June 2019 EDUCAUSE Board of Directors Meeting

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At the June 2019 EDUCAUSE Board of Directors meeting, the members discussed a variety of topics, including updates on current activities and selection of candidates for board elections.

Two hands keying on a laptop displaying two graphs

The EDUCAUSE Board of Directors summer meeting this year was unique in several ways. The meeting, held on June 26–27, was co-located with a new event, the Convergence Forum, in Toronto, Canada. Along with Toronto being a remarkable city, it was wonderful to hold an EDUCAUSE meeting and event in Canada, the largest non-US contingent of EDUCAUSE. The board meeting was also unprecedented in being our first meeting using new board portal software to improve access to board materials and enhance the overall experience for board members, who volunteer a great deal of time on behalf of our community.

EDUCAUSE Board of Directors and Executive Team
Left to right: Elias Eldayrie, Stacy Ruwe, Michele Norin, Nicole McWhirter, Barron Koralesky, Susan Grajek, Joe Moreau, Hilary Baker, Eden Dahlstrom, Louis Soares, Carol Smith, John O'Brien, Sue Workman, Rae Clemmons, Mairéad Martin, Loretta Parham, Catherine Yang, Ed Leach, Keith McIntosh.

Following the approval of minutes from the previous meeting, the board engaged in discussion following updates provided in advance by EDUCAUSE leadership. Here are a few highlights:

Vice President of Professional Learning Eden Dahlstrom presented an update on EDUCAUSE's learning and career development portfolio and a concept map of the proposed EDUCAUSE Academy—a new framework meant to simplify and restructure EDUCAUSE educational and experiential programs to give members a clearer and more holistic view of what the association offers. The board was very supportive of the EDUCAUSE Academy concept.

Also included in updates from the EDUCAUSE executive team was a detailed list of my travel, writing, speaking, and other activities. This information is shared at every board meeting to ensure transparency and full alignment with board and organizational strategic priorities.

In addition, Vice President of Communities and Research Susan Grajek revealed the names of those selected to receive EDUCAUSE awards, including a new DEI Leadership Award, at the Annual Conference.

The board engaged in deeper dives into several topic areas, summarized below.

2019 Organizational Goals

I provided the board with a status report on our 2019 organizational goals. Most notably I shared that most of the tasks supporting the high-level goals are on track and that I expect the majority of organizational goals will be met by the end of 2019. The board discussed the mix of activities and was generally supportive of progress to date. The board continued this discussion later in the meeting during an executive session as part of my midyear performance review. In addition, the board reviewed and discussed the findings of my recent 360-degree evaluation, which gathered anonymous feedback requested from 50+ community members, as well as all EDUCAUSE staff.


Vice President of Digital Communications and Content Catherine Yang led the board in a strategic discussion of personalization. She gave an update on the ongoing implementation of a new marketing automation tool that will provide artificial intelligence and machine learning functionality, allowing EDUCAUSE to offer content recommendations to members in 2020. Reviewing the evolution from theory to practice, Yang highlighted what we've learned so far, emphasizing a focus on fundamentals, privacy, universal design, continuous improvement, agility due to the rapidly changing environment, and awareness of trends that will continue to make the association forward-looking.

Enterprise Risk Management

Vice President of Business Services and CFO Stacy Ruwe led the board members in an exercise to solicit their opinions about our risk tolerance vis-à-vis various vulnerabilities in eight risk areas. CIO Mairéad Martin provided additional context for each of the eight areas, and the board's ratings were then compared with EDUCAUSE staff ratings in these same areas. Responses to the risk exercise validated EDUCAUSE's current risk profile as being in alignment with board tolerance.

Trimester Financial Review

The board reviewed financial matters, including the clean audit EDUCAUSE received, and approved the audit committee's recommendation to accept the audit. In addition, the board reviewed and approved the Form 990 required of nonprofit organizations.


A significant part of our second day of activities involved a careful review of eight candidates, selected by the Nominations Committee, for the 2019 board election. The chair of the committee, Tracy Schroeder, reviewed the committee process for making its decisions for the eight exceptional semifinalists, then provided additional background about each candidate. Following Schroeder's report, the board deliberated on the candidates and selected the four to appear on the ballot.

Voting in the election began on 08/05/19 and will conclude on 09/04/19, after which the board will consider at-large appointments.

Digital Transformation

Vice President Grajek engaged the board members in an overview of the association's work on, and vision for, digital transformation (Dx). She led the board in a discussion about the working definition developed by the Digital Transformation Task Force, the collection of Dx case studies, and the visioning exercise conducted to understand the future impact of Dx in higher education. On the topic of analytics, the consensus was that EDUCAUSE should contextualize any work around analytics not only within the larger Dx conversation but also within every Dx conversation, whether it be focused on teaching and learning, security, or other specific areas of interest.

Note: Minutes for the June meeting will be posted after they are approved by the board. As always, information for other board meetings can be found in the official board minutes, which are archived here.

John O'Brien's signature

John O'Brien is President and CEO of EDUCAUSE.

© 2019 John O'Brien. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.