Step 1: Understand Your Role on Your College Board
- The role of a student trustee varies among colleges throughout the country. Before you begin your board service, ask the chair of your board to provide you with your specific roles, responsibilities, and limitations.
- What am I responsible for knowing?
- What am I responsible for doing?
- Does the board have a handbook I should review before participating in board meetings?
- Do I have the same roles and responsibilities as all other board members?
- What are my roles and responsibilities during board meetings? Is there anything in particular that I should and should not do or say?
- What can I do to get the most out of this experience?
- What can I do to contribute the most to the board on behalf of the student body?
- Read Trusteeship in Community Colleges: A Guide for Effective Governance.
- Read new and back issues of Trustee Quarterly magazine.
- Complete the Governance 101 online course on ACCT Connect.
- Use ACCT Connect to learn more in-depth and nuanced information about how to govern your college, and connect with peer trustees to build your network and troubleshoot challenges.
- Attend the ACCT Leadership Congress to meet connections in person and to learn from presentations and peer-to-peer discussions. (fall)
Step 2: Represent the Student Body
As a student trustee, you have a unique voice and unique insights among the college board. As an individual trustee, you will be asked to draw from your own experiences and insights. Remember to bear in mind your peers' interests, priorities, and concerns, as well, and to represent these to the board when invited to do so.
Step 3: Grow Through ACCT
You're on ACCT's website—that's a great start! Look around at the resources we offer, which can help you to better understand the roles of college boards both locally and at the national level. ACCT represents community colleges throughout the United States, including outlying territories as far as Micronesia, and beyond the United States. We serve three primary roles: First, to advocate for your interests as a community college student to federal officials, including members of United States Congress, as well as to the White House and federal agencies including the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and others. Second, we provide education about how to effectively govern a community college, as well as services to boards such as board retreats and workshops, presidential searches, and others. Finally, ACCT conducts original research into the needs of community colleges and their students, and this research influences improvements to both federal and college policies for the sake of improving students' experiences and outcomes. No matter where you come from, involvement with ACCT during your tenure as a student trustee can benefit you through opportunities to learn and experience more, and it benefits our work to improve students' studies and their lives.
Join the Student Trustee Advisory Committee (aka "STAC"). This committee consists exclusively of your peer student trustees, and it is coordinated by experienced ACCT staff and outside facilitators. Joining the committee requires additional commitments, including in-person participation in STAC meetings at our annual ACCT Leadership Congress and Community College National Legislative Summit. To join, your college will need to pledge to support your travel to these meetings. You will be asked to collaborate with your peers to advise the association's board of directors and staff about your experiences, and the priority needs of you and your fellow students. At the ACCT Leadership Congress, you'll have the opportunity to travel to a major U.S. city and hear from world-class speakers and to share ideas with other community college leaders through over 100 educational sessions. Your college may even ask you to present alongside other leaders. (If they do, make sure that goes on your resume/CV!) At the Community College National Legislative Summit (We call it "the NLS."), you'll have the opportunity to hear from leading print and television journalists, higher education policymakers and influencers, members of U.S. Congress, federal agencies, potentially the White House, and most importantly, you will have the opportunity to travel with representatives from your state to Capitol Hill to meet with members of United States Congress and/or congressional staff. This is a tremendous opportunity for your to gain new experiences and to speak up on behalf of your college's and your fellow students' needs. We hope you will join us.
- Read and write! Our magazine, Trustee Quarterly, covers a broad array of community college and governance issues, and we love to include students' insights. As an ACCT member, you'll receive printed copies of the magazine through your college. You can also review back issues on our website. After reading through an issue or two, get in touch with us and let us know what you'd like to read about in the magazine, and if you're interested in writing about a pressing topic, let us know. There's a good chance we'll be interested, and this would be a great opportunity to see your ideas and your name in print.
Step 4: Talk to Us
- Continuing networking and accessing educational content on ACCT Connect.
- Reach out to us if we can help you with anything.