Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, January 31, 2008, San Antonio, TX

Attending: Board Members Rebecca King, Lucinda Lea, Thomas Maier, Marilyn McMillan, Tracy Mitrano, Diana Oblinger, Carrie Regenstein, Scott Siddall, and David Smallen

Absent: Jerry Campbell, Margaret Plympton, Kathleen Santora

Also present: Staff members Peter DeBlois, Cynthia Golden, Richard Katz, and Mark Luker

The meeting was called to order by Chair David Smallen at 7:57 a.m.

Motion: That the minutes from the October 27, 2007, board meeting be approved.
Motion made by: Scott Siddall
Seconded by: Lucinda Lea
Passed by unanimous vote


David Smallen asked members to sign the ethics and conflict of interest forms and return to Peter DeBlois by the end of the meeting. He also pointed out a meeting evaluation form to complete.


President's Report

  1. Annual Conference
    • Summary set of demographic comparison charts and sample comments were provided in Tab 4 of the Board Book.
    • The most common complaints were about the space challenges and being turned away from sessions. Other concerns included comments about the food quality and recycling. We are looking at ways to minimize unnecessary materials in the totes and other opportunities to "green" the conference.
    • The management team brainstormed ideas for improving the conference, for example, having a different stage presence for the general sessions, informal meeting/learning spaces, increased back-channel interaction opportunities, more power connections, etc.
  2. Partnerships
    • An example of collaborative outreach is "Preparing for the Unimaginable", started by NACUBO in response the Virginia Tech shootings. The goal is to develop preparedness/recovery standards and procedures for various kinds of natural and human disasters. In addition to EDUCAUSE, other partnering groups include the College Personnel Association, APPA - Educational Facilities, Campus Law Enforcement Association, National Association of College and University Attorneys, University Risk Management and Insurance Association. Within a year, there may be federal funding to create a clearinghouse. EDUCAUSE contributed $30,000 to the start-up effort; Mark will represent EDUCAUSE.
  3. Frye Leadership Institute
    • The partnership between EDUCAUSE, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), and Emory University is entering its ninth year with new leaders at the sponsoring organizations: Chuck Henry at CLIR; Rick Luce, the library director at Emory; and Diana.
    • Past participants are uniform in high praise of the professional value of intense immersion in leadership development and networking. Discussions are under way to clarify the future program philosophy, funding agreement, and business model for the institute. The 2008 program and participants are set, and a contract for 2009 space has been signed.
  4. Peer-to-Peer/File Sharing
    • The recent Motion Picture Association of America gaffe about their statistical interpretation error - that the alleged 44% of illegal file sharing of movies occurring in higher education was more like 16 - gave EDUCAUSE an opportunity to further clarify that campus network-based activity of this kind is in the neighborhood of 3%. This received a good deal of national media coverage.
    • The College Access and Opportunity (Higher Education Reauthorization) Act is moving through Congress. EDUCAUSE, on behalf of higher education, opposes a provision in the House version that would require institutions to implement technologies to control illegal file sharing; so far the House leadership adamant about including such language. EDUCAUSE has taken the baton on this particular provision while ACE and other associations are focused on other aspects of the bill.
  5. Other Collaborations
    • Diana and Mark met with Doug Van Houweling about Internet2's strategic planning effort.
    • Other discussions with such corporate partners as SunGard, HP, and Apple indicate a mutual desire for dialogue.
  6. Grand Challenges
    • A summary of the Grand Challenges was included in the Board Book. Diana recommended this be dropped as a discreet initiative and relevant activities be folded into core EDUCAUSE activities as part of the evolving strategic plan. Consensus agreement.
  7. Planning
    • A summary of activities related to strategic issues and directions, including interviews with Board members and other key members in the community was included in Tab 5.
    • Internal Operations
    • The staff are excited about EDUCAUSE's new directions and being able to help shape them.
    • The EDUCAUSE homepage was recently enhanced, reducing the text-heavy presentation through the use of more human images.
    • EDUCAUSE is trying to cut the volume of e-mail going to members by reducing the numbers of messages and condensing content, focusing on what is essential.
    • Other changes: new staff for ELI, Beverly Williams now reporting to Cynthia, enhanced internal professional development, and an upcoming staff retreat on being market oriented.
  8. Board Book Changes
    • We are trying to condense Board Book for quarterly meetings by using more bulleted summaries and less dense narrative to facilitate quicker scanning. Diana encouraged additional suggestions about format of Board Book and the meetings themselves.
  9. Annual Conference
    • David asked for comments on the conference. Carrie asked if the size of the conference was a fair topic. Diana said it was but that before deciding that it is too large or feels too big, we ought to improve what we try to accomplish and refine expectations for the attendees, drawing on and adapting practices that have improved other conferences such as ELI and the regionals. Other discussion topics included the challenge of trying to attract younger professionals and questions about attendance and satisfaction data.

