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Consultant says Marshall board solid, committed

HUNTINGTON (AP) — Marshall University’s Board of Governors is a solid group that compares favorably with other university boards across the country, said a consultant hired by the board to conduct a self-evaluation.

James Lanier, a consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, met with the board on Monday. Most of the meeting was in executive session, The Herald-Dispatch reported.

“My overall assessment of the board was they were a very solid group of individuals,” Lanier said. “They are very committed to the institution, and they are doing the right things.”

A key focus for Marshall’s board, along with boards across the country, is establishing rules of engagement during meetings, he said.

“One would think everyone knows what is expected of everybody,” Lanier said. “We find there are nuances in each board, and having those rules in writing makes sure the expectations are clear. We are encouraging them to write down their rules of engagement — how they interact with the university president, how they engage with each other, those kinds of things.”

Lanier said his overall goal was to look at how the board matches up with best practice standards throughout the country.

“This is all about where do we want to be as we look into the future in terms of how the board operates and how the board functions,” Marshall President Stephen Kopp said. “What are some of those attributes that differentiate a so-so board from a high performing board, and how do we incorporate that into our culture so these become the habits of what board members do and what the president does in terms of our interaction and our relationship? If you look at the role of the president and the board, it truly is a partnership, and we all need to be working on the same agendas in partnership.”

Board Vice Chairman Ed Howard said the evaluation revealed new ways for the board to function, including establishing a governance committee and keeping its priorities in check.

The board also had hired the association to complete a state-mandated evaluation of Kopp.

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