HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
ALUMNI TRUSTEE ELECTIONS:
INFORMATION, ELIGIBILITY, AND GUIDELINES
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OVERVIEW OF TRUSTEESHIP
The Hampshire College Board of Trustees is the governing body for the College, as established under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Board is charged with charting the institution’s course, ensuring its well-being, and providing oversight to ensure both its financial health and academic excellence. At a fundamental level, the Board is responsible for upholding the public’s trust in Hampshire’s mission.
The Board organizes its work using a committee structure that corresponds to core areas of operations, and much of the Board’s strategic work takes place at the committee level.
The purview and decision-making responsibilities of the Board of trustees are outlined in the College’s bylaws, at https://www.hampshire.edu/offices/hampshire-college-bylaws. Broadly stated, they include:
- Establishing, disseminating, and keeping current the institution’s mission and providing strategic direction.
- Ensuring that policies and practices are in place and are effectively implemented to promote the highest possible educational quality, educational experience, and long-term financial security.
- Ensuring the institution’s fiscal integrity by providing financial oversight, including approval of the institution’s annual budget and monitoring its fiscal welfare.
- Ensuring that the organization is well run, with the responsibility for recruiting, appointing, supporting, and evaluating the president.
- Ensuring that the organization meets legal and compliance requirements.
- Ensuring that the organization is operating in accordance with its mission and for the purpose for which it was granted tax-exempt status.
In accordance with the Bylaws, the Board can have up to 31 members, among them one faculty trustee, one staff trustee, one student trustee, and two alumni trustees, all of whom are chosen through an election process which is followed by formal ratification by the Board. It is important to know that trustees do not function as representatives of specific constituencies: Their mandate is to bring a unique voice and perspective to the table, but always to act and vote in the best interests of the institution as a whole. Alums who are elected to serve as trustees offer an invaluable set of experiences and insights, but neither speak for alums nor advocate specifically for the interests of the alumni body.
ELIGIBILITY AND QUALIFICATIONS
To be eligible to serve as an alumni trustee, candidates must be graduates Hampshire College and be in good standing.
qualities that are desirable in a trustee are an individual’s relationship to the College and affinity for its mission, professional skills, aptitude for organizational leadership, and the ability to bring a fresh perspective to the Board’s deliberations. In terms of financial support, all trustees are expected to lead by example, with Hampshire College being one of their top two philanthropic priorities, commensurate with personal capacity.
In specific instances, the Board’s Trusteeship and Governance Committee will make a conclusive determination about the eligibility for or termination of trusteeship.
TERM OF SERVICE
Alumni trustees are elected for a four-year term. After completion of that term, the Board may renew the incumbent’s participation for another four years as an at-large trustee, at which time another alumni trustee will be elected.
Terms begin on July 1 and conclude on June 30 unless otherwise determined by the Trusteeship and Governance Committee.
The Hampshire Board of Trustees typically meets four times each fiscal year, in the months of September, November, February, and May (the May meeting is the Annual Meeting and takes place in conjunction with Commencement). Meetings usually take place in Amherst, Massachusetts, although on occasion the location may vary to accommodate trustees who must travel from afar. Meetings are also sometimes convened by conference call to handle time-sensitive business.
Trustees should plan to be in attendance from noon on Thursday through noon on Saturday. The Board's committees each meet between four and ten times a year, depending on the nature of the work at hand. Meetings are typically an hour in length and participation is by conference call; committees also often meet in person in advance of the Board meeting. Trustees serve on two or three Board committees at any given time. (More information about committee work is provided below).
Trustees are expected to make every effort to attend Board meetings. At the present time, there are no provisions to participate by telephone or video conference. A Board Book is issued ten days in advance of meetings to allow to for review and preparation.
BOARD COMMITTEE WORK
The Board’s standing committees are:
- Academic Affairs
- Audit and Compliance
- Buildings, Grounds, and Environmental Sustainability
- Student Life
- Trusteeship and Governance
Trustees may also serve on ad hoc committees when needed (for example, search committees
and advisory groups).
In addition to trustees, elected members of the faculty, staff, and student bodies serve on most Board committees. Information about committee memberships and charters is available at https://www.hampshire.edu/offices/committees-of-the-board-of-trustees.
TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATIONS
Hampshire's practice with regard to trustee travel to and from meetings is to leave to the discretion of each individual plans about what is feasible and desirable given her or his circumstances. Some trustees pay their own way, some opt to claim a charitable tax deduction by submitting receipts for gift credit as a contribution to the College; others request reimbursement for their travel expenses.
Hampshire provides ground transportation, lodging, and meals for trustees once they are in the area.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please contact Beth Ward, Secretary of the College with any questions or for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-559-5521.
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