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NAECP Performs a Self-assessment

Prior to the NAECP’s Fall 2015 Conference in Austin, Texas, the Board of Directors undertook an extensive self-assessment. The three-part assessment facilitated feedback from each of our directors and was designed to identify opportunities for continuous improvement. Through the assessment, the Board learned about its strengths and weaknesses and gained valuable insight regarding ways to become more effective and efficient.

The self-assessment focused on six core areas: Mission, Vision, and Goals; Board Membership; Governance; Board Meetings, Committees, and Professional Staff. Each focus area included a range of questions targeted to identify specific opportunities to improve. In addition, Directors were asked to identify areas for individual improvement. Responses were aggregated and analyzed, and the Board was presented with findings and recommendations.

Among the findings reviewed by the Board were several KEY STRENGTHS. Strengths identified by the assessment included: (1) Directors are committed to the NAECP’s mission and vision and effectively disseminate that mission and vision through website and conference material; (2) Board membership is diverse, expert, and collaborative; (3) Directors understand their fiduciary duties and conduct themselves ethically and appropriately in managing NAECP activities and finances; (4) Board meetings are effective, sufficiently noticed, and well attended; and (5) committees and professional staff are used to drive NAECP activities.

While these strengths are important to note, our focus throughout the self-assessment was on weaknesses and areas to improve. WEAKNESSES IDENTIFIED by the Board, include: (1) Directors are extremely busy and occasionally cannot contribute as much time to the Board as needed; (2) committees are not effectively used to drive Board agenda and committee goals are not consistently tracked; (3) committee agendas and structures are largely informal, resulting in inconsistency; (4) too little time is devoted to strategic planning and “forward-looking” initiatives; (5) Board leadership and individual Directors do not receive performance evaluations; and (6) Professional Staff is not sufficient to accomplish the goals of a growing NAECP membership.

Based on the findings and recommendations made to the Board, we have INITIATED a number of short, medium and long range actions to address our weaknesses and improve upon our strengths. While too extensive to list all, several key initiatives are worth noting. First, the Board plans to undertake actions to expand committee membership to NAECP members. This will not only help the NAECP better drive it’s mission and goals, but also will allow non-Board members additional opportunities to contribute. Second, we are undertaking several initiatives to improve committee effectiveness, including: all committees will adopt formal Charters that outline membership and mission and vision; committees will draft short, medium and long term goals for review and approval by the full-Board; committee goals and action items will be published to the Board portal on the NAECP website and the Board will regularly track performance; and a portion of every Board meeting will focus on committee assignments and performance. Third, the Board will make changes to its meeting format that facilitate conversation, formalize votes on key decisions, and provide time and focus for strategic, “forward-thinking” discussions. Fourth, we have initiated a new Board-member orientation process that provides educational packets and mentoring. Last, the Board will undertake a review of how best to perform annual reviews of Board leadership as well as conduct a survey of NAECP members regarding NAECP performance.

Over the next several months, we will work to implement these and other improvements. We look forward to periodically updating you as to our progress.

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