Board Development Practices on Public Versus Nonprofit School Boards: Is There a Difference?

October 30, 2017 – 5:00-6:00pm
UW-Milwaukee Alumni House


Doug Ihrke, Professor, Public and Nonprofit Administration &
Executive Director, Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management

Michael R. Ford, Asst. Professor, University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

Governing boards are a critical asset for every public and nonprofit organization. Scholars have found that effective boards are associated with organizations that tend to perform better than those with ineffective boards, in the public and nonprofit sectors. The attention these boards receive because of their crucial missions demands the need for high-quality training and development activities to give them the best chance at high performance. In this study, we examined the extent to which school boards in Minnesota—both traditional public and nonprofit charter—engage in developmental activities, and we looked at differences between these board types in how they prioritize board development activities. Our findings indicate a number of significant differences between public and nonprofit boards in terms of the extent to which they engage in board development activities, the reasons for engaging in those development activities, and how these boards prioritize development activities.