Wesleyan University is dedicated to providing an education in the liberal arts that is characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism. At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is the governing body of the University and responsible for ensuring that the University fulfills its mission, sustains its values, and appropriately balances its obligations to current and future generations. The Board establishes long-term strategic policy and direction, approves the University’s budget and major financial expenditures, program initiatives and construction projects, oversees the University’s financial affairs, stewards the University’s endowment and other capital resources, and appoints and supervises the President of the University.
The Board does not direct or participate in the day-to-day management or operations of the University. Primary responsibility for the academic program and managing and operating the University is delegated to the President, administration and faculty. Given the President’s responsibility to lead the University, one of the Board’s most important responsibilities is to work closely with the President for the good of the University.
The Board is composed of up to 33 trustees. Nine of the trustees are elected by the alumni to staggered three-year terms. The remaining trustees are elected by the Board to staggered six-year terms. The President is a member of the Board. The trustees are a diverse group of leaders in their respective fields, united by a deep affection and commitment to the institution.
The Board meets on campus four times per year in September, November, March and May. The Board’s meetings typically extend over three days.
Six student representatives and six faculty representatives actively participate in the work of the Board as voting members of all standing committees, except for the Audit, Executive, Governance and Investment committees. Those student and faculty representatives also attend all Board meetings (other than Executive Sessions), together with the President’s Cabinet, the president and vice president of the Wesleyan Student Assembly, and other select guests. Emeriti trustees are invited to participate in all Board meetings, but have no vote.
Trustees are expected to work for the University as a whole and not for specific constituencies or programs; share their talent, expertise, contacts and resources to advance the University’s development and programmatic priorities; serve as an ambassador for the University at events and functions; disclose any conflicts-of-interest; observe the confidentiality of the Board’s deliberations; refrain from purporting to speak on behalf of the University; adhere to the highest ethical standards; and make the University among their foremost philanthropic priorities.
Trustees typically serve just one term, though from time to time an individual who previously served as an alumni-elected trustee will be elected by the Board to a six-year term and occasionally Board-elected trustees are asked to serve a second six-year term. In making such decisions, the Board seeks to balance its desire to benefit from fresh perspectives (and to make the opportunity for Board service available to as many as possible), while retaining the benefits of institutional memory, insight and expertise.