Listed below are additional training requirements and sources of information for members of governing boards.
Training for Appointed Members of Governing Boards
Texas Education Code, Section 61.0841, provides that a member of the governing board of an institution of higher education who holds an appointive position and whose first year of service on the governing board begins on or after January 1, 2016, is prohibited from voting on a budgetary or personnel matter related to system administration or institutions of higher education until the member completes the intensive short orientation course described by that section. The course must include: best practices relating to excellence, transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the governing structure and organization of general academic teaching institutions and university systems; best practices relating to the manner in which governing boards and administrators of general academic teaching institutions and university systems develop and implement major policy decisions, including the need for impartiality and adequate internal review in their processes; matters relating to excellence, transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the governance and administration of general academic teaching institutions and university systems; and ethics, conflicts of interests, and the proper role of a board member in the governing structure of general academic teaching institutions and university systems.
The THECB offers online a course for newly appointed members of governing boards that satisfies this legal requirement. This short course must be completed the first time it is offered following the date the member takes the oath of office. Please see the Governing Board Member Training page for instructions on completing the course. Questions regarding this training requirement should be directed to legal counsel of the institution for which the regent serves as a board member or to the THECB at (512) 427-6566. The THECB is responsible for documenting governing board members’ completion of the requirements of this law.
Open Meetings Training
The Open Meeting Act (Texas Government Code, Section 551.005) and the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Section 552.012) specify mandatory open government education requirements for elected and appointed officials who are subject to these laws. Each elected or appointed public official who is subject to these laws must complete a course of training regarding the responsibilities of the governmental body and its members under these laws not later than the 90th day after the date the member takes the oath of office or otherwise assumes responsibilities as a member of the governmental body. The training must include instruction in: the general background of the legal requirements for open meetings; the applicability to governmental bodies; procedures and requirements regarding quorums, notice, and record keeping; procedures and requirements for holding an open meeting and for holding a closed meeting; and penalties and other consequences for failure to comply.
The Office of the Attorney General offers free online video training courses that satisfy this legal requirement. This course must be completed within 90 days from the date of the appointment. Please see the Office of the Attorney General’s website for more information. Questions regarding this requirement or training options should be directed to the legal counsel of the institution for which the regent or trustee serves as a board member or to the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011.
Investment Training; State Agency Board Members and Officers
The Public Funds Investment Act (Texas Government Code, Section 2256) specifies mandatory investment training requirements for elected and appointed officials who are subject to this law. Each member of the governing board of a state agency and its investment officer must attend at least one training session relating to the person’s investment responsibilities within six months after taking office or assuming duties. An investment officer shall attend a training session not less than once each state fiscal biennium and may receive training from any independent source approved by the governing body of the state agency. The training must include education in investment controls, security risks, strategy risks, market risks, diversification of investment portfolio, and compliance with Chapter 2256 of the Texas Government Code.
The University of North Texas Center for Public Management offers the video “Protecting Public Funds: The Responsibilities of Governing Boards under the Public Funds Investment Act” that satisfies this legal requirement. This course must be completed within six months from the date of the appointment. Questions regarding this requirement or training options should be directed to the legal counsel of the institution for which the regent or trustee serves as a board member or to the University of North Texas Center for Public Management at (940) 369-7843.
Texas Government Code (TGC), Section 2054.5191, as enacted by the 86th Texas Legislature, specifies that at least once each year, each elected or appointed officer of a state agency shall complete a cybersecurity training program certified under TGC, Section 2054.519 or offered under TGC, Section 2054.519(f) and must: (1) verify and report to the Department of Information Resources on the completion of the selected program by the local government’s employees; and (2) require periodic audits to ensure compliance.
To be certified, a cybersecurity training program must: (1) focus on forming information security habits and procedures that protect information resources; and (2) teach best practices for detecting, assessing, reporting, and addressing information security threats. A local government that employs a dedicated information resources cybersecurity officer may offer to its employees a cybersecurity training program that satisfies the requirements described.
The Department of Information Resources (DIR) offers an online video training course, Cybersecurity Awareness Training, that satisfies this legal requirement. The video is offered free of charge to anyone who needs to meet the training requirements as noted above. Questions regarding this requirement or training options should be directed to legal counsel of the institution for which the regent or trustee serves as a board member or to the Department of Information Resources at 1-855-ASK-DIR1 (1-855-275-3471).
Additional Sources of Information
Office of the Attorney General/Open Government and Related Publications
Texas Ethics Commission/State Officer Publications and Guides
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (Washington, D.C.)/Reports
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (Washington, D.C.)/Events
The rules adopted by the THECB are part of a larger body of state agency rules that are collected and published by the Office of the Secretary of State as the Texas Administrative Code (TAC). THECB’s rules are codified under Title 19, Part I, of the TAC. Title 19 is Education, and Part I is the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The THECB may adopt new rules or amendments to existing rules.