ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

Board Staff and Trustees’ Autonomy

August 15, 2013 by Armand B. Alacbay

An recent op-ed in the Raleigh News & Observer reflects on a series of issues in the University of North Carolina system, including academic scandals at two campuses, and the UNC School of the Arts’ placement on probation by its accreditor. The op-ed, by Jay Schalin of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, posits that governance in the system could be improved if the UNC Board of Governors were given a full-time executive director that reported directly to the board.

This is a commendable proposal and one that ACTA has supported for years. In the wake of last year’s tragic revelations at Penn State University, ACTA recommended that the Pennsylvania state legislature offer the Penn State board a line-item appropriation for a board staff member. Testifying before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee Roundtable in 2006, ACTA president Anne Neal called for state legislatures to provide boards of trustees with funding for at least one independent staff member, in order to “give boards of trustees greater autonomy, make them less reliant on the institution for information and funding, and help provide greater independence.”

ACTA continues to support efforts to ensure that trustees of colleges and universities, who serve as unpaid volunteers, have the resources they need to provide independent accountability in higher education.

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