Administrative Policies

AD28 Establishment of Advisory Boards, Development Councils and Boards of Visitors at Penn State

Policy Status: 

Under Review

Subject Matter Expert: 

Richard Bundy, 814-863-4826,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff


  • Purpose
  • Policy
  • Special Mission Units
  • Effective Operation
  • Boards of Visitors
  • Exceptions
  • Further Information

    This policy has been developed to ensure that the University's overall goals and objectives are addressed with respect to the establishment and maintenance of advisory boards, special interest fundraising groups, development committees and councils, or other support groups whose intent is to improve, enhance and promote a particular area or constituency of the University through fundraising. This policy has relevance only when the purpose of such board or group includes fundraising efforts. This policy also provides a mechanism for the effective operation of these groups, including such elements as staff support, membership and representation. This policy ensures the necessary coordination for effective institutional relations efforts by all elements of the University.


    The Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations shall approve the establishment of all advisory boards or special interest support groups whose purposes include development efforts. The Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations shall provide a continuing review of the activities and operations of all existing groups, boards, and other support organizations falling into the category as outlined above, except where specifically excluded in this policy.


    Units of the University with special interest constituencies, such as Arts organizations, Intercollegiate Athletics, University Libraries, Annual Giving, Corporate Relations, Communications and Marketing, Gift Planning, Parents Philanthropy, Stewardship and others, may form advisory boards or program committees provided that these boards or committees are approved in advance by the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.

    Additionally, these boards or committee will maintain strong liaison relationships with the Office of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and any centrally appointed volunteer council or committee, and will have staff support provided by an appropriate development officer. Coordination with, and approval of, the Office of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations is necessary before development activity can take place.

    NOTE: Colleges and campuses may establish special committees to assist with specific fundraising initiatives. These committees may be established after approval of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. Membership of committees for fundraising purposes will be approved by the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations prior to the recruitment of committee membership. These committees may be convened by the dean or campus executive officer and staffed by the appropriate unit development officer for fundraising purposes.


    Involvement of volunteers who are willing to work for the betterment of the institution includes sharing of clear goals, job responsibilities and time commitments as well as proper and sufficient orientation, staff support, necessary tools and shared planning and decision making. Volunteers should be used constructively with the assignment of specific tasks that are goal-driven and within their expertise and capabilities.


    Boards of Visitors are advisory committees for curriculum and academic matters, staffed by the deans of the colleges and/or chancellors of the campuses, and are separate support groups tangentially related to the mission of Development and Alumni Relations. Boards of Visitors may be formed in selected colleges and campuses as approved by the President. Staffing of these boards is under the aegis of the Office of the President of the University. They are created for curriculum assistance and are academically oriented, providing advice, leadership and peer review to academic deans.


    This policy does not affect or pertain to the Board of Trustees of The Pennsylvania State University, Campus Advisory Boards, College Advisory Boards, Penn State Alumni Council, Affiliates or Chapters or student organizations (including fraternities and sororities). This policy also does not pertain to other academically oriented groups formed in certain colleges and campuses at the request of the President that do not have fundraising as a focus.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.

    Most recent changes:

    • February 1, 2017 - Editorial changes have been made throughout the policy, changing references of Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations to Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • July 28, 2015 - Updates were made throughout the entire policy to reflect current operations. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
    • June 14, 2006 - Revision History added.
    • July 3, 1996 - Position title updates. Revisions to "Board of Visitors" and "Exceptions."
    • November 14, 1990 - Updated "Policy" section to reflect establishment of National Development Council of PSU, per Board of Trustees minutes, 11-8-90.
    • May 10, 1988 - New Policy

    Date Approved: 

    July 27, 2015

    Date Published: 

    July 28, 2015

    Effective Date: 

    July 28, 2015