Activity Reports

Acknowledging the impressive work embodied in the Activity Reports in Tab 2, David asked for questions of Diana or the vice presidents.

  1. Higher Ed 101 preconference workshop - (Cynthia) A workshop for those moving up in profession was led by Casey Green and Marilu Goodyear at E07. We hope to modularizing the content and make it available more broadly.
  2. Use of volunteers - (Cynthia and Diana) Historically, the volunteer process has focused on filling vacancies on advisory and program committees. Regional conference program committees also rely on recommendations of current members. We need to do better at identifying and creating more volunteer opportunities, e.g., expand the adjunct reader pool.
  3. Goal for growth of regional conferences - (Cynthia and Diana) Facility capacity is the most likely cap for regional registrations; there is no magic number for the regionals and artificial capping registrations could be counterproductive. To make all regionals more accessible, we may expand pilot efforts for live streaming of some sessions.
  4. ECAR study of students and computing -(Richard) Four-year institutional participation has risen steadily (2004 - 13, 2005 - 63; 2006 - 96; 2007 - 103). ECAR is considering approaches to attract even more interest in the future.

Financial and Investment Update

Diana highlighted the 12-month statement of financial position ending November 30, 2007; the 11-month statement of actual vs. budget activities ending November 30, 2007; the two-year comparative statement of activities for the 11 months ending November 30, 2007; and the investment portfolio summary as of November 30, 2007.

Corporate-investment resolution:

I, David Smallen, in my official capacity, hereby certify: that I am an officer, namely Chair of the Board of Directors of EDUCAUSE, a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the District of Columbia; that at a meeting of the Board of Directors of this corporation, duly and regularly convened and held on the 31st day of January, 2008, at which a quorum for the transaction of business was and acting, the following resolution was duly and regularly adopted, and is still in full force and effect, and appears as follows in the minutes of the meeting.

RESOLVED: that Diana G. Oblinger, who is the president of this corporation is hereby authorized to sell, assign, and transfer all EDUCAUSE investments held and managed by FISN and to execute any and all instruments necessary, proper or desirable for the purpose; further, that any past action in accordance herewith is hereby ratified and confirmed; and further, that any officer of the corporation is hereby authorized to certify this resolution to whom it may concern.

I further certify that the foregoing resolution is not contrary to any provisions in the charter or bylaws of the corporation, that I, David Smallen, am the Chair of the Board of Directors of this corporation, and that I have been duly authorized to make this certificate on behalf of this corporation.

In witness thereof, I here unto set my hand and affix the seal of this corporation on this 31st day of January, 2008.


  • David Smallen, Chair of the Board of Directors

Motion:That the corporate-investment resolution be approved.
Motion made by: Carrie Regenstein
Seconded by: Marilyn McMillan
Passed by unanimous vote

Recommendation for At-Large Board Member

The board decided at the October 2007 meeting to postpone replacing retiring appointed member John Hitt.
Diana provided a historical perspective on how the election slate is developed by the board from preliminary work by the Nomination and Election Committee (NECOM). Future changes include:

  • Provide a "position description" for board members
  • Streamline the nomination process and refine information requested of/about nominees to align with desired traits
  • Help NECOM understand issues the board will be facing in the future
  • Provide NECOM members with copies of Ingram's booklet Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards, used to orient new board members

Diana proposed that the board vice chair become an ex officio member of NECOM to insure that current board needs and concerns are included in soliciting and screening nominations.
Peter DeBlois summarized the NECOM review process: rank initial group of nominees (~60-80); request additional information from top ~15; identify eight (8) that the NECOM chair will recommend to the board, which then chooses the four (4) who will be on the slate for the August-September election at the May meeting.

Motion: That the Board vice chair become an ex officio member of the Nomination
and Election Committee.
Motion made by: Marilyn McMillan
Seconded by: Thomas Maier
Passed by unanimous vote

  • Lucinda will start working with NECOM.

Diana recommended hiring a consultant from BoardSource to advise on Board development, structure, meetings, and best practices.
Diana distributed a draft of Considerations for Selecting the EDUCAUSE Board Slate. Lucinda suggested the board review and revise bullets the after moving forward with the strategic plan.
At-large/appointed member - The executive team recommended James Hilton, CIO at University of Virginia, as having a rich background - faculty member, CIO, development - and broad awareness of IT issues that would serve the board well. Board bylaws allow for additional appointed members so long as the majority of members are elected. Consideration for such appointments should include bringing in individuals with skills that are needed, e.g., financial background, and perspectives important to the association in the near term.

Motion: That the Board appoint James Hilton to a four-year term.
Motion made by: Tracy Mitrano
Seconded by: Lucinda Lea
Passed by unanimous vote

Resolution Commending Denton Farnsworth

The board unanimously approved a resolution commending Denton (Denny) K. Farnsworth for more than 18 years of service to CAUSE and EDUCAUSE on the occasion of his impending retirement on April 4, 2008.

