The SCUP Distinguished Service Award (DSA) recognizes exceptional contributions to the activities and success of the society. This year’s DSA recipient is Thomas C. Longin, who served as SCUP’s Board president from 2011 to 2012 and editor of SCUP’s quarterly journal, Planning for Higher Education from 2004 to 2009.
In 2011, Tom led the SCUP Board of Directors to recognize the need for a new strategic governance model that would align resources and talent to better achieve the association’s vision. Its organizational structure was essentially the same as when it was founded nearly 50 years prior. There was a need to ensure that SCUP was a focused and viable organization as it moved into the future.
As a former staff member of the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), a higher education consultant to college and university boards on governance issues, and a college dean and provost, Tom knew all sides of nonprofit governance that contribute to a well-functioning and healthy association. Working closely with SCUP’s executive director and the Board of Directors, he tested ideas and merged best practices.
A defining moment was a strategic planning retreat in October 2011, which led to the creation of a governance task force.
His work launched a multi-year governance transition and implementation plan for a new governance structure that is now successfully in place. The new structure honored and preserved the attributes of the current Board’s work and the essential contributions of passionate volunteers at all levels of the organization. It created a strategic leadership structure that would ensure a clearly defined vision, mission, and a strategic plan that would advance the achievement of the vision.
The proposal for the new governance structure and the final draft were discussed and approved at the July 7, 2012, board meeting in Chicago, IL.
Tom bridged his knowledge as a higher education leader and AGB senior staff member to lead the creation of a new governance structure that maximized the talents and strengths of everyone body at the table: SCUP board members, volunteer leaders at regional and national levels, and staff.
By bestowing this award, the SCUP Board of Directors honors and recognizes Tom’s work as the original “architect” of SCUP’s new governance structure.