Your First 90 Days

Read important foundational documents

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • By-Laws
  • Policies & Procedures
  • Employee Handbook
  • Faculty Handbook
  • Strategic Plan
  • Master Plan
  • Board Governance Manual (if any)

Read important financial documents

  • Debt / Bank covenants
  • Current year budget
  • Review prior year's budget-to-actual report
  • Five-year financial plan (if none, plan to create)
  • Capital Budget (if any)
  • Investment Policy (if none, plan to create)

Read audit and risk analysis documents

  • Past two years of 990s, 990-Ts and audit reports
  • Past two years of financial aid audits
  • Past five years of management comment letters
  • Review the most recent risk assessment and risk management documents (if none, plan to create)

Read accreditation documents

  • Read most recent accreditation reviews and recommendations

Get up to speed on legal issues

  • Read significant third-party contracts
  • Inquire about current or pending litigation

Begin building relationships with key personnel

  • Meet in person with key personnel across the campus (individually; go to them)
    • Cabinet members
    • Faculty leadership
    • Department heads
    • Student leadership
    • Your own staff
    • Board committee chairs (with approval of your president; ask your president to make these introductions)
  • Walk the campus with Director of Physical Plant (every building)
  • Attend a faculty meeting (introduce yourself, talk about your philosophies and plans, seek their guidance and input)
  • Attend departmental meetings across campus

Schedule introductory / exploratory meetings with key outsiders

  • Auditors
  • Bankers
  • Investment managers
  • Insurance brokers
  • Legal counsel


  • Knowing your first year (or more) will be overwhelming, be intentional about work/life/family balance
  • Plan to be intentional about ongoing professional development
  • Plan to be intentional about building your professional peer network