AI Group utilizes a board format for its governing structure. The board acts as the legal agent or “owner” of the institution. As a collective body, the trustees hold the authority and responsibility to ensure the fulfillment of its institution’s mission. The board is also ultimately responsible for the fiscal health of the AI Group. The board of trustees’ governing role is typically limited to selection of the president and policy approval, with the daily operations and management of the institution vested in the president.
STRUCTURE AND COMPOSITION
An institution’s charter and by laws dictate its board size. These governing documents are informed by history, tradition, and needs of the institution. Trustees are elected or appointed to the board for a specific term, which may be renewable.
By law, the board of trustees is the governing body for an institution. A coordinating board may function in an advisory or regulatory capacity. The role of an advisory board is limited to review and recommendation, with no legal authority to approve or disapprove institutional actions, while a regulatory-type coordinating board would have program approval.
The authority of a board of trustees is derived from the institution’s charter. The charter lays out the initial structure and composition of the board. Once the board is in place, it has the power to modify its own structure and composition as it believes necessary. Authority is given to the board as a whole rather than to individual trustees, and individual trustees have little authority and no ownership of an institution. It is the board, in its entirety, that is recognized as the legal owner of an institution’s assets.
Typically, the board chair is responsible for setting the agenda of the board. Most often this agenda is established in collaboration with the college president. Other board officers, such as the secretary or treasurer, usually have their associated roles completed by institutional staff. The board, as a group, has several basic responsibilities, including setting or reaffirming the institution’s mission, acting as the legal owner of the institution, selecting a president, evaluating and supporting the president, setting board policies, and reviewing institutional performance.
Each board determines the number and type of committees they believe will serve the AI Group best. The following types of committees are found at AI Group:
Academic Affairs oversees curriculum, new educational programs, and approves graduates; Audit is responsible for ensuring AI Group financial records are appropriately reviewed by a third party;
Buildings and Grounds reviews and recommends capital improvements and maintenance plans for the campus; the Committee on Trustees is charged with developing a list of potential trustees and reviewing the commitment of current trustees;
Executive acts on issues of urgency that arise between full board meetings and sets the board agenda in concert with the president; Finance reviews and recommends AI Group budgets;
Institutional Advancement ensures appropriate plans are in place for alumni relations, fundraising, and public perception of the AI Group;
Investment oversees the long-term assets of the AI Group, as well as determining how the endowment funds are invested; and
Student Affairs is charged with issues concerning the out-of-classroom experience of students–this may include health centers, recreation facilities, residence halls, and student activities.