It’s no exaggeration to say that the past year has been one of many higher education challenges. New cases of COVID-19 have continued to emerge on college campuses. A New York Times survey reported more than 397,000 cases at 1,900 colleges and universities since the pandemic began. The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff has rightfully become a top priority.
Many college boards and staff have also had to deal with fundamental institutional challenges, including misplaced focus and prioritization and a lack of clarity around distinct roles and responsibilities.
Amid all this upheaval and change, higher education leaders have embraced virtual collaboration technologies (board portals, web conferencing apps, etc.) to bring together people who are working remotely. But technology answers only part of the problem. The real opportunity is not merely to go virtual, but to leverage technology to increase your board’s effectiveness and foster a governance model that is nimbler and more effective than ever.
Technology provides a solution during a pandemic
Let’s be clear: technology has played a vital role in higher education from the very start of the pandemic. When the first quarantine orders went into effect, technology helped usher in an overnight shift to virtual board and committee meetings. Leaders quickly discovered that web conferencing apps like Zoom were great tools for gathering a group of people together quickly. However, they did not help seamlessly and securely maintain continuity of governance.