RALEIGH – The governor should appoint members to the UNC Board of Governors, according to a report released Monday by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and commissioned by the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.
The independent study made five key recommendations to improving the Board of Governors with the gubernatorial appointment the most prominent of the recommendations. Other recommendations included retaining the Board of Governors, delegate more powers to the individual campuses’ board of trustees, ensure a more proactive Board of Governors, and reduce the board’s size from 32 to 15.
Phyllis Palmiero, an education consultant and former head of Virginia’s higher education system, researched and wrote the report.
Currently, Palmerio writes, Board of Governors members are selected by the General Assembly. An adherence to an agenda set by the governor, regardless of political party, is not seen in the UNC system.
“Right now, with legislators selecting every member on the UNC Board of Governors, often with more regard to local consideration than statewide needs, there is no comprehensive vision, no statewide leadership, no clear accountability,” Palmerio writes.
When a governor appoints the members to a board, those members are more accountable to statewide needs than to the needs of individual areas, she said.
“It is much easier for a board to be proactive when a governor appoints them and gives them a mandate to address critical issues consistent with a broad state vision,” Palmerio said. “The current structure, where the governor has no formal authority over higher education in North Carolina, makes this impossible.”
ACTA president Anne Neal said the formula for having the governor selected the Board of Governors members follow a lay leadership style of government.
“The power to appoint is the power to lead,” Neal said. “If higher education is to have statewide leadership, that can only come from the higher elected official, the governor.”
A copy of the report can be viewed here.
Shannon Blosser (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a staff writer with the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Chapel Hill.
To receive the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy’s weekly newsletter, Clarion Call, each week contact Shannon Blosser at email@example.com.