Trustee Roles and Responsibilities

Community college governing boards play a vital role in shaping the direction and success of their institutions. Trustees are ultimately accountable to the community for the performance and welfare of the institutions they govern.

Boards of trustees establish strategic plans, policies, and standards for college operations, including educational programs, personnel, and fiscal affairs. By setting a positive climate, monitoring institutional performance, and being advocates for the college, boards ensure its accountability, growth, and community relevance.

Boards should function as thoughtful, educated teams, promoting open and respectful communication, supporting board decisions, and addressing rogue behavior if necessary. Understanding their statutory responsibilities, boards exercise their authority in budget approval, program development, personnel management, and property control.

Delegating significant authority to the CEO allows for effective administration and strategic leadership. By fostering a strong board-CEO relationship and focusing on the future, integrity, and excellence, boards can lead their colleges towards achieving their mission and community needs.

Additional insights: State statutes create and authorize governance systems for postsecondary education, define governing board responsibilities, and authorize boards to delegate authority and responsibility to the CEO. It is important for trustees to gain familiarity with applicable laws in their states, including requirements for trustee education and training.

More in-depth resources, including educational videos, articles, worksheets and more are available to members in our governance resource library at ACCT Connect.