June 2018 EDUCAUSE Board of Directors Meeting

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EDUCAUSE CEO and President John O'Brien provides an update on the June 2018 EDUCAUSE Board of Directors meeting.

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At the June 26–27, 2018, EDUCAUSE Board meeting, we acknowledged the bittersweet news that board member Ron Kraemer would be retiring in a month from the University of Notre Dame and that EDUCAUSE Vice President Joanne Dehoney would be retiring as well. The board acknowledged their long careers and great contributions to our community and thanked them for their service.

The June meeting was our regularly scheduled summer meeting, but this meeting was unique in being the first-ever board retreat. We plan to have a retreat every three years so that every board member will have a chance to step back from the meeting-to-meeting work and assess our effectiveness, consider creative alternatives to how we have always done things, and generally strengthen relationships among board members. For our inaugural retreat, we asked Jon Hockman, from McKinley Advisors, to join our meeting. Longer-serving board members remember Jon from the support he provided us as we revised and restructured our membership model last year.

Hockman facilitated a review and discussion of board health, effectiveness, and culture, reviewing the results of a BoardSource survey tool we used to assess board health. The results showed that the EDUCAUSE Board, compared with national norms, is both strong and effective. Hockman noted that the self-assessment confirmed the collegial, committed, and effective culture of the EDUCAUSE Board. The board specifically considered board committee structure and considered ways to encourage engagement of directors between board meetings. Emerging from this discussion were two ad hoc subcommittees to further explore and make recommendations related to our bylaws and to our board leadership pipeline process.

Along with the BoardSource tool, we used another framework instrument developed by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) to identify and describe 41 critical trends influencing the association sector. We reviewed these trends and discussed a subset of the most relevant topics for the EDUCAUSE Board: diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); next-generation professionals; disruption in the higher education sector; micro-learning; data ownership; and structural changes in the national workforce. Board members discussed the impacts of these trends on members and the association, along with the level of preparedness required by EDUCAUSE to address the trends. The discussion reaffirmed the elevated attention the association is placing on professional learning and on young professionals, and the board encouraged EDUCAUSE leaders to continue these efforts and to share lessons learned with the community.

I presented results from the 2018 EDUCAUSE Member Satisfaction Survey, noting (1) the high levels of general satisfaction among members, (2) the compelling evidence of support for the new member model, and (3) the high value members place on signature products such as the Top 10 IT Issues research, EDUCAUSE Review, and EDUCAUSE communities and networks. I turned to the areas of opportunity for improvement most frequently cited by respondents, focusing the discussion on the member experience with the website and discoverability of EDUCAUSE resources and the Core Data Service interface. I outlined the steps we are and will be taking to improve website responsiveness and navigation, including an evaluation to assess baseline performance and initial areas for improvements, the creation of a content delivery-caching network, and continued planning and monitoring to improve wayfinding and user-centered navigation. The board expressed their support for this plan.

At this meeting the board also revisited the foundational strategic priorities that were agreed to in 2016. We reviewed the process by which the strategic priorities were formed and reviewed progress to date for each priority. Board members strongly reaffirmed the strategic directions and the necessary foundational work to support continued progress.

The board acknowledged newly appointed EDUCAUSE Vice President for Professional Learning Eden Dahlstrom and began a discussion of the "Reimagined Professional Learning" priority. New activities include the EDUCAUSE Encore! series, "Braindates" at the 2018 Annual Conference, and expanded mentoring opportunities. The board also learned of a new EDUCAUSE event for 2019, the Higher Education Convergence Forum. This senior-leader-oriented event is being offered in partnership with Deloitte and will launch in Toronto, Canada, in June 2019. In an open discussion, the board also explored potential strategies for the future, including the annual conference as a platform, regional strategy, and professional learning for EDUCAUSE subcommunities.

Next, the board reviewed progress made in the third strategic priority area: "Expanded Partnerships & Collaboration." Discussion included not only EDUCAUSE collaborations with other organizations and associations but also its focused work related to DEI. The board received an update on the work of the DEI Task Force. In addition, the board addressed strategic topics relating to (1) new approaches to trends research and (2) the development of an international strategy for the association with the help of an international task force to be launched near the end of 2018. Hilary Baker agreed to serve on this international task force as a board representative.

Related to partnerships, the board learned more about plans under way to complete the 2018 higher education Horizon Report, and board members provided feedback regarding ongoing plans for incorporating the work of the NMC (New Media Consortium) into EDUCAUSE products and services. The board stressed the value of the NMC community and the Horizon Report.

The board concluded its discussion of strategic priorities by considering progress to date on "Personalized Member Experience." I provided a framework for understanding the personalization priority, highlighting the way the goals work independently and as a whole to enable a personalized experience for members and providing an overview of 2018 goals and progress. Hockman moderated a discussion about general progress toward the personalization priority.

EDUCAUSE Vice President for Digital Communications and Content Catherine Yang reviewed our approach to content personalization, including the refinement of communications with members based on stated, observed, and contextual data and the build-out of services to audiences in an iterative fashion, beginning with the senior IT leaders/CIO audience. She provided examples of current work to increase frequency and relevance of emails that senior IT leaders/CIOs receive, and she described work being done to develop a customized area on the EDUCAUSE web homepage for CIOs, to help attendees navigate the conference with personalized suggestions, and to migrate EDUCAUSE newsletters to shorter and more frequent compilations organized by role and interest area. Yang also touched on future directions for content personalization, noting that the new EDUCAUSE privacy statement, designed to be in alignment with GDPR and to evolve with our personalization program, provides extensive detail on the member data used for personalization. Board members generally agreed with the directions presented and the balance of interests, including privacy. They recommended a continued priority on transparency and clarity about how institutional member data is shared, and they expressed a strong desire for strong steps to ensure the security of member data.

With Vice President Dahlstrom, EDUCAUSE Director of Learning Initiatives Malcolm Brown acquainted the board with plans to organize services related to the academic mission into a program called Academic Community Programs. The area would comprise three segments: Teaching and Learning; Research and Scholarship; and Student Success. The board provided feedback on partnerships, opportunities, and risks in each area, concluding that Student Success is the most critical of the three and the place to prioritize initial efforts.

Nominations Committee Chair Joseph Vaughan joined the meeting via video to describe the nominations and selection process used to determine the eight semi‐finalists whose names are being put forward by the committee, and in subsequent discussion the board selected four members to appear on the ballot in the upcoming election to replace the two members whose board service will end following the 2018 Annual Conference. The board voted unanimously to place the following four names on the ballot for the 2018 election.

  • Steve Burrell, Northern Arizona University
  • Raechelle Clemmons, Texas Woman's University
  • Mark Roman, Simon Fraser University
  • Carol Smith, DePauw University

Near the end of the meeting the board took up some financial and related updates. In addition, the board reviewed and approved a new policy related to doing business with federally sanctioned countries, and it appointed EDUCAUSE Vice President for Business Services and Chief Financial Officer Stacy Ruwe as Chief Compliance Officer for EDUCAUSE.

On behalf of the Audit and Risk Committee, EDUCAUSE Board Treasurer Kay Rhodes reported that the association received a clean audit from our new auditing firm, Clifton Larson Allen. In accordance with its research into best practices for nonprofit organizations, the Audit and Risk Committee recommended changing from a 6-to-9-month reserve target to a 6-to-12-month reserve target.

John O'Brien's signature

John O'Brien is President and CEO of EDUCAUSE.

© 2018 John O'Brien. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License..