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Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees Statement of Expectations

This Statement of Expectations is intended to provide guidelines and information to assist members of the University of North Florida Board of Trustees in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities in service to the University of North Florida.

The Role of the Board

  1. The Board of Trustees is a public body corporate, with all the powers of a public body corporate as established by the Florida Constitution, the laws of Florida and by delegation of the Florida Board of Governors.
  2. The Board of Trustees serves as the governing body of the University of North Florida. The Board selects the President of the University, for ratification by the Florida Board of Governors, and annually evaluates the President’s performance. The Board holds the President responsible for the University’s operation and management, performance, fiscal accountability, accomplishment of its education mission and goals, execution of the strategic plan, engaging faculty, staff and students in the development of institutional goals and priorities, compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, including those of the Florida Board of Governors. The Board has the authority to carry out all lawful functions permitted by the Bylaws, its operating procedures, Florida Board of Governors regulations, or by law. The Board may adopt regulations, rules and policies consistent with the University mission, with law, and with the regulations and rules of the Florida Board of Governors, in order to effectively fulfill its obligations under the law.
  3. The Board’s primary concerns are strategic governance and accountability. The Board should adopt a strategic plan designed to ensure the long-term fulfillment of the university’s teaching, research and service mission, monitor progress in achieving the plan’s goals, and update the plan as necessary.
  4. The Board is responsible for the financial management of the University and should provide oversight to protect the university’s fiscal integrity and to make sure that the President, faculty and staff perform their responsibilities ethically, competently and in compliance with all applicable guidelines and regulations of the Board of Governors as well as all applicable laws. The Board’s responsibilities for financial management include annual submittal of the University’s budget request to the Board of Governors, including its request for fixed capital outlay; establishment of tuition and fees as well as tuition and fee waivers; engaging in sound debt management practices for the issuance of debt by the University and its direct support organizations;  accounting for the expenditure of all state, local, federal and other funds; entering into agreements for and accepting credit card payments as compensation for goods, services, tuition, and fees; establishing policies and procedures for the performance of annual internal audits of university finances and operations and submittal of all audit reports to the Board of Governors after review and acceptance by the Board of Trustees; and submittal of annual financial statements for the University and each of direct support organization to the Board of Governors.
  5. The Board should govern through the President and should refrain from becoming involved in day-to-day operations.
  6. The Board should recognize the important role that the principle of shared governance plays in institutions of higher education. It should seek input from faculty, staff and students and whenever possible incorporate their views into its decisions.
  7. The Board of Trustees should work to preserve the institution’s and its own independence from undue political, religious, or outside influence; to ensure academic freedom; and to support the President of the University in discharging Presidential responsibilities for the operation and administration of the University.

 The Role of Individual Trustees

  1. By law, the Board, acting as a collective body, is responsible for governance of the university. Individual Trustees have no authority except as delegated by the Board as a whole.
  2. Members of the Board of Trustees are stewards of the public trust. They have a fiduciary obligation to act in the best interests of the university and the State of Florida. They must adhere to the highest ethical standards and perform their university duties without regard to any personal interests they may have. Trustees should understand and comply with state ethics laws and keep themselves informed of developments in these laws. They should avoid situations that may give rise to even the appearance of a conflict of interest and promptly disclose any conflicts of interest that may occur.
  3. Trustees should understand that they serve the institution as a whole and are not advocates for any particular unit or constituency of the university.
  4. Student Trustees have a unique responsibility to ensure that the views of students are heard in Board deliberations. They should also share with other students the Board’s perspectives on university issues. In performing both of these functions, they should keep in mind the needs of all constituencies within the university.
  5. Service on the Board is a time-consuming professional commitment. Trustees should attend all meetings of the Board and committees and should give notice to the Corporate Secretary when they are unable to do so. Trustees should also make an effort to participate in conferences and other programs designed to educate and update Trustees and to attend commencements, convocations and other special events on campus.
  6. Trustees should strive to make informed decisions based on an analysis of objective principles and prudent business judgment. To ensure thorough consideration of Board decisions, Trustees should review briefing materials in advance and be prepared to actively participate in discussions.
  7. Trustees should be attentive during meetings. They should treat the opinions of their colleagues on the Board as well as others participating in Board discussions with civility and respect and should be open to alternative points of view.
  8. In order to make good decisions, Trustees need to engage in robust and thorough discussions of university issues in public meetings. Disagreements will occur and Trustees should seek productive ways to resolve them. Once a consensus is reached on an issue, all Trustees should respect the final decision of the Board.
  9. Trustees should keep themselves informed about issues and events at the local, state and national level that may affect the university and higher education in general.
  10. Trustees are encouraged to consider a philanthropic investment in the university in accordance with their means.
  11. Trustees should understand and comply with Florida’s Sunshine Law and Public Records Laws and should keep themselves informed of developments in these laws.

The Board’s Relationship with Internal Constituencies

  1. Trustees are encouraged to interact informally with administrators, faculty and students, bearing in mind that they do so as individual members of the Board. They should avoid any statements that would give rise to the perception that they speak for the entire Board.
  2. When interacting with faculty, staff and students, Trustees should not advocate for their personal position on university issues or criticize other members of the university community.
  3. Trustees should submit requests for information about institutional issues to the President or appropriate Vice President who will facilitate a response from the appropriate university official.
  4. Consistent with the principle of shared governance, the faculty, through the Faculty Association, plays an active advisory role to the administration and the Board of Trustees on academic matters, including but not limited to academic standards, research, curriculum and the granting of degrees. The Board should respect the role of the Faculty Association in these areas and should also consider advice from the Association on matters of general concern to the university community.
  5. The Board should encourage the President and administrators to involve individual faculty and students in the development of institutional goals and priorities. The active participation of faculty and students in these matters will give them a broader understanding of institutional governance and will enrich the Board’s understanding of faculty and student views on university issues.

 Relationships with External Entities

  1. The Board Chair is the only Trustee authorized to make public statements on behalf of the entire Board.
  2. When asked to comment on Board actions or deliberations, Trustees should defer to the Chair or the President. If Trustees choose to speak publicly on issues relating to the university or higher education in general they should make it clear that they are stating their personal views and are not expressing the formal position of the Board or the university.
  3. When individual Trustees communicate with federal, state or local officials on issues relating to higher education, they should take care not to create the perception that they speak for the Board or the university unless they have been authorized by the Chair or the Board to do so.
  4. When individual Trustees are presented with concerns about university operations, these matters should be communicated to the President.