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October 2019 Statewide Trustees Conference

On October 31, trustees, presidents, and institutional staff attended DHE’s Annual Statewide Trustee Conference which was focused on implementing the Equity Agenda across the Massachusetts public higher education system.

Last December, the Board of Higher Education established equity as the single, overarching goal for the Massachusetts public higher education system, At the Trustee Conference the following March, attendees learned about the rationale for this goal and were shown how new data analytics tools could be used to measure progress of individual institutions. The October convening of trustees took this work to the next level, with an exclusive focus on the specific and vital role of trustees in this work. 

The day began with a keynote session from staff at the Critical Higher Education Governance Collaborative (CHEGC), which focuses its work on the intersection of leadership, governance, race, power, and equity.  Dr. Demetri Morgan, Dr. Raquel Rall, and Dr. Felecia Commodore spoke about the importance of equity in higher education, discussed the scope of the undertaking ahead for the Massachusetts public higher education system, and gave trustees tools to bring back to their institutions after the conference. 

Next, DHE Commissioner Carlos Santiago spoke about advancing the Equity Agenda in Massachusetts at the institution and system level by focusing on five pillars of student success: affordability, campus climate, student support, policy innovations, and evidence-based practices. Commissioner Santiago also announced that DHE would be releasing presidential evaluation criteria in the upcoming weeks to allow boards of trustees to better incorporate implementation of equity work in their annual processes.

At lunch, BHE Chair Chris Gabrieli moderated a panel that discussed the role of boards of trustees in developing institutional strategic plans. Deputy Commissioner Patricia Marshall gave insight into what DHE hopes an inclusive strategic planning process will entail. Greenfield Community College President Yves Salomon-Fernandez spoke about her institution’s imminent launch of their strategic planning work and ways that she has engaged her board members. Finally, Holyoke Community College Chair Bob Gilbert focused his remarks on how the strategic plan at HCC has provided important institutional direction for the college.

The conference concluded with an opportunity for trustees and institutional staff to get hands-on experience with the Performance Measurement Reporting System (PMRS). Attendees grouped themselves by institution and were given a series of exercises by DHE staff that allowed them to examine outcomes data for their college or university. Familiarity with PMRS will be key for trustees as they will be focusing on ways that they can measure their institutions’ progress toward achieving the goal of equity in higher education. 


Available Conference Materials

Overview

Plenary Sessions

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