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Any suggestions in dealing with an organization’s BOT that is micromanaging the operations of the college? I know if it has not been brought under control by senior leadership there may be little one can do…but if it has gotten this far, suggestions on what one might do to turn it into Lemonade?… I’d worry about getting trapped between what the Board and Leadership are thinking….

 

Best,

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President, Information Technology, Planning & Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY 11571

516-678-5000 ex 6443

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

That problem comes from having too many board members locally.  You need more board members out of state! J

 

Steve

 

Who chooses the board of directors, vets their nomination, etc.? That’s where I would look first to start the process of seeking a resolution/compromise.  What does their constitution say?  I don’t think it’s good for the board to micromanage.  From my perspective, it is the President’s and the VPs’ and faculty’s jobs to honor the mission of the university, do their research and present their visions for consideration and as part of the education they offer your students; and it is the board’s job to make sure that the mission of the institution is being honored in what has been proposed by the university’s administration. 

 

Sheila Crowe

Montana State University ResNet

 

 

I think you need to be able to discuss the issue with senior leadership.  Do they see the same problem you see?  You won't get anywhere if you can't have a productive discussion and a strategy you agree on.  The situation could be one or two individual board members with a personal agenda or it could be a lack of confidence that some board members have in some senior leadership or in IT.  That could be a lemonade making opportunity.  The culture of Boards can be very different in private colleges, community colleges, and flagship universities -- successful alumni, elected community citizens, political appointees.  Where you stand depends on where you sit.

Keith Nelson
Chief Technology Officer
Alma College

From: "Robert Paterson" <rpaterson@MOLLOY.EDU>
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:55:30 AM
Subject: [CIO] Board Micromanaging

Any suggestions in dealing with an organization’s BOT that is micromanaging the operations of the college? I know if it has not been brought under control by senior leadership there may be little one can do…but if it has gotten this far, suggestions on what one might do to turn it into Lemonade?… I’d worry about getting trapped between what the Board and Leadership are thinking….

 

Best,

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President, Information Technology, Planning & Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY 11571

516-678-5000 ex 6443

 

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Message from slowe@1610group.com

The board hires and fires the President.  That is the most important job they have.  If they don't have confidence in the President to run the institution in a reasonable way, they need to make a change, not micromanage the people.

Obviously, the board is also there to guide and advise and, if there is an area of significant concern, they will get more involved.  The only person that can reasonably (and, presumably, safely) push back on the board is the President.  One of the last things I would do as a CIO is do an end run around the President to the board's nominating/trusteeship committee.  Ideally, you can start an internal conversation with a trusted cabinet colleague to gain a better understanding as to the why behind the board's actions.

All that said, this seems to be a growing trend, particularly as higher ed becomes more and more challenged by dwindling resources and a public that is increasingly skeptical of the cost/benefit of a higher education.  Maybe it's a part of the "new normal" or something we're seeing because of th changes that are here or that are coming.

By the way, I agree with you… institutional operation is responsibility delegated to the President and, through he or she, to the rest of the senior leadership team and staff.

Best,
Scott Lowe


Message from slowe@1610group.com

Another thought (sorry… governance is a favorite topic!)

If the "why" behind the micromanagement is a lack of fundamental understanding for how higher ed works, this could be an opportunity for education.  Most of my background is with private college boards and many of these people tend to be business owners or local people that don't live and breath higher ed every day.  Perhaps attempting to identify pockets of misunderstanding and creating lunch and learn sessions at board meetings could be useful.  A higher ed business model looks quite different than a traditional business model, although they seem to be converging a bit.

When the board lives and breathes "profit motive" in their day to day jobs, it's sometimes tough to understand the "mission motive" (not for profit (but also not for loss)) of colleges.

Just food for thought.

