When a president should say no to the board

April 11, 2016

Presidents of postsecondary institutions should resist the impulse to appease a board of directors and instead set clear boundaries on the board’s role and powers, write Barbara McFadden Allen, Robin Kaler, and Ruth Watkins for Inside Higher Ed. To illustrate their point, the authors explore a hypothetical scenario, in which a university president must navigate the competing impulses of pleasing a board and doing what she or he believes is right. The article points out that pushing back against a board is a difficult task, especially if the president is new and has not firmly established personal relationships with board members. The authors conclude that presidents will face a “defining moment as a leader” when they enforce clear boundaries on what board members can and cannot influence. Inside Higher Ed