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Austin Community College
Board of Trustees
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd.
Austin, Texas 78752-4390
512.223.7834 (Fax)
ACC Board of Trustees Roles & Processes

Duties of the Board of Trustees

In accordance with its policy governance model, the ACC Board of Trustees selects and evaluates the College President, and adopts strategic policies, priorities, and plans to direct the operation of the College. The Board does not make specific operational decisions or approve operational rules; these decisions are made by the President and those to whom he or she delegates authority. Specific complaints or grievances are handled by the President, not the Board. The particular topics to be discussed at a specific meeting are determined by the President and Board officers, and are posted on this web site prior to the meeting.

Role of the ACC Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees represent residents of the ACC taxing district. Trustees are elected at large to provide appropriate high-level guidance and leadership to ensure the College acts to meet community needs. Much of the time allotted at Board Meetings, and by individual trustees, is spent consulting with community members about their needs and the College's success in addressing them.

Board Policies and the ACC Master Plan guide the College's vision and mission. The total set of Board policies is relatively concise (a few dozen policies typically 300 words in length). This policy model concentrates on giving the administration critical mandates and limitations, not detailed instruction.

The Board develops the College's basic priorities.  Long-term goals and priorities are stated in Board Policy, and the Board reviews and approves the plans to achieve them in the annual budget and the annual review and readoption of the Master Plan. In addition to the "what to do" priorities, Board policy also specifies a set of "what to not do" priorities in areas such as purchasing and employee relations.

The Board does not manage the College.  Most specific decisions and rules used to guide College operations are made by the administration and shared governance practices involving faculty, staff, and students. These normally do not require Board approval (unless they are very costly), but, must be consistent with the Board's policies and the college Board-approved Master Plan.

The Board hires only one staff member, the College President, who in turn chooses the rest of the administration and directs the operation of the College.  Board approval is required for increases in the size or salaries of the administration, and for changes in overall salary scales.  The Board also hires some external advisors (e.g., legal counsel, auditors), but they have no supervisory authority over College staff.

Processes used by the ACC Board of Trustees

The Board employs a policy governance model which focuses on issues of strategic importance to the community. The primary motivation for the governance style used is to permit the Board to concentrate its limited time where it can make the most impact on behalf of the community. Typically these relate to defining the priorities for proposed program and service improvements, and to ensuring that community values (such as fair pay and employment practices) are respected in college operations.

The Board uses a "set goals, then delegate, then evaluate" style.  It gives the Board officers (for Board matters) and the administration and shred governance bodies (for operational matters) broad authority to act to achieve the declared goals with little need for specific Board approvals.  The evaluation of Board and College officers is on the basis of what results they produce while staying within the constraints of the concise set of Board policies.

The Board acts only by majority votes in public meetings of the whole Board, as reflected in the written Minutes and policies it approves.  There are no informal or "unwritten" Board decisions or policies.  All Board approved directives are posted in the Policy/Directive section of this website. Trustees as individuals have no authority over the College. The ACC Board does not use subcommittees, but instead deliberate with all items it considers as a full-Board.

The Board sets its own meeting agendas.  Since the Board meets only twice per month, meeting time is a very limited resource.  Each year, the Board adopts its annual Work Plan. The scheduling of meeting time to address these priorities is decided by the Board Officers in consultation with the President. The Work Plan includes a review of Board policy compliance reports, institutional effectiveness data, review/revision/readoption of the Master Plan, and development/approval of the annual budget necessary to support the Master Plan.

There are also a limited number of operational decisions which still require Board approval (large purchases, major changes in the scope of instructional programs, and salaries); these are scheduled by the Board Chair in consultation with the College President.

The Board develops its own policies. Because Board policies are primarily based on the Board's determination of community values and goals, they are developed and maintained by trustee initiatives.

The Board seeks external perspectives.  Time is set aside in each regular meeting for communication from the public, the college's employee associations, and student leaders, and President. These groups are also invited to take part in Board "work sessions" in which particular topics are discussed.  The Board also schedules in-depth meetings with specific community sectors, and trustees participate on an individual basis in a wide range of community organizations and activities.

Roles of Officers of the ACC Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees elects three officers from among its members to coordinate various aspects of Board activities. These officers are elected each June (or when a vacancy exists) and serve at the pleasure of the Board. In order to bring various perspectives to the roles, the positions are rotated, with no trustee serving in the same office for more than two of any four years. While the officers may sometimes meet with each other and with the President to exchange information about their areas of responsibility, the officers do not make decisions as a group. Decisions are always the responsibility of the Board as a whole.

Roles of the Board Chair.  In addition to overall responsibility for Board activities where not otherwise assigned, the Board Chair is responsible for: [i] setting the agenda of Board meetings in accordance with priorities adopted by the Board, [ii] determining the information to be provided in the agenda materials, [iii] presiding over Board meetings, [iv] overseeing the Board's policy-development process, and [v] coordinating the Board-President relationship. As with all trustees, the Board Chair does not have any authority over or responsibility for specific operational decisions within the College on business or academic matters -- those all fall under the responsibility of the College President.

Roles of the Board Vice-Chair. In addition to presiding over Board meetings in the absence of the Board Chair, the Vice-Chair of the Board is responsible for coordinating the community-linkage activities of the Board. This includes liaison with any Board-appointed advisory committees, arrangement of systematic community consultation according to a plan approved by the Board, and ensuring that trustees are informed of opportunities for participation in College events.

Roles of the Board Secretary.  The Board Secretary is responsible for overseeing the records of the Board. This includes certifying the Minutes of Board meetings and determining how the decisions and activities of the Board are presented by the College, including such things as this Board web site. The Secretary is also responsible for overseeing Board-level activity in monitoring compliance by the administration with Board policy and directives. (Note that most College rules are made by the administration and shared governance bodies; the Board has no involvement in making or enforcing those rules, although they must be consistent with Board policy).

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