Tuesday, January 22, 2008

William and Mary's Boards of Visitors

The College of William and Mary might have its governing board reorganized along the lines of Dartmouth's. The board has seventeen members, twelve of whom are alumni. Currently, the governor appoints all seventeen members. The proposed legislation would allow alumni to elect a majority of the Board. The legislator who drafted the bill said it was based on Dartmouth's Board of Trustees. Read the article here.

UPDATE: Malchow opines:

What more prudent body is there, really, than the alumni? They are educated, world-wise, and properly interested: their dollars and their children both go to the institution, yet their own prosperity is not predicated upon college policy. This makes the alumni interested but, unlike faculty and administrators, purely interested.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everything's backward in Virginia. While some Dartmouth alumni are asking for an increase in state control over a private institution, the Virginia bill would reduce state control over a state institution.

W&M was established in 1888 as a training school for white male teachers. Its state charter mentions a colonial charter of an earlier iteration of the school (that one died in 1881) but the operative charter is the state charter, and state statutes regularly direct the school's operation. The statutes currently say that the W&M alumni association (not the alumni in general -- many or most alumni are not members of the association) is to give the governor three names for each visitor opening, and the governor is not required to appoint any of them.

The bill would let alumni themselves directly elect some of the visitors, so it's not as similar to Dartmouth's nomination system as the supporter suggests.

W&M is not owned by its visitors, as Dartmouth is; it's owned by the people of the Commonwealth, and they probably won't give alumni any more influence than they already have.

Among the many other reasons the bill will never pass is the fact that it would be unfair to all the other state schools in Virginia that aren't allowed to have alumni-elected visitors.

Anonymous said...

What in the world is Malchow talking about? The only thing alumni have in common is some interest in the maintenance of the value of their degrees insofar as it relates to the school's current reputation. Most actually don't send kids to the alma mater.

The best people to select the board for a state school are the people whom state law requires to do it. The best people to select the board for a private school are the owners.

Anonymous said...

First, Anon above reveals much about his/her own character, by stating the value of a degree is based upon the school's current reputation. A very narrow and mercenary definition of "value". What about the value due to the education it provided?!?

Second, there is more value in trustees elected by alumni than in trustees who are alumni. Alumni do have an interest, but more than any other group, it is one of altruism regarding education without conflict for personal gain. That plus their experience based upon the education they received places them in a unique position to evaluate the institution and elect its directors.

anon. said...

"Anon above reveals much about his/her own character, by stating the value of a degree is based upon the school's current reputation."

But isn't that a conventional understanding of the market value of a degree? Nobody cares whether you got a great education from your night correspondence course if the general conclusion is that the degree adds less to your salary than one from Harvard would.

"Alumni do have an interest, but more than any other group, it is one of altruism regarding education without conflict for personal gain."

But alumni do have something to gain from enhancing the reputation of their alma mater. Its standing reflects on them. And the biggest philanthropists are not typically alumni anyway -- look at Reed, Baker, the Hop, and others.

Joe seems to have set us off on an irrelevant tangent. It does not matter what group would be best placed to elect trustees if the institutions already have legal requirements we can't change, such as gubernatorial appointment (William and Mary) or election by the Board (Dartmouth).

Anonymous said...

Let the retarded debate begin anew...

Anonymous said...

Financial market value and reputational prestige...

We have some perhaps-pragmatic, but very very shallow, people among us.

Anonymous said...

Frank Gado may be an ignorant egotist, but he's not retarded.

Anonymous said...

Huh?

Anonymous said...

"Let the retarded debate begin anew..."

But the alumnus who is suing the college (and the five who agreed to go along with him) are not retarded. It is insulting to call them retarded. They are uninformed, malicious, unethical, and misleading, but they are not retarded. Joe, on the other hand, seems to be only willfully uninformed and misleading. But again, not retarded.