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Professor Authors Manual for Effectively Orienting Newly Elected Board Members

ENGAGED® Model of Board Orientation, a best practices guide for not-for-profit organizations

Bethlehem, Pa., August 9, 2006— Dr. Santo D. Marabella, associate professor and chair and Economics and Business Department at Moravian College, has written and published The ENGAGED® Model of Board Orientation, a best practices guide for not-for-profit organizations. The guidelines are based on Marabella’s research and his experience working with more than 70 not-for-profit boards over the past 15 years.

The purpose of the instructional manual, which also comes with an interactive CD-ROM, is to provide not-for-profit organizations a process and materials on effectively orienting newly elected board members. According to Marabella, the ENGAGED® model includes NFP-specific and general board training content that one would expect to find in an orientation program for new board members.  In addition, he says, “It includes three factors which may make it distinct:  teaching a board member the “universal truths” that can enhance their perceived ability to govern; creating a dialogue through which a board member can articulate his or her perceived needs and obstacles to fully participate; and, implementing a process for the NFP to be responsive to board member needs and obstacles so board participation increases.”  

Marabella found that many not-for-profits recruit board members that meet their organization needs, but pay very little attention to the needs of their new board members. He says, “Orientation programs can help board members feel more confident about governing, more empowered to drive the not-for-profit’s strategic direction.” He notes that, “When board members feel that their needs are responded to,” he continues, “the result is higher board participation, and a more engaged board in general.”

Through the cooperation of the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley, Marabella was able to test his model with favorable results.  He is currently in the process of marketing the manual and interactive CD-ROM.  The Model and CD-ROM can be obtained by contacting Marabella at the College.

Marabella earned a B.S. degree in business administration from Villanova University, his M.B.A. from St. Joseph University; and D.S.W. at the University of Pennsylvania School Of Social Work. He has been a member of the full-time faculty at Moravian College since 1992, and served as the director of The Moravian MBA program from 1997 to 2003. He served also as interim associate dean of Continuing and Graduate Studies in 2003-2004.

During his distinguished career at Moravian he has been the recipient of the Christian R. and Mary Lindback Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Helping Hand Award for the Outstanding Organization Advisor, Omicron Delta Kappa (Moravian Chapter); the Timothy M. Breidegam Memorial Faculty Service Award; and was selected as Faculty Speaker for Commencement Exercises. Marabella, a Reading native, actively supports community and college initiatives and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Reading Civic Theatre. He created and served as co-chair in 2004 for the Conference on Women and their Work at the college.

Marabella academic interests include strategic management using scenario-building and organizational visioning; facilitation of teams and groups; governance and the development of not-for-profit boards of directors.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.