Board Standing Committee Charters

Definition from: Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB)

A well-operating governing board's work is grounded in the work of its standing committees, the number of which varies by institution size and type. The average number of board committees ranges from five standing committees at public colleges and universities to eight standing committees at independent institutions.  Each committee is responsible for debating issues in its area of expertise and recommending decisions and actions to the full board.

A college or university's bylaws often define the board's committee structure, with many institutions including committee charges and other committee details in bylaw clauses.  However, mention in the bylaws does not formally establish a board committee; that is accomplished through a separate board-approved committee charter that outlines the committee's mission, composition, responsibilities, and procedures for conducting its business. 

Elements of a Committee Charter

An ideal board committee charter should include:

  1. The committee's charge or mission statement. This statement should define the committee's purpose, primary goals, and objectives.
  2. Authority and responsibilities of the committee.  This should clarify how members will work together to fulfill the goals and objectives of the committee as a whole.
  3. Board composition, including guidelines for appointing committee members, the committee chair, and the committee officers. This should address any professional staff relationships, for example, if the chief financial officer and a designee will be staff to the finance committee.
  4. When and how committee meetings will be held, how the meeting agendas will be handled, and how meeting minutes will be drafted, reviewed, and approved. This should include a quorum requirement for meetings.

EMU Board of Trustees Committee Charters