PRP 2725 – Advisory Boards

ISSUED BY: Dr. Bashar W. Hanna, President

NOTES: Recommended by GAC 4/2/2019; Approved by Forum 10/23/2019

EFFECTIVE: February 4, 2020

 

Rationale for Policy

Bloomsburg University (BU) Advisory Boards are useful opportunities to engage key constituents. Advisory boards create an effective forum to solicit strategic or programmatic advice, cultivate political influence, and support fundraising goals to assist educators in achieving student success. Depending on the type of advisory board, members have four main roles: advisors, advocates, ambassadors, and philanthropic supporters. The mission of an advisory board should clearly express the responsibilities, activities, expectations, and limits of the advisory body.

Examples of responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Advise the college/school/department on industry and academic trends and issues that impact mission and strategy
  • Provide insights and guidance about new programs, curriculum development, accreditation, learning activities, and events
  • Identify professional and career development opportunities and networks to help students interact with prospective employers
  • Provide access to other business leaders
  • Assist in acquiring resources and fundraising in support of the mission

Keywords/Definitions

Advisory Board – a collection of individuals, not employed by Bloomsburg University or its affiliates, who bring unique knowledge and skills while providing non-binding strategic advice to an organization. The advisory board does not have formal authority to govern the organization; that is, the advisory board cannot issue directives which must be followed.

Rather, the advisory board serves to make recommendations and/or provide key information, materials, and resources to the university department, college, or division.

Internal advisory organizations consisting of members employed by Bloomsburg University or its affiliates are not governed by this policy.

Background Information

Policy

The President shall approve all BU advisory boards. Advisory board recommendations shall be made by the dean, department chair, or staff member responsible for the advisory board (university liaison) to the corresponding VP/dean who makes the final recommendation to the President. Boards shall be created in accordance with Creating and Developing an Advisory Board Best Practices (Addendum #1).

1. In considering and/or developing a new advisory board, the university liaison shall meet with the University Advancement VP to discuss best practices (see Addendum #1).
2. No advisory board shall be approved without a detailed position description (Addendum # 2) that includes a summary of the position, responsibilities, expectations, activities, term of office, and limits on authority of the advisory board.
3. The university liaison for all existing advisory boards shall provide the BU President with a detailed position description (see Addendum #2) that includes a summary of the position, responsibilities, expectations, activities, term of office, and limits on authority of the advisory board within 60 days from the approval of the BU Advisory Board policy to ensure that BU endorses and recognizes all existing advisory boards.
4. The office of the president, Bloomsburg University Foundation (BUF), and current advisory board members shall make membership recommendations/nominations to the university liaison who makes the final decision and extends the personal invitation to the prospective advisory board member.
5. To avoid conflict of interest, no BU employees shall serve as a member of an advisory board unless designated as an ex-officio member.
6. To respect volunteer’s time and provide BU with the opportunity to engage as many dedicated volunteers as possible, no board members shall serve on more than one BU board at a time. In extremely rare circumstances, an advisory board member may serve on no more than two BU advisory boards with approval granted by the corresponding VP.
7. In order to provide appropriate stewardship (appreciation) and avoid duplication of board members, the university liaison shall collaborate with University Advancement on the selection of all advisory board members prior to invitation. Each year, the university liaison will provide BUF with a roster of advisory board members for tracking and stewardship purposes.
8. All board members shall sign a volunteer conflict of interest statement.
9. All appointed board members serve at the pleasure of the university liaison and must comply with all expectations and responsibilities indicated in the position description. Board members may be removed for non-compliance of their responsibilities at any time by the university liaison.
10. The university liaison shall submit an annual report to the office of the president summarizing advisory board activities, accomplishments, and challenges.
11. In the event an advisory board is not fulfilling its intended mission, the university liaison, in consultation with the President, reserves the right to dissolve the board.

