Trustee Resources

Photo from the 2015 Statewide Trustees Conference.

Massachusetts Public Higher Education Trustees are part of an inspired group of more than 260 individuals across the Commonwealth that have come together to ensure that high-quality public higher education remains accessible and affordable. We thank you for your service.

Trustee Responsibilities Overview

As a Trustee, your responsibilities are broadly stated as “responsible for establishing those policies necessary for the administrative management of personnel, staff services and the general business of the institution…” and are specifically defined in Massachusetts General Law Chapter 15A Section 22.

While you are a Trustee of a specific Massachusetts institution, you are also part of a broader system working to ensure access and affordability across the Commonwealth.

“Massachusetts Public Higher Education is a SYSTEM with a distinguished past, increasing and measurable accomplishments and dedication to being recognized as having one of the nation’s most outstanding array of institutions. It comprises 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. The system exists to provide accessible, affordable, relevant and rigorous programs that adapt to meet changing individual and societal needs for education and employment. The public system is committed to continuous improvement and accountability in all aspects of teaching and learning. The Board of Higher Education, together with each respective Board of Trustees, expects all students, faculty and staff to be held to exacting standards in the performance of their roles and responsibilities.”
—Mission Statement of the Massachusetts Public Higher Education System

Required Trustee Training

On October 20, 2020, the Board of Higher Education (BHE) approved Trustee Training and Implementation Guidelines in furtherance of enacted state law (M.G.L. c. 15A, §45) which requires the BHE to establish and implement a comprehensive training program for members of the boards of trustees of public institutions of higher education. Under the statute, all public higher education trustees are required to complete the BHE’s training program as a condition of maintaining their seats on their respective institutional boards at least once every four years, pursuant to a schedule established by the BHE.

The BHE’s Implementation Guidelines required that all trustees appointed prior to October 20, 2020, complete the full training program no later than November 1, 2021. Trustees appointed after October 20, 2020, must receive training within six months of their appointment. Thereafter, the training program must be completed every four years while a trustee serves on a public higher education board. As required by law, if a trustee fails to complete the training within the time periods established by the BHE the trustee’s board membership will automatically terminate.

Trustees who require additional time to complete the training due to extraordinary and emergency circumstances should consult the Exigent Circumstances policy and submit a request to

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