About CASE
Board Responsibilities

Policies and Principles for the Recruitment, Orientation, Performance Assessment and Reappointment of Members of the CASE Board of Trustees

CASE invites individuals who are considering, or being considered, for board service to view trusteeship as both a professional honor and a significant responsibility. The following information provides a framework for the recruitment, orientation, performance assessment and reappointment of CASE trustees. It clarifies expectations for current and prospective trustees and provides guidelines for effective volunteer engagement with the organization. This statement of policies and principles will be provided to those being asked to consider board service, reviewed as part of the orientation for new trustees, and included in the handbook provided to all trustees.

Guiding Principles for Members of the Board of Trustees
  • We come to our volunteer service from many diverse backgrounds, experiences and member institutions. This diversity is one of CASE's enormous strengths, but it is our responsibility to place the best interests of the organization as a whole in the forefront of our decision-making.
  • We respect the views of others and encourage differences of opinion. As active listeners and participants in the board's work, we seek to maintain our good humor to reach consensus on sometimes complex issues. Having complete unanimity on all topics is neither a virtue nor a necessary goal in our deliberations.
  • We understand that what we say and do affects the integrity and reputation of the professional organization we serve.  We know that our very best judgment is required in committee and board work at all times to ensure CASE's long-term health and development.
  • We understand and respect the difference between management and governance. Accordingly, we hold with others the assets and well-being of CASE in trust on behalf of its members and education as a whole.  We help to focus the board's work primarily on setting and monitoring the long-term strategic direction of the organization. We ask good, timely questions and urge that our agendas focus on high-level policy matters rather than on operational details. 

Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees 
  • Approve and monitor policies affecting such areas as CASE's tangible and intangible assets, organizational structure, staffing and human resources practices, strategic direction, major program and service priorities, and reputation.
  • Support, assess the performance of, and review the terms of employment and compensation of the CASE president to ensure that he or she manages and leads the organization effectively.
  • Approve CASE's annual budget and authorize substantial expenditures not included in the annual budget.
  • Ensure that CASE's financial and other assets are invested, audited, monitored and protected on behalf of its members in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations as well as generally accepted accounting and auditing practices.
  • Set annual membership dues and other institutional and individual assessments as may be necessary.
  • Ensure that CASE's revenue sources are adequate to support its mission and purposes, and that the organization's income comes from diverse sources.
  • Ensure that organizational planning is conducted by management periodically with board participation, priorities from the plan are adopted, and progress on goals is monitored.
  • Ensure that the board governs rather than manages.
  • Help communicate and interpret CASE policies to members and others, and communicate member views to the board and professional staff.
  • Nominate and approve outstanding individuals to fill vacancies on the Board of Trustees, commissions, and other decision-making bodies consistent with organizational policies and procedures.
  • Assess board performance regularly, as well as the performance of individual trustees eligible for nomination and election to new terms. 

Responsibilities of Individual Trustees

General Expectations

  • Understand CASE's mission, traditions and values—a sense of its history and evolution.
  • Understand the responsibilities of the Board of Trustees as a corporate, fiduciary body.
  • Understand how your responsibilities as an individual trustee complement, but differ from those of the board.
  • Become familiar with all aspects of CASE's revenue and expense structure, staff organization and leadership, member activities, strategic goals, membership and core policies and practices.
  • Strive to keep abreast of key trends, issues and developments in education and advancement that may affect CASE's mission, work, policies, practices and strategic priorities.
  • Serve with distinction and selflessness that brings credit to the organization at all times.  (Remember that things said in professional circles can be easily misinterpreted by others to be the board's position on various matters. Only the board chair and president are designated to speak on behalf of CASE.)
  • Place CASE's policies, strategic priorities and needs ahead of personal interests and those of other organizations with which you are affiliated.
  • Maintain confidentiality on matters that might affect CASE's integrity and standing or the privacy rights of individuals.
  • Refrain from directing or managing staff. The president reports and is responsible to the board. The staff reports and is responsible to the president.
  • Avoid asking staff members for special favors of a personal nature unless requests for help bear on your trustee responsibilities or board service.
  • Be alert to advancement professionals who can contribute substantially to CASE's mission, to the board's work, or to the organization in other ways and call them to the attention of appropriate individuals.
  • Welcome opportunities to assess your individual performance as a trustee and seek regular feedback from board colleagues.

