The CDT recently ran an editorial from another newspaper questioning board governance of PSU. We’d like to set the record straight.
The Penn State board of trustees devoted well over a year on a series of reforms, working with a nationally recognized governance expert, conducted benchmarking, and deliberated on various changes to our governance structure. The board overwhelmingly approved a new structure that will make Penn State better.
We know this because the university recently received an Aa2 rating from Moody’s Investor Services with a positive outlook, citing Penn State’s strengthened governance, management practices and risk management procedures. The report follows a similarly strong AA rating by Standard & Poor’s, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education found Penn State met all 10 of its accreditation requirements.
Since 2011, the board has expanded its committees and opened those meetings to the community. We added permanent seats for the Penn State Alumni Association, a faculty member and a member of the student body. With a 10th seat on the board devoted to alumni, no university in Pennsylvania or the Big Ten provides its alumni with more direct input into its governance.
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We now have a board structure in place that includes constituencies from business and industry, agriculture, and government. The creation of additional at-large positions ensures the board can identify and recruit candidates with skillsets that may not necessarily fit into traditional constituencies. Perhaps most important, this healthy makeup ensures no single group can control the agenda and requires real consensus building to reach a majority.
The writer is the chairman of the Penn State board of trustees.