Great boards recognize the difference that David Leslie has pointed out between a good governance structure (which properly gives them the ultimate authority over all aspects of the college) and good governing (in which boards defer some of that decision-making to internal groups or individuals that have far more expertise than they). Boards need an information-driven governing process that operates within a culture of collaboration — among themselves, with the president, and with the faculty. Making decisions too quickly or in isolation often erodes core institutional values.
President Obama was elected, at least to some extent, because he called for an end to partisan politics. He’s not quite running on that principle anymore, because experience taught him that the Republican opposition is less interested in making government work and more interested in defeating the first Black President, no matter what the apparent cost to the country, or, indeed, to common sense itself.
Ms. Bottomly, who’s president of Wellesley College, has a very Republican idea of compromise that seems typical of the academic administrator’s brand of bipartisanship. The board of directors, dominated by members “heavy with business experience,” she tells us, should “retain ultimate authority over all aspects of the college” but should also promise, to “defer some of that decision-making to internal groups.” Is that balance and collaboration?
Republican policies destroyed the U.S. economy, as well as many economies around the world, and as long as they keep advocating these policies they should fought off or ignored. The business people on the boards have likewise undermined or even destroyed the foundations of U.S. education, making full-time jobs more and more rare and college so expensive as to be nearly inaccessible. Compromise? I say we kick the bums out.