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Updated 10:00 AM June 21, 2004



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McGowan board chair; regent bylaw change
determines leadership by seniority

Rebecca McGowan will serve as the next chair of the Board of Regents. Under new guidelines approved by the board June 17, her term will be for one year beginning July 1. Regent Andrea Fischer Newman will serve as vice chair.

"We are very fortunate to have her [McGowan] as chair," outgoing chair Laurence Deitch said when introducing changes to the bylaw on the board's governance structure. "She is completely dedicated to the University's excellence."

The revised bylaw approved by regents says the chair and vice chair will be appointed to one-year terms based on seniority, and the vice chair automatically succeeds to the position of chair after a term as vice chair. Previously leaders for those positions were elected by a majority of the board for two-year terms.

If two or more board members have equal seniority, the chair and vice chair will be chosen through a random selection process.

A board member who has served as chair or vice chair is ineligible to serve again in those capacities until all other members of the board have served or forfeited the opportunity. If a member decides not to serve in either capacity, he or she forfeits and must wait until all other members of the board have had an opportunity or have declined to serve.

Primary duties of the chair also have been clarified to include: setting the annual schedule of meetings, agenda and major topics for presentation or study by the board; monitoring committee agenda planning for coordination and comprehensiveness; acting as spokesperson and convener of the board when appropriate; presiding over executive session when held without the president of the University; and appointing the chair and members of the ad hoc and standing committees.

As before, if the president is unable to attend a public meeting or is out of the room during any part of the meeting, the chair will preside over the meeting. If the chair is unable to perform his or her duties temporarily, the vice chair will assume them.

The board first changed its bylaws two and a half years ago to provide for the election of a chair and vice chair, two standing committees and the opportunity for other special committees as needed.

The Finance, Audit and Investment Committee focuses on the University's internal controls and financial reporting, and investment policies and practices. The Compensation and Personnel Committee assists the board in evaluating the performance of and determining the appropriate compensation level for the president, and advises the president on performance and compensation decisions for executive officers.

At the June meeting, regents thanked Deitch and praised his two-and-a-half-year service as the board's first chair. Although he is the regent with the highest seniority—only slightly more than McGowan, as both began to serve in 1992—Deitch said he would not seek another term as chair. Fischer Newman has the third-highest seniority and will continue in the vice chair role she has held since 2002.

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