Q. What are the major responsibilities of the board of trustees?

A. The Ithaca College Board of Trustees serve as the ultimate fiduciaries in their oversight of institutional affairs in accord with the college's charter, the board's by-laws, New York State law, and the college's mission and vision. In serving this critical capacity, the board of trustees has a broad set of responsibilities, including but not limited to:

  • Determining and reviewing the college's mission and vision
  • Hiring the president, setting his/her compensation package, and assessing his/her performance
  • Reviewing and approving any proposed changes in academic programs and other major initiatives
  • Approving policies related to faculty appointment, promotion, and tenure
  • Approving the annual budget, including tuition and fees, and monitoring the college's financial operations and endowment
  • Making a personal philanthropic commitment to Ithaca College

Q. What does Ithaca College expect from its trustees?

A. Individual members are expected to have a deep and abiding commitment to the college's values and traditions as articulated in its mission to be the standard of excellence for a residential comprehensive college. In their words and deeds, trustees dedicate themselves to upholding and strengthening the college's tradition of fostering intellect, creativity, and character in an active, student-centered community.

Among the responsibilities trustees accept is to safeguard and help grow the college's assets through prudent financial management and personal philanthropy, and to serve as leaders of the campus community. Trustees must balance the responsibility of providing for accountability with overarching advocacy for the needs of the current and long-term stability and growth of the college. Please refer to the "Statement of Trustee Responsibilities and Code of Conduct" for more details.

file-outline Statement of Trustee Responsibilities and Code of Conduct - Statement of Trustee Responsibilities and Code of Conduct (July 2023).pdf (178.13 KB)

Q. How are trustees selected?

A. The board's Governance & Compensation/Assessment Committee is responsible for developing and recommending a slate of candidates for election or reelection. Trustees are selected through a process that ensures that the most qualified, experienced, and committed candidates, representing a diverse set of backgrounds, are chosen for the position. The Committee is charged with seeking, qualifying, and recommending members who:

  • Have a personal interest in the college
  • Possess the necessary qualifications needed to strengthen the board
  • Have a sound character and strong intellectual ability
  • Demonstrate a willingness to devote adequate time and effort to the office
  • Display tact and natural aptitude in working with others
  • Have an aggressive spirit founded on determination to work for the promotion and development of the college

Q. Who are the alumni/faculty/staff/student trustees? How are they chosen?

A. According to the bylaws, the board includes one alumni, one faculty member, one member of the student body, and one staff member. Alumni, faculty, and staff trustees serve a term of up to four years; student trustees may serve up to two years.

These trustees are selected through a process, beginning with the relevant governance body — the Ithaca College Alumni Association Board of Directors, Faculty Council, Student Governance Council, or Staff Council — which recommends three individuals each to the Governance & Compensation/Assessment Committee. From that list, the Committee then nominates to the full board the best person(s) suited for membership. The alumni, faculty, student, and staff trustees are nominated to represent the entire community and college as a whole, not to directly represent their particular constituency.

Q. Are Ithaca College trustees compensated for their service?

A: No. Trustees accept their role as a form of volunteer service to Ithaca College. They do not receive a salary, nor are they reimbursed for travel expenses related to college business. The only exception to this is for the student, faculty, and staff trustee. All trustees are expected to take part in meetings and other board events, and in order to ensure full participation of the campus trustees regardless of their financial means, the college pays for their travel when meetings are held off campus so they can fulfil their duties. This allows the board to have the most inclusive possible pool of potential campus trustees that does not need to take into account an ability to pay travel expenses.

Q. How many trustees are there?

A. According to the bylaws, there may be no fewer than 12 and no more than 35 trustees on the board at any one time. As of August 2021, there are 28 trustees, not including the college's president. There are also three chairs emeriti and five honorary trustees, who may participate in board activities but do not have voting rights.

Q. What does it mean that the president of the college is an ex officio member?

A. The college's president serves as an ex officio member. (The phrase "ex officio" is a Latin term meaning "from the office"; in other words, an ex officio member is one who is chosen by virtue of holding another office.) The president is considered an active member of the board with power to vote, except on matters pertaining to tenure decisions and the president's salary.

Q. Can a trustee also be a senior member of campus leadership?

A. Only the president serves as an ex officio member. Other officers of the college do not serve as members of the board.

Q. What are the committees on the board of trustees?

A. The board has the power to establish such standing and ad hoc committees as it deems appropriate, and each board member is expected to serve on at least two committees. Follow this link to see a list of committees and their members. The board chair and vice chair serve as ex officio members of all standing committees; the president serves in an ex officio capacity on all committees with the exception of the Audit Committee and the Governance & Compensation/Assessment Committee, where the president does not sit on the committee as a member. Non-trustees who have a particular skill or expertise may be invited to assist a standing committee, but do not have voting power.

Q. What is an honorary trustee?

A. At Ithaca College, trustees who have completed a regular term of membership are eligible for consideration for honorary board membership, which entitles them all the rights and privileges that regular trustees have, with the exception of the right to vote. Honorary trusteeship is granted to those who had demonstrated a distinguished record of service; honorary trustees often attend board meetings and serve on committees or participate in special projects as needed.

Q. What is a chair emeritus?

A. Any former living board chair may be elected as chair emeritus, which is a lifetime appointment. The board elects those who have made distinguished contributions to the life of the college and displayed exemplary leadership and service during their time as board chair. Like honorary trustees, chairs emeriti have all the privileges and rights of regular trustees except they may not vote on board matters.

Q. What is the length of a trustee's term?

A. A trustee is elected for an initial term of four years, and may be reelected for up to two additional three-year terms. Following completion of his or her first three terms, that member has to rotate off the board for at least one year; after that, he or she may be re-elected for up to three additional three-year terms.

Q. How can I learn more about the Ithaca College Board of Trustees?