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:
Foreword by Richard Chait

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

About the Authors

Chapter 1

Reviews & Endorsements:
"Practical Wisdom embraces the intricacies of university board governance by providing thoughtful insights into the multiple issues that contribute to its complexity. Treating governance as a learning process and drawing from personal experiences working with public and private institutions, Eckel and Trower challenge trustees and administrators to think more intentionally about the work of the board, while providing well-informed and astute practical guidance for powerful learning to drive higher performance."
- Sabah Randhawa, President , Western Washington University
“The relative success or failure of higher education institutions is highly correlated with the effectiveness of board governance, and yet most new trustees join these boards wholly unequipped to understand, let alone to serve constructively. This book will not only be helpful, it could prove indispensable.”
- Thomas J. Hollister, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Harvard University and former board chair Tufts Medical Center and Wheaton College
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