Board Chairs

10 Things to Know: Board Chairs

Board Chair



New to being a community college board chair? Start here.

Congratulations! You were just elected chair of your board! Now what?

Here are 10 things you need to be familiar with to carry out your responsibilities.

  1. Governance and Board Policies:
    • Understand the governance structure and bylaws of the community college board.
    • Familiarize yourself with the board's policies, procedures, and guidelines.
    • Review the roles and responsibilities of the board chair and other board members.
  2. Institutional Mission and Vision:
    • Gain a thorough understanding of the community college's mission, vision, and core values.
    • Familiarize yourself with the college's strategic plans and goals.
    • Learn about the college's programs, academic offerings, and services.
  3. Board Meetings and Protocols:
    • Understand how board meetings are conducted, including procedures, protocols, and rules of order.
    • Familiarize yourself with the board's meeting schedule and agenda-setting process.
    • Learn how to facilitate effective and productive board meetings.
  4. Financial Management and Budgeting:
    • Gain knowledge about the community college's budgeting process.
    • Understand financial statements and reports, including revenue sources and expenditure patterns.
    • Learn about the college's funding sources, grants, and financial challenges.
  5. Academic Affairs and Student Success:
    • Familiarize yourself with the college's academic programs, curriculum, and accreditation standards.
    • Understand the college's initiatives and strategies for promoting student success and retention.
    • Learn about the college's student support services, including counseling, advising, and career services.
  6. Community Engagement and Partnerships:
    • Develop an understanding of the college's relationship with the local community, businesses, and stakeholders.
    • Learn about existing partnerships, collaborations, and outreach programs.
    • Identify opportunities to enhance community engagement and expand partnerships.
  7. Policy and Advocacy:
    • Stay informed about state and federal policies and legislation impacting community colleges.
    • Advocate for the college's needs and priorities at the local, state, and national levels.
    • Develop relationships with policymakers, legislators, and community leaders.
  8. Board Relationships and Team Dynamics:
    • Build effective working relationships with other board members, college administrators, and staff.
    • Understand the dynamics of the board as a collective decision-making body.
    • Foster open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect among board members.
  9. Legal and Ethical Considerations:
    • Familiarize yourself with relevant laws, regulations, and policies governing community colleges.
    • Understand ethical guidelines and standards for board members.
    • Ensure compliance with legal requirements and ethical practices.
  10. Professional Development and Board Training:
    • Seek opportunities for ongoing professional development, such as attending workshops and conferences.
    • Encourage board members to participate in training programs to enhance their knowledge and skills.
    • Stay updated on emerging trends and best practices in community college governance.

Remember, this is a comprehensive list, and you may need to prioritize certain areas based on the specific needs and challenges of your institution. 

Continuously learning, seeking advice from experienced board members, and collaborating with college administrators will help you effectively lead the community college board.

To connect with peer trustees and access further resources, go to ACCT Connect.

For more in-depth information, order a copy of The Board Chair from our bookstore.

Also be sure to check out our other resources, including Trustee Quarterly magazine, the In the Know with ACCT podcast, and educational events such as the ACCT Leadership Congress and Governance Leadership Institutes.