Each of the 23 community colleges and 14 public universities in Ohio has individual boards of trustees, charged by the Ohio Legislature with the responsibility of governing their respective institutions.
Trustees have a tremendous responsibility to their institutions, as well as the public education system – and thus the taxpayers of Ohio – as a whole. They are "urged to band together and think innovatively to bolster the state's economy."
The State of Ohio invests significant resources in the colleges and universities governed by the trustees with the expectation that trustee actions and decisions will support the State of Ohio's goal to raise the educational attainment level of Ohio's workforce by creating the highest-quality, student-centered flexible system of higher education in the country.
The system's university boards are composed of 9-15 members appointed by the governor of Ohio with the advice and consent of the state Senate. Trustees, with the exception of student trustees, are appointed to nine-year terms of office. Student trustees are appointed to two-year terms as nonvoting members of the boards.
The System's community college boards generally are appointed the same way, though – depending on the institution – may also have some members who are appointed by the governor and others who are appointed by local officials.
Boards of trustees make and are accountable for many of the important decisions at the college and university level, often including: selecting and appointing their college and university presidents; approving personnel appointments and contracts; setting operating budgets, student tuition and fees; granting degrees; approving rules, regulations, changes in curriculum, programs and new degrees; and providing oversight and advice.
The State of Ohio has extremely high expectations of trustees appointed to all the boards of Ohio's colleges and universities, especially those appointed by the governor and local officials to public institutions of higher education. It is the governor's and chancellor's view that trustees are responsible to the institutions they serve, as well as the citizens of Ohio. They are not only policy and institutional advisors, they serve as stewards of hundreds of millions of dollars the state invests in its public system of higher education, a system designed for all Ohio's citizens. Trustees are scrutinized by the general public, the media, and the state to ensure that taxpayer dollars supporting the institutions are being managed in the most fiscally responsible manner.
Under Ohio law, official rules on how individual colleges and universities spend their public dollars vary widely from institution to institution. Some boards play more active roles in reviewing contracts and authorizing spending, etc. than others. That said, as Ohio looks at how to create more efficiencies, quality and value in its network, it stands to reason that the state will be taking a close look at how each college and university chooses to govern itself in this area. More Information To learn more about each board – including information on individual trustees, meeting dates, operating procedures, etc. – select from one of the following links:
To learn more about each board – including information on individual trustees, meeting dates, operating procedures, etc. – select from one of the following links:
Trustees from Ohio community colleges and public universities meet annually. An archive of information, materials and/or presentations from these conferences can be found by following the links below.