Little empirical research is available on the characteristics and practices of boards of trustees of organizations and institutions. The existing literature is mostly prescriptive, and much of it focuses on higher education or corporate boards. While many independent and religious secondary schools have boards of trustees, there is little scholarship for such boards. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to determine if Jesuit high school trustees perceive that their boards conform to aspects of board process that have been described as effective in the research literature. In addition, the study attempted to determine whether these measures of board process were related to institutional performance.
Thirty-four U.S. Jesuit high schools comprised the sample for the study. Data on board process were gathered by means of a survey consisting of items originally designed to measure six board characteristics for the trustees of higher education institutions and nonprofits, as developed by Richard Chait and his colleagues. Institutional performance was measured with ten performance indicators; data on these were collected via a questionnaire that was completed by administrators from the high schools.
Reliability of the board process survey was assessed using Cronbach's alpha, and the results were compared to reliability statistics presented by Douglas Jackson and Thomas Holland, who had administered the same survey to members of 300 nonprofit boards. The survey was as reliable or more reliable for Jesuit boards as for the nonprofits Jackson and Holland surveyed, suggesting that the board process characteristics, intended originally for higher education and nonprofit trustees, are also applicable for the Jesuit high school boards researched.
Although it was hypothesized that positive aspects of board process would be correlated with school performance, the analyses resulted in no statistically significant relationships between the survey scores and the performance indicators.
While board process characteristics did not correlate with institutional performance indicators, the qualities and behaviors represented by the survey items may be useful to trustees as they reflect upon and seek to improve governance of the institutions they serve.
|School:||Teachers College, Columbia University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration|
|Keywords:||Boards of trustees, Effectiveness, Governance, Institutional performance, Jesuit education, Performance, Trustees|
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