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Research & Reports

Shared Governance: Changing with the Times

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2017

Shared governance is one of the basic tenets of higher education, and yet there is considerable evidence that it is not generally well understood by its primary participants—faculty members, presidents, and members of boards of trustees.

This report provides qualitative information on the state of shared governance. AGB conducted a number of “listening sessions,” or focus groups, consisting each of board members, faculty members, and presidents (usually 15-20 participants in each session). The sessions were conducted at the annual meetings of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (faculty), the American Council on Education (presidents), the American Association of University Professors (faculty), and AGB’s National Conference on Trusteeship (board members and presidents). Ten individual case studies were also created to feature shared governance at individual instituions.

Over 200 board members, presidents, and faculty members took part in the listening sessions, and these discussions were frank, honest, and lively, and provided a broad range of insights into and perspectives on the state of shared governance at America’s colleges and universities. This report presents the key themes we heard from participants and an independent analysis of implications.

We are grateful to the Teagle Foundation for its generous support of the listenings and case study components of this initiative.

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