AC Insights
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AC Insights

15 tips for working with your board

James C. Votruba, Senior Consultant, AASCU Consulting

1. Be honest. Be transparent. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

2. Be clear regarding lines you will not cross.

3. Remember the board has authority only when acting collectively.

4. If you make a mistake, own it. Don’t make excuses and let your board know ASAP.

5. Don’t surprise your board…and make clear you don’t expect to be surprised by them.

6. Visit board members in their locations.

7. Don’t assume you are communicating with your board when you communicate with the chair.

8. Have regular one-on-ones with your board and executive committee.

9. Remember you can never separate yourself from your position. You’re are always president.

10. Be cautious about critiquing your board with others.

11. Be sure to occupy the board with your agenda…or they will occupy you with theirs!

12. Don’t miss the opportunity to compliment your board both privately and publicly.

13. Don’t get lazy regarding board relationships. Don’t ever take them for granted.

14. Remember you work for the board, not vice versa. Don’t get in the middle of internal board conflicts.

15. Monitor the strength of your board support…and take steps to build support when required.

Dr. James Votruba served as president and professor of educational leadership at Northern Kentucky University for fifteen years. Prior to NKU, he served in various faculty and administrative positions at his alma mater, Michigan State University, as well as Binghamton University, Drake University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

For more information on how AASCU Consulting can help your institution, go to




AASCU Consulting on Strategy, Leadership Effectiveness, and Capacity Building.

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