CREATING AND DEVELOPING AN ADVISORY BOARD BEST PRACTICES

Addendum #1

  • First, consider your mission and what are you trying to accomplish. Then, determine if/how an advisory board will complement the objectives you want to achieve, the opportunities you wish to pursue, and the problems you are trying to solve (in thinking about your overall goals, you may want to consider a task force or working group that has a finite term in lieu of an advisory board. This will require fewer logistical and planning responsibilities).
  • Gain support of campus leadership by discussing the advisory board mission with the appropriate department chair, dean, and vice president.
  • Develop a position description (see addendum 2) that is clear about the responsibilities, activities, expectations, term of office, and limits on the authority of the advisory body.
  • Consider upfront if contributions or dues in support of college/school/department priorities and/or striving for zero operating cost to the university in supporting student programs, activities, and events will be an expectation of the board.
  • Recruit specific people and talents to assure a diversified, well-balanced board reflective of diverse perspectives (e.g., gender, age, BU involvement, community sectors, customer or donor sectors, professions, etc.).
  • Consider all stakeholders, including alumni, parents, students, community, industry experts and friends.
  • Board membership should seldom be the initial engagement of a volunteer. Build potential board members first by growing and testing their commitment through increased engagement of time, talent and treasure.
  • Size is an important matter, as more members are not necessarily better. Consider how many advisors you need to create the culture you want for strategic discussions.
  • Invite each potential board member personally. A direct invitation signals that you take the project seriously and allows you to explain your vision of the board's objectives and the member's role. Your energy and enthusiasm will persuade people to participate.
  • Meet with each board member individually at least once a year to develop a strong relationship that allows you to easily call upon him or her as needed.
  • Select a productive chair, someone with whom you will work well to advance BU’s objectives. Clarify the chair’s role in facilitating meetings, resolving conflicts, monitoring conversations to keep them relevant, and serving as a spokesperson for the group.
  • Plan ahead – it is advisable to meet only two or three times a year and to schedule the meetings at least a year in advance.
  • Provide an agenda and homework in advance, as well as minutes of meetings within a week of the past meeting, and then send specific follow-up reminders for agreed upon tasks.
  • Present genuine issues and provide ample time for discussion. An effective meeting cannot simply be a recitation of the college's accomplishments or the department's recent points of pride. People agree to serve on a board because they want to make a difference, and they are acutely aware of unnecessary drains on their time.
  • Always include students – board members want to have a positive influence on students’ lives. Bring students in to give brief presentations and allow them to mingle with the board.
  • Assess and discuss board impact and productivity annually.
  • Don’t forget to have fun. Be sure to factor in some appreciation, along with fun and enjoyable activities that let board members discern how much you value and appreciate their role. A sincere private thank-you note, as well as public gratitude, is always appreciated.

 

SAMPLE ADVISORY BOARD POSITION DESCRIPTION

Addendum #2

Volunteer Position: Board member

Organization Name: College of Science and Technology Advisory Board

Number of Seats: 25

Process for Filling Position: Board Membership Committee reviews nominations, and makes recommendations to the dean who makes the final decision and extends the personal invitation to the prospective board member

Eligible Constituencies: alumni, parents, students, industry experts, and friends

Summary of Position:

The invitation to serve on the BU College of Science and Technology Advisory Board recognizes an individual’s commitment to support the College and its mission. Members of the advisory board serve as advisors to the dean and as advocates and ambassadors for the college. Through attendance and participation at advisory board meetings, review of curriculum, selected activities throughout the year, and philanthropic support, advisory board members demonstrate their volunteer leadership on behalf of the college.

Responsibilities and Expectations

Board members have four main roles: as advisors, advocates, ambassadors, and philanthropic supporters of the College. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Advising the college on industry and trends, and issues that impact mission and strategy
  • Providing insights and guidance about new programs and curriculum development
  • Identifying research and career development opportunities, and networks for students to interact with prospective employers
  • Assisting in acquiring resources and fundraising in support of the mission

Time Expectation

  • Average Time Commitment: Participation in two meetings (three hours each) per year; time commitment between meetings varies and is often via phone; participation in activities
  • Key Events and Activities: Pathways Career Days, Research Day
  • Term of Office: Three years – members may be invited to serve for three consecutive terms before being required to take a year off

Yearly Philanthropic Expectation

All members are expected to make annual contributions to the College of Science and Technology Henry Carver Fund, commensurate with their capability. Members are encouraged to make additional contributions to other areas of the College and BU, in keeping with their interests and ability.

University Liaison/Dean – Robert Aronstam

College of Science and Technology

570-389-8471

aronstam@bloomu.edu