Retreat Goals and Process

  1. (Diana) Handouts were provided summarizing preliminary findings about the perceptions of EDUCAUSE: internal staff SWOT exercise, review of graphical logo images of association programs, options for finding information online, marketing strategy, value proposition, prioritizing and synthesizing information, aligning and collaborating, and improving agility.
    • Marilyn: Need to clarify the association's relationship with corporations and achieving a right balance between being a staff-driven (like CAUSE) and a member-driven (like Educom) organization. Diana confirmed that developing a corporate strategy is definitely planned.
    • Scott: Important to get out the word that EDUCAUSE is a "professional guild" organization and not just member-driven.
    • Tom, Scott, and Tracy: Importance of distinguishing between "member" and "customer", and the interplay of institutions and individuals in how the association supports, meets needs, and provides direction for its constituencies.
  2. Environmental Scan - (Richard)
    • Today's prevailing view of technology is as an enabler and driver of change, not as a goal in itself.
    • The Spellings Report represents a shift in sentiment that education isn't a public good but a private investment. Other issues include rising costs, increasing pressure on revenues, accountability for student success, and institutional performance.
    • A theme of contradictions could become an important agenda for the IT community:
      • While education is central to the wealth of nations, colleges and universities may be losing ground and respect.
      • Despite the promise of technology and virtualization, institutions have not aligned resources to make truly transformative uses of technology.
      • Despite rich media penetration, some research suggests that undergraduate engagement in education is declining.
      • Even with broadband networking advances and an increasing volume of users and traffic, universal access is still out of reach.
    • Tracy: It is essential to include information literacy and its bearing on tools, policies, and laws in the agenda mix for all higher education constituencies.
    • Marilyn: There is continuing scrutiny of and skepticism about IT funding; it is important to build bridges across the institution and the community.
    • Carrie and Tom: There are also issues of interconnectedness, loss of control, and globalization.
  3. Definition of Strategic Issues - (Mark)
    • Strategic issues arise from an environmental scan: What is changing and where does the organization want to be in the future?
    • "Strategic" is not the same as long-term/important/urgent.
    • "Strategic" means it is central to the mission, not easy, defines the future, involves the entire organization, involves significant change and cost, plays out over time, cannot be ignored, and requires study and consensus.
    • Potential strategic issues:
      • Facilitating innovation
      • Transforming teaching and learning
      • Managing and aligning institutional resources
      • Protecting institution and its assets
      • Leadership development/talent management
  4. Breakout Group Reports - Major Points (nonduplicative)
    • Redefine role and fit of IT in higher education
    • Promote transformation of and innovation in the academy
    • Drive IT operational excellence
    • Protect people and institution's assets
    • Rationalize IT resources
    • Enable IT leadership development and talent management
    • Improve student success
    • Promote information literacy
    • Insure effective, efficient, and robust infrastructure
    • Keep pace with global IT trends
  5. Audience Analysis - (Cynthia)
    • Whom do we serve: CIOs, IT directors and managers, IT staff, academic and executive officers, and others (faculty, librarians, business officers, etc.)
    • Common ground for all audiences includes the need to:
      • Stay current
      • Understand the implications for higher education
      • Anticipate future with limited time
      • Address professional growth, staff development, and retention
      • Serve as bridge to senior administration and faculty
    • Discussion points
      • All types and sizes of institutions should feel EDUCAUSE can be an effective resource-home.
      • EDUCAUSE can't be all things to all people, so deciding how to serve different audiences is first a strategy challenge and then a resource challenge.
      • EDUCAUSE shouldn't become an association for the bleeding edge; many institutions are at different stages of assessment and implementation of "emerging technologies."
  6. Putting the Pieces Together - (Diana and all)
    • Design elements/issues should include: trust/reputation, silos/alignment of programs, clear focus, leading edge, time constraints, marketing.
    • Potential differentiators for EDUCAUSE might include: evidence-based approaches; analysis, aggregation, and prioritization of higher education issues; saving members time; life-long professional development; assuming risk and work that individual institutions alone could not address.
    • Potential strategic issues:
      • Facilitating innovation
      • Transforming teaching and learning
      • Managing and aligning institutional resources
      • Protecting institution and its assets
      • Leadership development/talent management
    • Strategic issues for higher education would overlay and stimulate programmatic activity in the first four elements in the framework, with incubator entities evolving where needed.
    • Potential future framework
      • Research
      • Professional development
      • Policy
      • Outreach and engagement
      • Operations

Dave said that a timetable for the next iteration of strategic planning would include sharing today's thoughts with the three absent members. Diana said the executives would synthesize the results of the day's group brainstorming, and there would be a Board conference call before the May meeting.