NIRSA HOME National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association    
 July 2007 • NIRSA news and information
Front Page Membership Education Conference & Expo Sports Foundation Leadership Notes Research Risk Management Sustainability

New commission and NIRSA Board discuss governance practices

Consultant-facilitated session focuses on best practices in association governance
George Brown Tony Clements Mick Deluca Tom Dison

George Brown

Tony Clements

Mick Deluca

Tom Dison

Kathleen Hatch Sam Hirt Maureen McGonagle NIRSA

Kathleen Hatch

Sam Hirt

Maureen McGonagle

During its April 22 meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the NIRSA Board of Directors approved the creation of a Governance Commission to examine the association’s leadership structure and governance process.

At the Annual Business Meeting conducted during the 2007 Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, NIRSA Members spoke up during the “Committee of the Whole” session and expressed their willingness to support changes to the current governance model. According to results of the 2007 Comprehensive NIRSA Member Survey, a majority of NIRSA Members agree that “NIRSA should pursue a governance structure that improves its ability to effectively govern the association,” and that “NIRSA should pursue a nomination and elections process to slate the most qualified candidates.”

NIRSA President Tom Kirch said, “The best associations are always evaluating their infrastructure in order to stay relevant for their members. NIRSA has a real opportunity here to take a hard look at our governance model and make informed decisions about how it can be better.” (see related story)

In May, Kirch appointed the following members to the Governance Commission:

  • George Brown, University of Alabama
  • Tony Clements, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Mick Deluca, UCLA
  • Tom Dison, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Kathleen Hatch, Washington State University
  • Sam Hirt, Vanderbilt University
  • Maureen McGonagle, DePaul University

The NIRSA Board also endorsed retaining Bud Crouch, a principal partner with Tecker Consultants, LLC, as a consultant. Crouch has a great deal of experience working with national organizations, including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

Crouch led the NIRSA Board and several members of the Governance Commission in a day-long Governance Review Session on June 27 at the NIRSA National Center in Corvallis, Oregon. The session took place as part of the Board’s annual Summer Meeting. Discussion highlights from Crouch’s presentation were as follows:

  1. The challenge of leading an association today
    • Strategies utilized by successful associations to create and maintain success
    • Understanding current external trends impacting associations – the environment confronting leaders
    • What leaders must understand about the unique nature of associations
  2. Building a strategic governance team
    • Understanding the Board’s mission, roles and responsibilities
    • Building a strategic Board
    • Building a leadership strategy
    • Creating trust in governance
    • Strategic thinking and planning
  3. Staff’s role in the leadership team
    • Creating a trusting and effective relationship between the Board and Chief Staff Officer – what are the Board’s expectations?
    • Developing a common understanding of the Chief Staff Officer’s role
  4. Building a knowledge-based governance strategy
    • Understanding knowledge-based decision-making
    • Using dialogue before deliberation as a credible decision-making process
    • Integrating strategic thinking in governance

The idea to review the governance model was first brought to light in 2002, when a consultant investigation commissioned by NIRSA concluded that the Association is dealing with massive changes in both the profession and the organization and recommended that the NIRSA governance model be overhauled (the McKinley Report). The 2002-2003 Governance Work Team provided follow-up to the McKinley Report and confirmed its findings.

The NIRSA Governance Commission will solicit further extensive input from members and make recommendations to the NIRSA Board of Directors.

NIRSA Know is a service of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association
NIRSA National Center: 4185 SW Research Way, Corvallis, Oregon 97333-1067
tel: 541-766-8211 • fax: 541-766-8284 • email:
Copyright ©2007 National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association
Archives | Search | Contact Us