GPP.04 EMU Trustee Orientation Policy

EMU Board of Trustees

Trustee Orientation Policy

EMU's Trustee Orientation is designed to ease the transition of new members onto the board, introduce new trustees to Eastern Mennonite University, their board responsibilities, and the changing context of higher education, and ensure effective board and individual performance.

New trustees will complete a Trustee Orientation program in June, prior to beginning their terms on July 1. New trustees will complete Year One Orientation activities during the first year of their term.

Current trustees are encouraged to actively engage with new trustees in transitioning to the board and committee assignments.

The Trustee Committee, as a subcommittee of the Executive Committee of EMU's board, has responsibility to periodically review and update the Trustee orientation program.


Onboarding activities of new trustees include:

  • Receive a briefing packet of critical governance information: EMU Trustee Handbook, bylaws, board meeting agendas and minutes from the past year, last audit / financial statement, strategic plan, organizational information (e.g., board roster, committees, administrative organization), executive summary of most recent accreditation report
  • Gain access to EMU's Board portal (Moodle)
  • Confirm Board Committee assignments
  • Receive assigned mentor
  • Sign Conflict of Interest policy
  • Complete personal data sheet and provide professional photo
  • Observe June Board meeting (optional)

Year One Orientation 

Orientation activities for new trustees include:

  • Participate in one-day EMU Trustee Orientation program in June
    • EMU Board responsibilities, expectations and policies
    • Overview of EMU's mission, strategic plan, academic programs, services, and finances
    • Meet Cabinet members and other leadership staff
    • Campus tour
  • Meet with EMU's President, Board Chair, and Assigned Committee Chairs
  • Participate in ongoing board education, including cultural competence training
  • Connect with mentor before, during, and / or following board meetings
  • Participate in select EMU activities (e.g., alumni/donor events, Homecoming Weekend, Commencement)
  • Review selected readings on EMU and higher education governance:
    • Eastern Mennonite University: A Century of Cross-Cultural Education (Kraybill, 2017)
    • Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards (Chait, Ryan & Taylor, 2005) See CFAR Summary (book is no longer in print).
    • Association of Governing Boards Statements: An Anatomy of Good Board Governance in Higher Education (2018); Governing Board Accountability for Campus Climate, Inclusion and Civility (2016); The Fiduciary Duties of Governing Board Members (2015); Consequential Boards: Adding Value Where It Matters Most (2014); External Influences on Universities and Colleges (2012).
    • Optional, for trustees to purchase: Practical Wisdom: Thinking differently About College and University Governance (Eckel & Trower, 2018).

Approved: Board of Trustees, June 2017

Updated: Trustee Committee of Board of Trustees, March 2020