Board Governance

Board Governance and Leadership

This dimension of Registry Advisory Services offers assessment and recommendations aimed at optimizing the effectiveness of Board of Trustee practices and the governance role in working with the President to insure effective and symbiotic productivity.

The Board’s role in setting policy and evaluating executive execution of institutional master plans, along with fiduciary accountability, can be a complicated and fragile undertaking. As only 6% of all American college and university trustees have had executive experience in higher education, most Boards can benefit from an analysis of their standard practices. Sometimes Boards have too many committees that can be mutually exclusive and thereby limit the involvement and awareness of Trustees in many of the core essential facets of the institution’s vital signs. RAS can recommend modifications, if appropriate, using models that have been proven to best contribute to institutional productivity and optimum Trustee engagement and involvement.

RAS can also help insure that the essential By-Laws along with the constitution, faculty handbook, mission and strategic plan are in good order and are working in the best interests of the institution.

Also critical is the operational relationship between the Board, the President and the senior officers. Setting a balanced interactivity that insures Board oversight and executive accountability can be fragile and sometimes less than ideally productive. RAS can assess and advise, making recommendations for modifications that have been proven to work in the best interests of both the Trustees and the Executive team, and, therefore, the institution.

What College Trustees Need To Know

  • Establishing essential interdependent symbiosis between the BoardThe Book and the President
  • Board meeting formats that insure effective Trustee involvement without overstepping
  • How Board members can best understand the nuances of higher education management
  • Dealing with the ‘inconvenient truths’ of enrollment revenue dependence
  • Why Trustee and Presidential involvement is key to successful fund raising
  • Avoiding mistakes in admissions strategy
  • How to achieve cost effective academic program accountability
  • Board role and limits in fiduciary accountability

What College Trustees Need to Know is available for purchase at most online book retailers including RAS is pleased to offer complimentary copies, upon request, to college and university Board Chairs. Contact us today. 

Practice Leader

Dr. Norman R. Smith is President Emeritus of Norman Smithboth Wagner College (NY) and of Elmira College (NY).  He has also served as President of Richmond The American International University in London (UK) and of Suffolk University Boston (MA).  On behalf of the Registry, he has served other institutions on an interim or consultancy basis.  In Egypt, he worked as Founding Chancellor on a planned American international university being built on the Mediterranean which was terminated by the Arab Spring revolution.  Earlier in his career, he was Assistant Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and an inaugural Assistant Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  He earned his doctorate at Harvard and was a Fellow of Harvard’s Philosophy of Education Research Center.  His BS and MBA were earned at Drexel University (PA).

In 2018, he received the American Association of University Administrators’ Trachtenberg Award for Leadership in Higher Education.  Among other leadership awards he has received are the New York University President’s Medal and the Drexel University Service to the Higher Education Profession award.  Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson U), Elmira College and Wagner College have awarded honorary doctorates to him.  He is the author of a number of books on higher education including WHAT COLLEGE TRUSTEES NEED TO KNOW, which he co-wrote with the Registry’s George Matthews, Chairman Emeritus of Northeastern University, along with Registry President Bryan Carlson and Registry Advisory Services President Kevin Matthews.  Another recent book is TOP PROBLEMS FACING COLLEGES.  His book TOP TIER chronicles his 14 year tenure as President of Wagner College, when the College went from near bankruptcy and closure to becoming one of the top tier regional colleges of the Northeastern US.

Our Team

Roger Bowen



Past President SUNY New Paltz, Director of the Council of Independent Colleges' Visiting Fellows and past General Secretary of the American Association of University Professors.





Kate Douglas



Past President, Corning Community College and President of Monroe Community College





Jonathan Fenton



Past President of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and of the New School for Social Research. Former Chair of the New York State Council of Independent Colleges. Former Associate Provost of Yale University.





Linda Hanson



Past President of Hamline University and of the College of Santa Fe.  Past Board Member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and of the Council of Independent Colleges.





Ron Johnson



Past President of Clark Atlanta University. White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges Advisory Board member. Director on the Board of  The United Negro College Fund and Past Chairman of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Advisory Board.




Richard Kneedler



Past President of Franklin and Marshall College and of Rockford University and Wilson College.  Founding Organizer of The Annapolis Group and Former Board Member of the Council of Independent Colleges.





Sylvia Manning


Past Chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago and Past President of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, Past Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of Southern California and Former Board member of the American Association of Colleges and Universities.




Robert Rotberg



Past President of Lafayette College and of the World Peace Foundation, Founding Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Program on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution, Former President of the World Peace Foundation and Former faculty member at Harvard University and MIT.




Lynne Rosansky



Founding President of Hult International Business School and Past Provost of Bentley University.





Roy Siago



Past President of Southern Oregon University, of St. Cloud State University, of Westfield State University and past Chancellor of Auburn University at Montgomery.





Joan Stewart



Past President of Hamilton College and Past Dean of the University of South Carolina.





Jon Strauss



Past President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and of Harvey Mudd College, Manhattanville College and Iona College, past Senior VP of USC and VP Finance of UPenn.





Daniel SullivanDaniel Sullivan

President Emeritus St. Lawrence University; Past President Allegheny College; Past VP for Planning and Development, Associate Professor of Sociology Carleton College; Chair, Pennsylvania Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities; Member of the Board, NAICU; Board Chair, AAC&U; Senior Counsel, Hardwick-Day; Senior Counsel, EAB.





William Trueheart



Past President of Bryant University, Former Director of the Harvard Kennedy School MPA program and Associate Secretary of the Harvard Corporation and Overseers (University governing bodies).

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