The roles of Texas community college trustees : an evolution to accountability measures in the boardroom
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This treatise is a historical policy study, empirical in nature, evaluating how Texas community college governance boards' roles have changed over the last 4 decades. Texas was chosen because trustees are elected; as the second largest state in the nation, demographic shifts are rapidly changing and trustees represent a very different constituency from 40 years ago; and, Austin Community College District was the case study evaluated. Community college trustees are lay members of boards who oversee governance of 50 districts in Texas. The long time consensus has been that boards are "rubber stamps" of a CEO's directional design, and trustees have been historically White, wealthy, businessmen, who have little educational knowledge regarding community colleges or the students served. Success for community colleges in Texas, and funding, has always been based on enrollment, never before on student achievement or graduations. Research questions addressed how trustees roles have changed in 40 years and if student success initiatives had impacted those responsibilities. The answers are interesting. Trustees duties, as prescribed by the Texas Education Code have not changed at all, but trustees are spending more time in only a few of those duties on a regular basis. Demographic attributes have also changed very little in 40 years. Yet, trustees of the 21st century have become more attuned to the financial deficits that exist and will escalate if student success is not made a priority. Utilizing research from the Texas Education Code, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, The Texas Association of Community Colleges, the Community College Association of Texas Trustees, and researchers who have documented trustees' roles and responsibilities since the early 1970s, and including a case study that evaluated one college's minutes from board meetings over a 40 year span to determine how trustees utilize their time, this study shows that boards are evolving, but need additional and continual training. Because some trustees still micromanage, what results from this study as a benefit to society is a final guide that addresses the humanistic roles that trustees should have that intertwine with the legal duties defined by the State.
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