Trustee Position Description


Thank you for your interest in the Board of Trustees of the University System of New Hampshire. Service on the Board of a higher educational organization in these times of rapid change and shifting, and sometimes conflicting, expectations, requires commitment, dedication, and diligence. But few things are more rewarding than participating in and witnessing the growth and success of our programs and services, their impact on New Hampshire, New England, and beyond, and the many partnerships that contribute to these developments. The Trustees, together with the leadership and communities of the four institutions that comprise the University System, take pride in what they do collectively and together celebrate the value that education and service bring to our lives.


Legislative Charter (RSA 187-A):

“The university system of New Hampshire is established and made a body politic and corporate, the main purpose of which shall be to provide a well coordinated system of public higher education offering liberal undergraduate education encompassing the major branches of learning, emphasizing our cultural heritage, and cultivating the skills of reasoning and communication. The university system shall provide for professional and technical 2-year, 4-year and graduate programs which shall serve the needs of the state and the nation; for research which contributes to the welfare of mankind, to the development of faculty, and to the educational experience of students and for its faculty and staff to bring educational resources and professional experience to the benefit of the state and its people. The university system of New Hampshire is authorized to grant and confer in the name of the university system of New Hampshire all such degrees, literary titles, honors and distinctions as other universities may of right to do.” (RSA 187-A: 1).

Mission Statement

“The mission of the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) is to serve the higher educational needs of the people of New Hampshire. The University System strives to assure the availability of appropriate higher educational opportunities to all New Hampshire people; seeks to enroll a diverse student population to enhance educational experiences; and provides programs and activities based on a commitment to excellence. Through its institutions, the University System engages in research, which contributes to the welfare of humanity; and provides educational resources and professional expertise, which benefits the state and its people, the region, and the nation. (Adopted by the Board of Trustees, October 15, 1988).

Board of Trustees

The University System of New Hampshire is governed by a 29-member Board of Trustees comprising the Governor of the State, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, 10 members appointed by the Governor and Executive Council, 7 alumni-elected members, 2 student-elected members, the Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the presidents of the University System's four colleges and universities, and the Chancellor. The Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the University System. The Board composition is stipulated by State law and is detailed in the USNH Charter, section 187- A: 13. State statute, RSA 187-A: 16, specifically defines the authority of the trustees stating in part that trustees shall have the management and control of all the property and affairs of the University System, Granite State College, Keene State College, Plymouth State University and the University of New Hampshire. Further, it is the intent of the general court that the trustees recognize and foster the unique character and educational mission of each institution.

The USNH Board of Trustees upholds the following principal responsibilities:

  • Advocate for higher education and for the University System
  • Ensure that the Mission of the institution is kept current and is aligned with public purposes
  • Set policies, priorities, and goals and oversee strategic planning
  • Ensure the Systems financial integrity and oversee its financial performance
  • Support and encourage the Chancellor and Presidents in their roles
  • Assess its own structure and effectiveness
  • Comply with the letter and spirit of the Board’s conflict of interest policies and practice, the effect of which essentially bars USNH from doing business or having a financial relationship with a USNH Trustee or any organization owned or controlled by a USNH Trustee. Please see BOT III.I for further detail.

Statement of Diversity and Inclusion

The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion on the Board and throughout the University System and each of its component institutions. We embrace and encourage the differences in age, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make our trustees, employees, students, and alumni unique. All members of the USNH community have a responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect.

Time Commitment

While it is recognized that ours is, in part, a volunteer board, it is expected that Trustees will participate in all Board meetings (4 regular meetings per year) and special sessions (e.g. orientations or retreats). Trustees also lead or serve on a standing committee(s) and may be asked to serve on an ad hoc committee or task force as needed. In calculating the overall commitment of time required for service on the Board, it is necessary to take into account the reading and review of materials (e.g., reports, motions, white papers, etc.) that are sent in advance of meetings. On average, Trustees commit a minimum of 10-12 hours per month, exclusive of travel. Attendance at USNH institutional commencement exercises, as well as at special events and/or programs at our institutions is strongly encouraged.


Approved by Governance Committee 
June 7, 2010; Amended April 17, 2014; and further amended April 25, 2019