Five College Committees

The Five College Consortium manages a diverse array of committees, but in broad terms these groups can be classified as falling into one of three main categories: Governance & Strategy; Program & Project Management; and Community Building. The lines between the categories are not always clean, and each group may engage in work outside its primary focus area, but the descriptions below are intended to provide guidelines and common terminology across Five College activities.

Governance & Strategy Committees

Committees, councils, and boards within this category have clear authority over the direction of Five Colleges, Incorporated (FCI)–the not-for-profit corporation that administers the consortium–or some well-defined and substantial subset of Five College activity. The Consortium’s existence is highly dependent on the regular engagement of these committees, and the service provided to them by Five Colleges is accordingly high. Three governance bodies are required by the Five College by-laws: the Board of Directors, and two Board committees – the Investment Committee, and the Audit Committee. Two additional committees provide key leadership to Five Colleges and advise the Board in its actions: the Provosts Council (formerly Deans Council) and the Principal Business Officers (PBOs). Other leadership committees oversee specific areas of collaboration across the five campuses. These committees are typically composed of senior leaders on the campuses, who serve on a Five College committee ex officio (e.g., Library Directors). Examples of these additional leadership committees include:

Program and Project Management Committees

Committees in this category have been given responsibility by one or more Governance groups for a specific program, task, project, or event (either one-time or recurring), typically with a set deadline and clearly articulated outcome, and/or a defined scope of work. These groups may be ongoing or ad hoc, but typically their scope and scale of responsibility is more focused than that of Governance and Strategy groups. These workgroups are responsible for activities and initiatives that have been identified as important to the mission of the Consortium, and their charters or charge letters should thus include a detailed description of the (financial and human) resources required to accomplish their assigned task, including what support (if any) is expected from Five College resources1. Examples of Program and Project Management Committees include:

  • Information Security
  • Chief Admissions Officers
  • Chairs of Five College Majors and Departments
  • Grant-funded Project Teams

Community Building Committees

Committees in this category serve primarily as “affinity groups” or “communities of practice” – gathering together colleagues from across the campuses to share expertise and build collegiality. Typically, these groups consist of individuals filling similar roles on their respective campuses. In some cases these groups include individuals from outside the consortium. Community and collaboration are central to the mission of Five Colleges, and these groups can help to build networks and relationships that serve the broader aims and activities of the Consortium. Their informal nature means they can often be self-guided and/or can convene with minimal use of Five College resources. When these groups meet during work hours, members/attendees should seek supervisor approval prior to participation. Groups that wish to be formally recognized as Five College committees (to be able to refer to themselves as a “Five College” group, be identified on the Five College website, be eligible to apply for funding, etc.) are expected to do so in collaboration with Five College staff, and commit to adhering to Five College standards of conduct and inclusion2. Affinity groups may, from time to time, be called upon to undertake a specific project and thus temporarily move into the category of Program & Project Management. A list of recognized Five College Community Committees will be posted on the Five College website and reviewed annually3. Examples of Community Building Committees include:

  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Intervention Committee (SAPIC)
  • Human Resources Directors
  • Controllers
  • Disabilities Services Directors
  • Elected Officials and Campus Representatives

External Groups

Some groups are largely external to or independent of Five Colleges, but have an affiliation agreement for specific engagement or services, and/or provide an ex officio role for a member of the FCI staff. Examples include:

  • New England Public Media--NEPM
  • Massachusetts Review

Inactive Groups

Some groups existed at one time but are currently inactive (or meet so sporadically that no schedule can be discerned) and will no longer be listed on the Five College website or in annual reports.



1Charge/charter letters should also include details on reporting requirements, scope of authority, and more.  Templates can be provided on request.

2The process for registration and review of such committees is still under development.

3The list of registered committees is still being compiled.