(a) The board by rule shall establish a training program for members of the governing boards of institutions of higher education. Each member of a governing board of an institution of higher education shall attend, during the member's first year of service as a member of a governing board of an institution of higher education, at least one training program under this section. A member of a governing board who is required to attend a training program under this section may attend additional training programs under this section.
(a-1) The board's rules must require a governing board member who holds an appointive position to attend, as part of the training program, the intensive short orientation course developed under Section 61.0841 and any available training course sponsored or coordinated by the office of the governor with a curriculum designed for training newly appointed state officers, board members, or high-level executive officials. The rules must require the member to attend those courses the first time they are offered following the date the member takes the oath of office, regardless of whether that attendance is required under other law. The rules may provide a governing board member with additional time to attend those courses if the member for good cause is unable to attend the courses the first time they are offered. Subsection (g) does not apply to the courses required by this subsection.
(a-2) A member of the governing board of an institution of higher education who holds an appointive position and whose first year of service on the governing board begins on or after January 1, 2016, is prohibited from voting on a budgetary or personnel matter related to system administration or institutions of higher education until the member completes the intensive short orientation course described by Subsection (a-1).
b) The training program must include a seminar held annually in Austin to be conducted by the staff of the board. The staff of the board may obtain assistance from representatives of the office of the attorney general, the office of the comptroller of public accounts, the office of the state auditor, and the Texas Ethics Commission and from other training personnel the board deems necessary. The board by rule may prescribe an alternative training program for members of governing boards for whom attendance at a seminar held in Austin would be a hardship. The alternative training program need not be in the form of a seminar but must include substantially the same information included in the seminar held in Austin.
(c) The board by rule shall establish a registration fee to be paid by training program participants in an amount adequate to cover the costs incurred by the board and other state agencies in providing the training program. A participant shall pay from private funds the fee required by this subsection and the participant's costs of travel, including transportation, lodging, and meals. Neither the fee required by this subsection nor a participant's travel costs shall be reimbursed from appropriated funds, other than grants and donations of private funds available for that purpose.
(d) The content of the instruction at the training program shall focus on the official role and duties of the members of governing boards and shall provide training in the areas of budgeting, policy development, ethics, and governance. Topics covered by the training program must include:
(1) auditing procedures and recent audits of institutions of higher education;
(2) the enabling legislation that creates institutions of higher education;
(3) the role of the governing board at institutions of higher education and the relationship between the governing board and an institution's administration, faculty and staff, and students, including limitations on the authority of the governing board;
(4) the mission statements of institutions of higher education;
(5) disciplinary and investigative authority of the governing board;
(6) the requirements of the open meetings law, Chapter 551, Government Code, and the open records law, Chapter 552, Government Code;
(7) the requirements of conflict of interest laws and other laws relating to public officials;
(8) any applicable ethics policies adopted by institutions of higher education or the Texas Ethics Commission;
(9) the requirements of laws relating to the protection of student information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g) or any other federal or state law relating to the privacy of student information; and
(10) any other topic relating to higher education the board considers important.
(e) In addition to the content of the instruction at a training program required under Subsection (d), topics covered by the training program for members of a governing board of a public junior college district must include information about best practices in campus financial management, financial ratio analysis, and case studies using financial indicators.
(f) The minutes of the last regular meeting held by a governing board of a public junior college district during a calendar year must reflect whether each member of the governing board has completed any training required to be completed by the member under this section as of the meeting date.
(g) The board shall provide an equivalent training program by electronic means in the event a member of a governing board is unable to attend the training program required by this section. Completion of the training program by electronic means is deemed to satisfy the requirements of this section.
(h) The board is responsible for documenting governing board members' completion of the requirements provided by this section.
Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 621, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Renumbered from Education Code Sec. 61.083 and amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 59, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Renumbered from Education Code Sec. 61.083 by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 17.01(11), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 99, Sec. 1, eff. May 16, 1995.Amended by: Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 962 (H.B. 1206), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 834 (S.B. 24), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2016.
Sec. 61.0841. INTENSIVE SHORT COURSE FOR APPOINTED MEMBERS OF GOVERNING BOARDS.
(a) The board shall develop an intensive short orientation course for members of the governing boards of institutions of higher education who hold appointive positions. The orientation course must be offered as an online interactive course and may also be offered in the form of a written document or in a one-on-one or group setting.
(b) The instruction in the orientation course must include:
(1) best practices relating to excellence, transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the governing structure and organization of general academic teaching institutions and university systems;
(2) best practices relating to the manner in which governing boards and administrators of general academic teaching institutions and university systems develop and implement major policy decisions, including the need for impartiality and adequate internal review in their processes;
(3) matters relating to excellence, transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the governance and administration of general academic teaching institutions and university systems; and
(4) ethics, conflicts of interests, and the proper role of a board member in the governing structure of general academic teaching institutions and university systems.
Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 834 (S.B. 24), Sec. 2, eff. January 1, 2016.