Shared governance is increasingly central to institutions as they address today's calls for change. Yet shared governance can fall short of its potential when it is misunderstood or under-utilized. Too often board members and faculty have a limited understanding of each other’s responsibilities.
A report from AGB’s National Commission on College and University Board Governance indicated that board members and chief executives believe that shared governance is working well within their own institutions, but, at the same time, it also raised concerns:
- Most new board members said that they received no introduction to shared governance during their orientations
- Presidents responded that board and faculty members have only limited understanding of one another’s responsibilities, demonstrating little change since AGB's 2009 survey on shared governance and
- Review of board policies related to shared governance is sporadic and fails to keep pace with the decline in tenured and tenure-track faculty, who have shouldered the faculty role in shared governance.
But how should shared governance operate on campuses? In Shared Goverenance: Is OK Good Enough?, AGB surveyed presidents and board members on how shared governance is currently operating, and how they would like it to operate.
Overall, survey data suggest many presidents and board members of both public and independent institutions would prefer a shared governance system that functions differently from the one they have. If they were to pursue change, the majority of presidents and nearly half of all board members responding to the survey aspire to a shared governance system that focuses on effectively aligning priorities.