About Ellen Chaffee

I am a Senior Fellow for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), and past director of its Lumina Foundation funded projects on Strategic Finance Governance for Student Success. As president of Valley City State University (15 years) and president of Mayville State University (9 years), I focused on innovation, change, and accountability.  Other past roles include President in Residence at Harvard University and board chair of a $1 billion health care system, guiding its 50/50 merger with another $1 billion health care system.

I have held leadership positions in executive, academic, student affairs, research, and equal opportunity in research universities, comprehensive universities, and a state system. I was president of two national professional associations (AIR and ASHE) and member of the national accrediting board for pharmacy education, and received many state and regional awards. I write, speak, and consult on strategic management, governance, quality, innovation, and leadership. I earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration and policy analysis at Stanford University.

My work with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges since 2009 has focused on helping trustees and executives understand and pursue new strategic planning, strategic finance, innovation, and monitoring approaches in order to thrive in a constrained resources environment.

Ellen Chaffee 2016 bio and vitae


Ellen Chaffee, Ph.D.

9500 66th St NE
Bismarck ND 58503
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