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Board Evaluation Policy and Board Evaluation Survey

BOARD EVALUATION POLICY
April 2009

The Board serves the following fundamental purposes:
  1. to govern the University, its property and revenues, and its business affairs [in accordance with the Nipissing University Act 1992] with the exception of those matters assigned to Senate;
  2. to ensure that management effectively strives for high performance in the exercise of its mandate; (e.g., appoint and/or remove the President, in consultation with Senate);
  3. to review and approve the strategic plans as well as operating and capital budgets.
In fulfilling its purposes, the Board trusts each Member to use good judgment, make ethical decisions, and act responsibly in governing the University. Responsibilities of individual Board Members include:
  • knowing the context within which the University operates;
  • exercising due diligence;
  • distinguishing between policy and administration;
  • protecting the University’s autonomy and the independence of the Board;
  • communicating clearly within the Board and the community;
  • respecting confidentiality;
  • avoiding conflicts of interest; and
  • assessing the Board and individual performance within the Board.
To ensure that the Board and its individual Members are carrying out their roles/responsibilities and effectively undertaking the roles and responsibilities referred to in this policy, the University Governance Committee of the Board will undertake a process of evaluation. An evaluation will assist in allowing the Board to demonstrate that it is accountable for its decisions and the operation of the University.
The purpose of the evaluation process is to examine both strengths and weaknesses which should result in a plan for improvement where necessary; this might include suggestions for improved operation of the Board and its Members, communication within the Board (i.e., Board binder, website, etc.), and/or opportunities for professional development. The Board evaluation process involves an assessment of the Board through a) an evaluation survey conducted with all Board Members every two years (preferably in May); and b) exit questionnaires and/or interviews conducted with constituent and external Board Members whose term is complete.
When completing the Board evaluation survey, exit questionnaire, and/or exit interview, Board Members should:
  • review the purpose and responsibilities of the Board and its standing committees as outlined in Board documents;
  • review the minutes of Board and committee meetings of the prior year;
  • review the Board binder and/or website available to each Board Member;
  • review orientation, professional development opportunities, and retreats offered throughout the year;
  • examine the Board’s relationship with administration and the Secretary of the Board;
  • evaluate the performance of the Board with regard to issues such as strategic planning and fiscal management;
  • consider whether they have personal objectives and whether their commitment level to the Board is sufficient;
  • consider whether they are participating fully and effectively as individuals at Board meetings.
Procedure for Board Evaluation Survey (all Board Members)
Every two years, the University Governance Committee will initiate the Board evaluation survey process, which will be as follows:
  1. Prior to the Board evaluation survey, the University Governance Committee will review the survey questions and ensure that they are relevant and within the current context and work of the Board;
  2. At a Spring Board meeting (preferably in May), each Board Member will complete a written Board evaluation survey;
  3. The surveys will be delivered in confidence to the Secretary of the Board for collating and summarizing and a summary presented to the University Governance Committee;
  4. The summary will be discussed by the University Governance Committee and areas requiring improvement, action, and time lines will be discussed and an evaluation report drafted;
  5. The Chair of the University Governance Committee will finalize and present the evaluation report and recommendations to the Board Executive for review and future direction.
Procedure for Exit Questionnaire and/or Interview (Members whose term is complete)
As individual Board Members’ terms are complete, the Chair of the Board, Vice-Chair of the Board, and Secretary of the Board will initiate the exit questionnaire and/or interview process, which will be as follows:
  1. Prior to the exit questionnaire and/or interview, the University Governance Committee, Chair of the Board, and Vice-Chair of the Board will review the questions and ensure that they are relevant and within the current context and work of the Board;
  2. Board Members whose term is complete will complete an exit questionnaire (and possibly the Board evaluation survey);
  3. Constituent and external Board Members whose term is complete will be invited to participate in small group Exit Interviews with the Chair of the Board, Vice-Chair of the Board, and Secretary of the Board;
  4. Results of questionnaires and interviews will be collated and summarized by the Secretary of the Board and given to the Chair of the Board, Vice-Chair of the Board, and President;
  5. The summary will be discussed by the University Governance Committee and areas requiring improvement, actions required, and time lines will be discussed;
  6. The Chair of the University Governance Committee will bring an evaluation report and recommendations to the Board Executive for review and future direction.
 

BOARD OF GOVERNORS
BOARD EVALUATION SURVEY (2009)

The Board serves the following fundamental purposes:
  1. to govern the University, its property and revenues, and its business affairs [in accordance with the Nipissing University Act 1992] with the exception of those matters assigned to Senate;
  2. to ensure that management effectively strives for high performance in the exercise of its mandate; (e.g., appoint and/or remove the President, in consultation with Senate);
  3. to review and approve the strategic plans as well as operating and capital budgets.
In fulfilling its purposes, the Board trusts each Member to use good judgment, make ethical decisions, and act responsibly in governing the University. Responsibilities of individual Board Members include:
  • knowing the context within which the University operates;
  • exercising due diligence;
  • distinguishing between policy and administration;
  • protecting the University’s autonomy and the independence of the Board;
  • communicating clearly within the Board and the community;
  • respecting confidentiality;
  • avoiding conflicts of interest; and
  • assessing the Board and individual performance within the Board.
When completing the Board evaluation survey, exit questionnaire, and/or exit interview, Board Members should:
  • review the purpose and responsibilities of the Board and its Standing Committees as outlined in Board documents;
  • review the minutes of Board and Committee meetings of the prior year;
  • review the Board binder and/or website available to each Board Member;
  • review orientation, professional development opportunities, and retreats offered throughout the year;
  • examine the Board’s relationship with administration and the Secretary of the Board;
  • evaluate the performance of the Board with regard to issues such as strategic planning and fiscal management;
  • consider whether they have personal objectives and whether their commitment level to the Board is sufficient; and
  • consider whether they are participating fully and effectively as individuals at Board meetings.
Demographic Information:
 
