Shared governance—the principle that acknowledges the final institutional authority of governing boards and distributed authority to the administration and faculty—is a basic tenet in higher education. When working well, it brings a wealth of ideas to critical conversations and creates a sense of inclusiveness that strengthens support for decisions.
In a time of serious challenges to higher education—among them declines in enrollment and funding, shifting demographics, and public critiques of value—shared governance can be an essential institutional asset. But how well is shared governance working today?
To understand how well shared governance currently functions, AGB conducted two surveys: one of presidents and chancellors and one of governing board members. Both surveys focused on policies, practices, and perceptions related to shared governance. This report provides detailed look at the survey results, displaying them by public and independent respondents. It also highlights where presidents and board members hold similar views, and where they see things differently.
According to the survey data, shared governance is not perfect but it is generally “OK” on most campuses. Yet that raises the question: In today’s challenging environment, is “OK” good enough?
We are grateful to the TIAA Institute for their generous support of this report.