Scott

The Board might benefit from a session on and commitment to something like Carver's Board Governance model or a training session with an Association of Governing Boards consultant. I believe this is an initiative that would have to be led by the President and Board Chair. -------- Original Message -------- From : The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv To : CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Cc : Sent on : 04/25/2012 12:44:00 PM Subject : Re: [CIO] Board Micromanaging Another thought (sorry… governance is a favorite topic!) If the "why" behind the micromanagement is a lack of fundamental understanding for how higher ed works, this could be an opportunity for education.  Most of my background is with private college boards and many of these people tend to be business owners or local people that don't live and breath higher ed every day.  Perhaps attempting to identify pockets of misunderstanding and creating lunch and learn sessions at board meetings could be useful.  A higher ed business model looks quite different than a traditional business model, although they seem to be converging a bit. When the board lives and breathes "profit motive" in their day to day jobs, it's sometimes tough to understand the "mission motive" (not for profit (but also not for loss)) of colleges. Just food for thought. Scott
All our Board members go through a Board orientation prior to beginning service. This is one of the topics brought up in that orientation. Frank F. X. Moore III, Ph.D. Vice President for Information Technology, CIO and Chief Privacy Officer Longwood University 201 High Street Farmville, VA 23909 (434) 395-2034 (voice) (434) 395-2035 (fax) moorefx@longwood.edu Longwood University will never ask for your password. Don't ever divulge your password to anyone. -----Original Message----- From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Wayne Brown Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:06 PM To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [CIO] Board Micromanaging The Board might benefit from a session on and commitment to something like Carver's Board Governance model or a training session with an Association of Governing Boards consultant. I believe this is an initiative that would have to be led by the President and Board Chair. -------- Original Message -------- From : The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv To : CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Cc : Sent on : 04/25/2012 12:44:00 PM Subject : Re: [CIO] Board Micromanaging Another thought (sorry… governance is a favorite topic!) If the "why" behind the micromanagement is a lack of fundamental understanding for how higher ed works, this could be an opportunity for education.  Most of my background is with private college boards and many of these people tend to be business owners or local people that don't live and breath higher ed every day.  Perhaps attempting to identify pockets of misunderstanding and creating lunch and learn sessions at board meetings could be useful.  A higher ed business model looks quite different than a traditional business model, although they seem to be converging a bit. When the board lives and breathes "profit motive" in their day to day jobs, it's sometimes tough to understand the "mission motive" (not for profit (but also not for loss)) of colleges. Just food for thought. Scott
Thank you all for your insights...Manipulation (training, changing the way the board or leadership function) of the board or leadership are not on the table and not the level of insight I'm really looking for....Things have happened in the past that result in the board "demanding" to be part of a specific project...to approve each step of the process...any specific examples of tactics to relax, soften, or reduce that level of involvement are what I'm looking for.... Thanks again for spending time thinking about this topic. Best, Rob Dr. Robert Paterson Vice President, Information Technology, Planning & Research Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY 11571 516-678-5000 ex 6443 -----Original Message----- From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Wayne Brown Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:06 PM To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [CIO] Board Micromanaging The Board might benefit from a session on and commitment to something like Carver's Board Governance model or a training session with an Association of Governing Boards consultant. I believe this is an initiative that would have to be led by the President and Board Chair. -------- Original Message -------- From : The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv To : CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Cc : Sent on : 04/25/2012 12:44:00 PM Subject : Re: [CIO] Board Micromanaging Another thought (sorry… governance is a favorite topic!) If the "why" behind the micromanagement is a lack of fundamental understanding for how higher ed works, this could be an opportunity for education.  Most of my background is with private college boards and many of these people tend to be business owners or local people that don't live and breath higher ed every day.  Perhaps attempting to identify pockets of misunderstanding and creating lunch and learn sessions at board meetings could be useful.  A higher ed business model looks quite different than a traditional business model, although they seem to be converging a bit. When the board lives and breathes "profit motive" in their day to day jobs, it's sometimes tough to understand the "mission motive" (not for profit (but also not for loss)) of colleges. Just food for thought. Scott
Message from marilyn_delmont@nshe.nevada.edu

Hi Rob,
 
I agree, this is a difficult situation to be in. I have experienced this situation twice (two different employers). The first time, it was happening to all areas across the organization, and the Board was in violation of the governance bylaws and rules. The President and the Board Chair hired a consultant to do an assessment. It resulted in training and part of it was identifying the role of the Board vs. the role of the President and executive management, etc.
 
Additionally, from an IT perspective, we decided to be proactive and provide a quarterly IT update to the Board. This strategy significantly reduced Board micromanagement for IT and made my job less stressful.
 
At the second organization, the Board and Internal Audit were really keeping IT busy, many times they were asking for the same information (e.g., why did we spend so much money on this and that....., status of major projects and the like).  I approached my boss, the President and the Sr. VP of Audit to ask for time at one of the Board Executive sessions (closed to the public) to do a brief on the IT Strategic Plan implementation, major infrastructure expenditures and sometimes major operational issues, etc.  The President was a bit leary at first, but the SVP of Audit thought it was a great idea.  So we did it.  As it turned out the Board loved it, there was more time to ask and get answers to questions. The Board asked [voted] to continue the briefings on a regular basis and as needed. I left that organization over ten years ago but I understand that they have continued to do the IT briefs.
 
Let me add that I was only able to do these things because I had the initial support of the President and other key executives with on-going support that included the Board.  If you can't obtain the support that you need, then if you stay there, in my opinion the best you can do is to always keep the your boss and the President (if he is not your boss) informed as to what the Board is requesting, doing, etc. 
 
Hope this helps.
 
All the best,
 
M
 

 
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