Policy Directions 2017-10-28T13:21:32+00:00

Board Focus

Board members need to exhibit a relentless focus on policy directions that improve educational outcomes and student success to achieve goals related to access, equity, success and completion to meet the mission of the college. Through policy, community college governing boards establish the standards by which their institutions support the mission of the college. Effective boards work cohesively to create a positive climate for learning and student success. As they govern through policymaking, the Board monitors institutional performance as stewards of their colleges and communities.

This guide is designed to encourage board members, especially new trustees, to make data-informed decisions on the policies they promote which greatly impact their constituencies and foremost students and their opportunities to succeed.

Culture of inquiry and evidence

Effective boards support a culture of inquiry and evidence, approve a strategic plan with student success at the core, and approve goals for equity and completion. To meet their fiduciary responsibilities, Boards of Trustees must ask tough questions about progress on student outcomes to appropriately approve the allocation of resources to support a robust student success agenda.

Engage in data-informed policy making

With clear priorities to improve student outcomes, trustees have a responsibility and commitment to engage in data-informed policy making on behalf of their colleges to provide the requisite climate and culture of student success, equity and completion needed for progress.

This guide will identify specific policies that boards have implemented and interventions that colleges across the country have used to promote student success to further inform trustees about their roles and responsibilities to effect student progress and positive change at their colleges.

What’s a Policy?  What’s an Intervention?

Generally, Boards of Trustees create the broad college policies that set the stage for student success. The college administration then takes on the responsibility of implementing these board policies.  A clear demarcation between board policy and administrative procedure rarely exists. For the purposes of this resource, we are using the term policy to refer the guiding principles used to set the direction of the college as compared to interventions or specific strategies or high-impact practices colleges implement based on the policies boards craft.

Different states, national organizations and institutions define policies and practices differently. Many policies that colleges implement come from federal or state legislative mandates, performance funding or statewide transfer agreements, for examples. In conjunction with the board to ensure compliance, the college administration implements these mandates which are often incorporated into college policy.

The Board Policy Manual

Governing boards lead through the policies they make. Policy is the collective voice of a
board and the primary vehicle through which boards exercise their authority. A board’s policy
manual is a public statement of its standards and values. Policy guides the development of
administrative procedures and processes as well as all staff actions.

–Excerpted from Trusteeship in Community Colleges; A Guide for Effective Governance by
Cindra J. Smith, ACCT, 2000