On many college campuses these days, leaders are wrestling with difficult issues. There has been a sustained clamor for schools to address racism, sexual assault, diversity, and inclusion. Ithaca College is no exception, and the board of trustees at Ithaca has been working to address the community’s concerns.  

In conversations on campus, however, trustees were surprised that many people had no idea how the board fits into the governance of the school. In response, the trustees penned an article for the The Ithacan. Addressing the community at large, they explained the basics of board governance — how trustees are chosen, what their responsibilities are, the board’s relationship to staff and administration. I was particularly interested in how their board differs from the "typical" model. For example, the Ithaca College board has a member from the faculty, staff, and student body, each with full rights and responsibilities.  

Seminarians are probably no more knowledgeable about board governance than their university colleagues. Would it be a good idea for a seminary board to write an article for the seminary student body about this issue? 

Maybe. Perhaps students have no need to see how their sausage is made, so to speak, but I think the argument can be made that good might come from a regular explanation of how a school operates. Presumably, the lesson will need to be repeated often, as a school is always in transition. A public explanation could clarify the responsibilities of administrators, increase confidence in the leadership, and open up potential avenues of communication.


To read the article in The Ithacan, click here

Image credit: The Wizard illustration is the work of William Wallace Denslow.