Your Board Mediocre?
4) Individual Competencies for Collective Impact
5) Right Answers; Wrong Questions
6) Spending Scarce Time Wisely
7) Ensuring Accountability for the Board by the Board
8) Curiosity: The Boardroom’s Missing Element
9) The “Jobs” of Committees (of Drill Bits and Milkshakes)
10) The Culture of Boards: Making the Invisible Visible
11) The (Not So) Hidden Dynamics of Power and Influence
12) The Prime Partnership Between Presidents and Board Chairs
13) Creating the Capacity for Trying Issues
14) Strategy, Higher Education, and Boards (and Forget Planning)
15) Getting to Grips With Shared Governance
16) Governing Circa 1749
17) 16 ½ Half a Chapter: The Unfinished Work

About the Authors

Chapter 1

Reviews & Endorsements:
"The work of the Board and the chief executive officer has never been more critical in higher education than it is today. As we face this unparalleled disruption, we are all searching for the right "hands-on" tools that can moor us in times of challenge, point us in the right direction, and add wind to our sails as we reposition. This book rightly assumes that the success of institutions will be most determined by the Board's ability to govern effectively. This is not an esoteric work where you have to be an insider to understand its recommendations; rather, it is a practical guide to how we should be thinking about governance with ready made tools that can be used almost immediately.

It should be required reading for all boards of trustees and executives at colleges and universities."
- Carmen Twillie Ambar, President, , Oberlin College
"As colleges and universities face increased scrutiny and mounting pressures, effective board governance has moved from a luxury to a necessity; if our institutions are to succeed in this environment, they need effective leadership from their Boards. Few are equipped to provide it. What a gift to have the wisdom of two distinguished leaders at our disposal during this critical time for higher education. Their extensive experience working with presidents and boards is displayed on every page of this book. Observations and suggestions are organized into clear and accessible essays that will prove equally valuable for public and private boards, presidents, and leaders. During a time of tumult and change, the wise counsel of Practical Wisdom serves as an essential guide to effective governance."
- Mary B. Marcy, President , Dominican University of California
Related Titles by Subject:
See Leadership & Administration ( Higher Education )