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Board of Trustees

A letter from the Board Chair

A letter from the Board Chair

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, welcome to Adler University!

It is a great honor to serve Adler as board chair. I’ve had the pleasure of being a trustee since 2014 and have had the opportunity to participate in the University’s growth, support communities through service and partnerships, and most importantly, see hundreds of students graduate as socially responsible practitioners who are prepared to create meaningful change advancing social justice.

As the University embarks on a new strategic plan, the opportunities at Adler continue to grow. Developed with campus stakeholders, the plan will guide the University through the next three years as a road map for how we will continue to serve our students and address societal challenges. We are excited about what lies ahead and how our social justice mission will continue to be strengthened across everything we do.

As Trustees, we are stewards and ambassadors for the University, and we are honored to steward our Adlerian legacy and mission.

Noland Joiner's handwritten signature
Noland Joiner



In carrying out its responsibilities, the Board of Trustees for Adler University has the following role:

  • Assuring MISSION:
    • Clarity around to what end, for whom, and at what cost.
    • An external responsiveness to the constituents served.
    • Decisions are weighed against the standards of purpose.
  • Embracing a future VISION:

    • By thrusting its thinking beyond today.
    • Toward leading and away from reacting.
  • Making VALUES explicit:
    • What Adler University believes.
    • What Adler University stands for.
    • What is important.
  • Establishing POLICY:
    • Clarity around the role of the board.
    • Clarity around the role of the President and the relationship with the board.
    • Executive limitations
    • Broad expectations for quality of programs and services.
  • MONITORING performance:
    • Which is goal and outcome oriented.
    • Based on measurable indicators of success.
    • Maintaining fiscal health and availability of resources.
  • Enhancing GOVERNANCE:
    • Board recruitment, selection, and orientation.
    • Board development, preparedness, leadership, and evaluation.
    • Board/President relationship.
  • Maintaining the CEO role:
    • Assuring an executive whose values, talents, skills, and experiences are aligned with the organization’s future.
    • Establishing clear expectations and responsibilities.
    • Routinely evaluating performance.
    • Assuring fundraising alignment with the mission and planning priorities.
    • Establishing Board fundraising goals and expectations.
    • Networking and making introductions on behalf of Adler.




These working groups are established by the Board and open to all Trustees — they may also include employees and other individuals who do not serve on the Board.

Currently, the Board of Trustees has five standing committees.

Academic Affairs

This committee assists the Board in monitoring and assessing the University’s academic programs. To this end, the committee:

  • Receives and reviews the annual Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Program (SLOAP) Report to understand the academic endeavors of the University.
  • Receives regular updates on proposed academic programs and contributes feedback, receives and reviews proposals for new academic programs, and presents proposals for review and approval by the Board.
  • Provides information about student learning to the Board to understand the academic endeavors of the Universit


Trustee and Governance

This committee develops and maintains the strategy to assure the Board has qualified Trustees, committed leadership, and excellent governance practices. To this end, the committee:

  • Identifies and annually confirms or updates the criteria for Trustee candidates and Board leadership.
  • Recommends a slate of officer candidates at the annual meeting or at such other time as the Board requires.
  • Manages the Trustee recruitment and orientation process.
  • Develops and implements the annual Board self-evaluation process and follow-up plans.
  • Reviews governance practices and makes recommendations for improvement
  • Prepares the annual Board composition report.
  • Presents Trustees for re-election at the end of any 3-year term.

This committee assists the Board in oversight of the financial health of the University and the integrity of its financial processes. To this end, the committee:

  • Reviews budgets for Board consideration.
  • Provides the Board financial information and helps the Board understand the financial condition of the University.
  • Reviews the annual independent audit in preparation for Board review.
  • Reviews Board fiscal and asset policies for Board consideration.

This committee assists the Board in discharging the its responsibilities relating to compensation of the University’s President and to review and make recommendations to the Board regarding the University’s Compensation Philosophy. The Committee shall consist of members of the Board, each of whom is free of conflict of interest. To this end, the committee:

  • Reviews and makes recommendations to the Board, on an annual basis, regarding the compensation structure, salary, bonus and incentives for the President. In making any recommendation to the Board, the Committee considers trends in executive compensation, peer group compensation comparisons and target compensation positioning.
  • Reviews and makes recommendations to the Board regarding the University’s Compensation Reviews the implementation of the philosophy with the President to assure consistency between practice and the philosophy.
  • Performs such other duties or responsibilities expressly delegated to the Committee by the Board from time to time relating to the Committee’s

This committee assists the Board in securing funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations. To this end, the committee:

  • Reviews the University’s overall development program to ensure that Adler’s fundraising program is aligned with its mission and planning priorities as approved by the Board.
  • Encourages all board members to participate in fundraising activities.
  • Identifies prospects and monitors prospect solicitation efforts.
  • Recommends goals for Board member giving and solicits Board gifts.
Anti-Racism & Inclusion

This committee amplifies the ongoing importance of this work to internal and external stakeholders; to care for and guide the coming years of challenging work in this area; to ensure accountability for the Board and administration; and to establish a new governance and communication channel for the Board.

Presidential Search

Presidential Search

In the spring of 2023, President Crossman announced his plans to step down at the end of August 2024, following 21 years of service. The Board of Trustees selected executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to support our hiring efforts for the next president of Adler University through an international search. Russell Reynolds, with offices in Chicago and across the globe, has extensive reach and a track record of success in higher education.

The Presidential Search Committee has gathered a great deal of input from the Adler community regarding the qualities and characteristics they would like to see in the next president. Stakeholder sessions and surveys have helped inform the position specification for this search, reflecting our collective vision of the University’s future.

Search Committee

A search committee, chaired by Board Vice Chair Nicola Idehen, will shepherd the search process, with support from Russell Reynolds. The Board of Trustees has selected a diverse and passionate group of individuals with representation from trustees, faculty, staff, and students, including:

  • Christina Cox, Chair, Department of Psychology
  • Mark Heckler, Trustee
  • Nicola Idehen, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Noland Joiner, Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Sharon Jones, Trustee
  • Susan McLaurin, Trustee
  • Brad O’Hara, Executive Dean, Vancouver Campus
  • Chelci Oliver, Student
  • Eddie Phillips, Trustee
  • Michelle Tiwade, Senior Director of Admissions, Online Campus
  • Kristina Wilkerson, Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling and Integrated Programs

We welcome recommendations for potential candidates who embody the values of Adler University. If you know someone who possesses the qualities described in the position specification, please contact [email protected] with your suggestions.

Nominate a Trustee

Nominate a Trustee

Every year, the Adler community is invited to nominate individuals for an opportunity to serve on the University’s Board of Trustees. Current Trustees identify selection criteria for the recruitment process annually, and the Board Trustee and Governance Committee reviews prospects, contacts selected candidates, and presents recommended candidates for approval by the full Board. This process ensures trustee positions are filled with the most-needed members and avoid awkwardness if a person is approached but not ultimately invited to join.

Nominations can also be submitted throughout the year by emailing the Office of the President.

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