Training and development needs of governing boards of independent colleges and universities
Noell, Patricia Schreiber
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The problem was to assess the training/development needs of governing boards of the 1,510 independent, four year and above, colleges and universities in the United States and DC, accredited by the U. S. Department of Education. The study had four purposes: to identify what board leaders (board chair, nominating committee chair, and president) perceived to be the training/development needs of trustees; to divide the population into two segments with differing needs; to suggest a model of training/development programming; and to develop an instrument useful for assessing needs of boards. A content-related instrument, containing 114 detailed content areas, was developed. Detailed content areas were grouped into 15 broad areas which were grouped into the four functions of boards: strategic management, policy, monitoring, and finance. The research questions were to investigate the top needs of high performing and low performing boards, to investigate whether significant differences existed in perceptions by categories of leaders at the overall and functional levels of analysis, and to determine whether significant differences exist in needs for the two subpopulations. The financial viability ratio for each reporting institution was calculated from 1995 data of the National Center for Educational Statistics in order to divide the population into two groups, defined as high performing and low performing boards. Survey research design was the methodology. The research instrument was mailed during August, 1996, to 75 board chairs, 75 nominating committee chairs, and 65 presidents in each of the two subpopulations (n = 512, high performing boards; n = 318, low performing boards). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses. The primary findings were that a highly reliable instrument to assess training/development needs of governing boards had been developed, there are board training/development needs, and no significant differences exist among the perceptions of the three categories of board leaders. Another finding was that segregating the population on the basis of the financial viability ratio did not significantly segregate the population regarding perceived training/development needs. A model of training/development for governing boards was proposed.