Governing Board Roles & Responsibilities

Community college boards of trustees are responsible for ensuring that their colleges are integral parts of their communities and serve their ever-changing needs. Boards are accountable to the community for the performance and welfare of the institutions they govern.

Effective boards form a cohesive group able to articulate and represent the public interest, to establish a climate for learning and to monitor the effectiveness of the institution. Boards of trustees do not do the work of their institutions; they establish standards for that work through the policies they establish.

Their specific responsibilities are to:

  • Act as a Unit
  • Represent the Community and Serve the Public Good
  • Be Visionary, Think Strategically
  • Establish Policies to Support the Mission of the Institution
  • Employ, Evaluate and Support the President
  • Create a Culture of Evidence that Monitors Institutional Performance

We welcome new and experienced trustees to join us for our Governance Leadership Institutes. The Institutes are designed to accelerate the contribution of new trustees and serve as a refresher for trustees who want to review the principles of effective board leadership.


Download ACCT's Standards of Good Practice for Trustee Boards 



View the Trustee Webinars! 

How the Board can Organize an Effective Meeting: Basic Board Procedures

60 minutes

ACCT presents this webinar designed specifically for all board members who want to refresh and increase their knowledge of board meeting procedures.

Board meetings can be highly productive, but all too often they leave trustees frustrated and feeling that little has been accomplished. To accomplish valuable work during a board meeting, meetings must be organized and orderly. Trustees and their board chairs need to follow the rules of procedure, to engage in their roles as participants and understand the basic phases of organization.

This one hour webinar provides participants with practical tips on getting the most out of their board meetings and self-development as meeting participants.


Narcisa Polonio, Ed.D., Vice President for Education, Research and Board Leadership Services ACCT


Safeguarding your Institution: The Board’s Role in Navigating Disaster

90 minutes


It is impossible to control whether a crisis will happen at your institution, but you can control whether or not your college is prepared should the unthinkable happen!

For trustees and presidents, this webinar focuses on preparing essential policies for disaster management and details the steps that need to be taken for assessing institutional preparedness.

  • The board is vested in the stewardship of the institution and its reputation. Boards have a responsibility for safeguarding the campus by having appropriate policies in place to minimize the potential for future crises.This webinar and the included extensive multimedia toolkit are specifically designed to meet the needs of community college governing boards and presidents for preparing protocols, policies, and practices. The seminar considers lessons learned from emergencies, whether natural or caused by individual or group actions.

Sharing their knowledge and experience, nationally known community college leader and legal experts contribute critical lessons about handling the strategic and policy issues that arise when preparing for, responding to and recovering from a campus crisis.


  • Ann Franke, Esq. President, Wise Results, LLC
  • Narcisa Polonio, Ed.D., Vice President for Education, Research and Board Leadership Services ACCT

Interviews with:

  • Walter Bumphus, Ph.D. , President & CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, President Emeritus of Louisiana Community & Technical College System, LA
  • Alessandra Jerolleman, MPA, CFM, Executive Director, The Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (in Toolkit)


What Boards Need to Know about Institutional Accreditation

70 minutes


Accreditation may have been taken for granted in years past, but some community colleges are now on red alert to maintain their status as leading institutions of education. Boards today require authoritative information to assume leadership in making decisions on issues related to accreditation, quality assurance, and preserving public confidence in the college.

Dr. Judith S. Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the largest institutional higher education membership organization in the United States, presents this webinar on the board’s role in accreditation and its vital importance to the college. Dr. Eaton will walk you through a holistic view of the process of accreditation. You will learn the answers to questions such as:

  • How does accreditation impact the success of the college?
  • What is the federal government-accreditation relationship?
  • What innovative policies, metrics and trends that boards should be aware of?
  • How can boards respond to concern about student learning outcomes?

These issues and more are discussed and opportunities and solutions are proposed in this exclusive session for trustees.


Dr. Judith S. Eaton, President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)


Keeping Order: Robert’s Rules for Trustees in Two Parts

robertsrules-combined-webinars60 minutes - About 30 minutes for each segment. There are 2 separate webinars.

Fair and orderly meetings are based on a parliamentary authority. It is important to place the whole board on the same footing and get everyone speaking the same language.

Learn the procedures that make board meetings more efficient. Robert's Rules provides for constructive and democratic meetings, to help, not hinder, the business of your board.


  • Nancy Watkins, CPA, Trustee Hillsborough Community College, FL, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, and former ACCT Board Member walks you through the "nuts and bolts" of what you need to know about Robert's Rules.
  • The Community College of Baltimore County demonstrates the use of Robert’s Rules in a mock board meeting. This interactive session steps through procedures, motions, constructive debate and manages problem behavior.

trusteeship-in-community-collegesTrusteeship in Community Colleges: A Guide for Effective Governance

By Cindra J. Smith
Published by Association of Community College Trustees, 2000

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