The position of a trustee at a college or university is an awesome responsibility. If you have never held such a position, it's natural that you'd want to do everything right so you can do good work for your school. Remain focused on the suggestions below and you'll get off to a good start.
Learn About Ethics Guidelines
The very first thing you've got to do is to read your board's ethics policy and respect any guidelines the board has put forth. This can be easy to overlook, as most people are convinced that their behavior is already ethical. That's why it's so important to actually read the ethics policy; there may be specific issues that your particular board wants you to be aware of so that you don't make mistakes that affect the respectability of the board.
Interact with Those at Your School
You might have earned your position through great communication and relationships with those who elected you, but once you start serving as a trustee, it is more important than ever that you spend time with those on campus. You might want to regularly talk to staff members in the dining hall, converse with professors in their offices and organize events for students. It's possible that you don't think you have a lot of time for these kinds of interactions. However, coming into regular contact with those who will be directly affected by your work will inspire you to do what is right for them. You may choose to keep informal records and notes about the topics you discuss with others so that you can address them at meetings in the future.
Investigate Issues Before Each Meeting
Because you are a busy person with other activities, it's easy to slack on preparation and research for meetings. Whether your board meetings are each week or once a month, you have to make adequate time to sit down and do some thinking about the upcoming issues that will be discussed. Your contributions to each discussion are more likely to be well-received if your observations contain statistics, backup information and other proof that you have thoughtfully prepared. You will also be able to refute questionable claims and assertions of others.
When you are able to focus on the pointers laid out for you in this article, you'll be sure to impress your fellow board members and everyone in your school. Speak with other trustees who can act as mentors going forward.