Board and Committee Work

  • Attend all board and committee meetings barring significant schedule conflicts.  Three consecutive absences from the board business meeting constitute de facto resignation from the board.
  • Prepare for and actively participate in all meetings.
  • Respect and acknowledge divergent opinions; be an active listener and know when it is time to lead and time to follow.
  • Provide regular feedback to CASE professional staff and board officers on the effectiveness of board meetings. Suggest possible topics and issues for meeting agendas periodically.
  • Accept invitations to serve on board committees and to undertake special assignments to the extent hat your time and employer permits.

External Relations

  • Promote CASE to members and the general public at every opportunity.
  • Interpret and communicate CASE policies and board decisions to the membership and other interested parties when necessary or possible.
  • Communicate and interpret members' views, ideas or concerns to board and staff leaders.

Fiduciary Role

  • Be familiar with CASE's financial structure and budget. Seek opportunities to grow revenues and minimize expenses to support member needs, programs, and services as part of your fiduciary responsibility as a board member.
  • Conscientiously help the board make decisions about the effective use of resources, including diligently following CASE's travel reimbursement policies and practices.  Set a good personal example by having your own institution cover all or some of your board meeting travel expenses when possible and appropriate. 
  • Be alert to opportunities to help staff identify, evaluate and secure corporate, foundation or individual gifts and grants for special projects and needs—provided that this activity does not conflict with your institutional responsibilities.  
  • Provide personal philanthropic support to CASE as individual circumstances permit.  Given CASE's mission and purposes, it is important that trustees lead by example.  

Ethics and Accountability

  • Adhere to and actively promote CASE's statement of ethics and principles of good practice.
  • Conscientiously adhere to CASE's conflict of interest and disclosure policy.  

Process for Assessing Trustee and Board Performance

To enhance individual trustee involvement, to inform decisions about reappointments to the board, and to strengthen the effectiveness of the board as a whole, trustee and board performance will be assessed in the following manner: 

  1. Following the board meeting in July of each year, the chair of the leadership committee will email all continuing trustees asking them to review and reflect upon the principles of trusteeship outlined in this document. The email will also ask those trustees to complete a simple response form reaffirming their commitment to these principles and offering any feedback regarding their service on the board.
  2. Following the November board meeting during a trustee's third year of a full term, the chair of the leadership committee will send that trustee a self-assessment form. The form asks the trustee to assess his or her service on the board in relation to the expectations set forth in Section III of this document and to indicate interest in being considered for reappointment to the board. The completed form will be reviewed by the leadership committee to help inform its decisions regarding reappointments of trustees to second terms in accordance with the process and criteria indicated in Section V.
  3. With regard to the performance of the Board of Trustees as a corporate body, the board will undertake a process of comprehensive self-study of its performance approximately every three or four years, ordinarily with the help of a qualified third-party facilitator/consultant. In addition, all trustees will be invited to complete and return a form sent to them after each board meeting to help the board's leaders and staff improve the agendas of future board and committee meetings. 

Process for Reappointment of Trustees

Individuals are elected to the CASE board for three-year terms. Although eligible to serve for a maximum of two full three-year terms, nomination to a second term is not the norm. Rather, it is a privilege reserved for a limited number of trustees so that other CASE members may be given opportunities to serve on the board and to ensure that the board's make-up supports the organization's strategic needs and priorities at any given time.

Decisions to nominate trustees for a second term rest with the leadership committee, in accordance with the following procedures:

  • In any given year, no more than 50 percent of trustees eligible for a second term will be included on the slate of trustees for election by the membership.
  • Trustees who were appointed to fulfill unexpired terms ordinarily will be given favorable consideration for nomination to a full term and will not be counted toward the 50 percent limitation.
  • The primary considerations for selecting those to be nominated for a second term include: fulfillment of stated responsibilities for individual trustees and responses to the self-assessment, as well as individual skills, abilities, professional positions and affiliations of strategic importance to the organization. 

This decision places enormous responsibility on the leadership committee to make very difficult but necessary decisions regarding who should and should not be nominated for a second term in any given year. Such difficult decisions should be made carefully and thoughtfully and only in the context of what is deemed to be strategically best for CASE and the board.

All trustees are asked, therefore, to accept the spirit of these protocols at the beginning of their privileged, important, and appreciated board service. The Board of Trustees believes this process will help enrich, sustain and advance CASE's mission and service to members while at the same time establishing a common set of expectations for all current and prospective CASE trustees.