Are you an external or internal Board Member?
  • external
  • internal
How many years have you served on the Board?
  • 0-2
  • 2-4
  • 4-6
On which standing committees have you served in the past two years?
  • Academic Affairs
  • Advancement
  • Audit and Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Plant and Property
  • University Governance
Survey Questions:
 
Suggested rating scale:
Strongly disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly agree, Not Sure
  1. Board’s Purpose and Responsibilities
    1. The purpose and role of the Board of Governors are effectively defined.
    2. The Board understands the University’s mission and goals.
    3. The Board focuses sufficient attention on significant governance issues rather than on day-to-day administrative matters.
    4. The Board fulfills its role with regard to accountability.
    5. The Board fulfills its role with regard to strategic leadership.
    6. The Board ensures, through the President, that the appointment of senior academic administrative officers is in accordance with established policies and procedures.
    7. The Board ensures appropriate planning of the physical development of the University’s buildings and facilities.
    8. The Board is aware of the needs of its internal and external constituents (students, academic, and non-academic staff, alumni, and donors).
    9. The Board is given the opportunity and information to understand the University’s issues that impact the University’s viability.
    10. University fundraising expectations are understood by Board Members.
    11. Board Members clearly understand their due diligence responsibilities.
       
      Comments:
       
  2. Board Membership
    1. The Board currently has an appropriate range of expertise, experience/background, skills set, and gender balance to make it an effective governing body.
    2. The Board has an effective process for identifying the characteristics that new Members should bring to the Board.
       
      Comments:
       
  3. Board Meetings/Committees
    1. Board meetings are productive.
    2. There is sufficient time at Board meetings for the presentation, full discussion, and debate of viewpoints of the subjects covered.
    3. Meetings are appropriate as to quantity of information provided.
    4. Board Members receive adequate follow-up on matters raised at Board meetings.
    5. The practice of occasional meetings ‘in camera’ (i.e., without the President or other senior administrators present) would be useful or advisable.
    6. The Board adopts appropriate Board structures and reviews the Terms of Reference of each standing committee on an annual basis.
    7. The mandate of each Board standing committee is understood.
    8. Annual work plans of Board standing committees are understood.
    9. Committees have sufficient expertise to perform their responsibilities.
    10. Committee reports give the appropriate amount of information to the Board.
    11. The work of standing committees adds value to the governance of the University.
       
      Comments:
       
  4. Relationship between Board and Administration
    1. The division of authority and responsibilities of the Board and senior administration are clear.
    2. The role of the Chair of the Board is understood by Board Members.
    3. There is an effective and appropriate working relationship between the President and the Board.
    4. The Board is satisfied that the assessment of the President’s performance by the Presidential Compensation Subcommittee provides adequate involvement of the Board, while maintaining appropriate confidentiality.
    5. The President and senior administration are sufficiently responsive to questions and issues raised at Board meetings.
       
      Comments:
       
  5. Strategic Planning
    1. The Board participates effectively and appropriately in establishing the University’s direction and strategic plan
    2. The Board has an adequate understanding of external factors that could have an effect on the University and its strategic plan.
    3. Rate the effectiveness of the following in terms of understanding the mission/values of the University and its strategic directions:
    4. Board Binder;
    5. Board Orientation;
    6. Annual Board Retreat;
    7. Professional Development Opportunities.
       
      Comments:
       
  6. Fiscal Management
    1. The Board has the opportunity to gain an understanding of the annual operating budget of the University before approving it.
    2. The Board (through the Audit and Finance Committee) receives financial reports that are understandable.
    3. The Board (through the Audit and Finance Committee) receives financial reports that are sufficient to allow the Board to make decisions.
    4. The Board (through the Audit and Finance Committee) receives financial reports with adequate time to review.
       
      Comments:
       
  7. Communication between Board and Secretary of the Board
    1. The Secretary of the Board provides consistent and appropriate procedural advice to Board Members.
    2. Minutes of meetings are accurate and contain appropriate detail.
    3. Sufficient advance notice is provided to Board Members for significant events affecting the University.
    4. Questions are responded to promptly and accurately by the Secretary of the Board.
       
      Comments:
       
  8. Individual Performance
    1. I maintain Board confidentiality.
    2. I support and participate in University events such as Convocation, etc.
    3. I support decisions of the Board which I may have personally opposed.
    4. The Board is effective in making good use of my skills and expertise.
       
      Comments:

BOARD OF GOVERNORS
EXIT QUESTIONNAIRE AND/OR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS   

1. Why did you originally apply to serve on the Board?
2. Was your understanding about the requirements of serving consistent with your actual Board experience?
3. Did you receive enough training to fulfill your role effectively?
4. Did you receive adequate support to fulfill your role?
5. What did you like best and least about serving on the Board?
6. Did any policies or procedures (or any other obstacles) make your role as a Board Member more difficult?
7. If you could serve as a Board Member again, what would you do differently?
8. What suggestions would you make for improving the way the Board or its committees operate?
9. What advice would you offer to incoming Board Members?
10. Would you consider volunteering on this Board in the future?
11. Would you recommend volunteering on this Board to your family and friends?
 

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