Responsibilities and Expectations of Trustees

Trusteeship is a generous and selfless act of public service requiring commitment, engagement and dedication to the mission of William Paterson University, the needs of its multiple and diverse public and private constituencies and the overall public good.

Consistent with those obligations, the following are responsibilities and expectations that are attendant to service on the William Paterson University Board of Trustees: 

  • Trustees are expected to be vigorous advocates for the mission of the University and act in accordance with their best judgment as to the best interests of the University and the public.
  • Trustees are expected to become familiar with key aspects of the University including, but not limited to, its mission, governance, financing, strategic plans and performance measures.
  • Trustees are expected to devote the necessary time, attention and preparation to Board activities to function effectively and to enable the Board as a whole to function effectively, including new trustee orientation, committee meetings, board retreats and public meetings.
  • Trustees are expected to maintain some presence at other University functions and events (e.g., Commencement) that are integral parts of the life of the University community.
  • Trustees are expected to maintain a tradition of exemplifying the highest standards of ethical behavior, act strictly in accordance with Federal, State and local laws and comply with all regulations and policies applicable to trustees of public colleges and universities in New Jersey. Any potential or apparent conflicts of interest must be publicly disclosed and promptly removed.
  • Trustees are expected to support the role of the President of the University as chief executive officer when he or she is carrying out delegated authority for all academic, administrative, fiscal and personnel matters and to promptly report to the Board chair or president any concerns about University matters of which they have become aware.
  • Trustees are expected to maintain a keen sensitivity to the boundary between board oversight and guidance and institutional management and administration.
  • Individual trustees are expected to abide by the decisions of the Board regardless of personal viewpoints, beliefs or preferences. This expectation does not preclude vigorous and civil debate within the Board regarding matters of substance or principle.
  • Trustees are expected to maintain the confidentiality of matters not public under the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act.
  • Trustees are expected to defer to the Board chair for public comment on matters before the Board, or to make clear that any opinions expressed are expressed as an individual rather than on behalf of the Board as a whole.
  • Trustees are expected to serve out their full term of appointment. In the event that emergent circumstances preclude doing so, trustees are expected to provide as much notice as possible of the intention to resign - preferably one (1) year.
  • Trustees are expected to participate in an exit interview with the Board chair at the conclusion of their service to the Board to reflect on any issues they feel warrant Board attention and/or to provide any observations they care to offer regarding service as a trustee or about the University as a whole.


Adopted by the Board of Trustees of The William Paterson University of New Jersey at its March 23, 2007 meeting.

Note - this document relied on ideas from and borrowed language from documents of similar purpose from the University of Utah, the University of Vermont and Southeast Missouri State University.