Board of Trustees

Penn State trustees look at skill sets needed for members

According to trustee and faculty member David Han, health care, higher education and communications are all “areas the board sees a need for representation.”
According to trustee and faculty member David Han, health care, higher education and communications are all “areas the board sees a need for representation.” Photo provided, file

Wanted: someone with expertise in higher education, health care, public relations and/or communications and just maybe the tech field. Lawyers and financiers need not apply.

A new report is showing in just what areas Penn State’s trustees could use more representation.

While diversity in the students, faculty and board has been a watch word for a while, the report discussed at the governance and long range planning committee meeting shows a different kind of diversity need. The board members, it seems, need to mix up their skill sets.

According to trustee and faculty member David Han, health care, higher education and communications are all “areas the board sees a need for representation.”

Business and legal? Not so much. More than two-thirds of the board sports credentials like a law degree or a slot as the CEO of a company. By contrast, only Han, President Eric Barron (who is a non-voting members) and Alice Pope come foremost from academia. Han, a doctor who teaches at Penn State Hershey, and Pope, a licensed clinical psychologist, are the only members with up-front expertise in health care.

Trustee Barbara Doran applauded the report as a tool, a kind of shopping list for potential new members.

“There is always turnover, always a need for a new skill set mix,” she said.

The next step is to get the needs in front of the different groups that elect or appoint trustees, not the least of which is the governor of Pennsylvania.

One question, though, is how to get it to the alumni? They are in the midst of nominations for this year’s election of three trustees. The possibility of placing ads was floated but raised a new issue.

“As long as that would not be perceived as influencing the election,” committee chair Betsy Huber said.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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