Do faculty, students, and staff commonly serve on college and university boards?

Students

In 2010, 50.3 percent of public college boards included at least one student as a voting member of the board, and 28.2 percent included at least one nonvoting student member.  Among those institutions with a student board member (voting or nonvoting), the median number was one.

In 2010, 8.5 percent of independent college boards included at least one student as a voting member of the board, and 12.5 percent included at least one nonvoting student member.  Among those institutions with a student board member (voting or nonvoting), the median number was one.

Faculty

Of public colleges, universities, and systems, 13.3 percent included at least one faculty member as a voting board member, and 9.7 percent included a nonvoting faculty member.  Among those institutions with a faculty member on the board (voting or nonvoting), the median number was one.

Boards at 14.9 percent of independent colleges and universities included at least one faculty member as a voting member, and 14.1 percent included a nonvoting faculty member.  Among those institutions with a faculty member on the board (voting or nonvoting), the median number was one.

Staff

Of public colleges, universities and systems, 7.2 percent included at least one staff member as a voting board member, and 3.6 percent included one or more nonvoting staff.  Among those institutions with a staff member on the board (voting or nonvoting), the median number was one.

Nearly one-fifth (19.5 percent) of independent colleges and universities included at least one staff member as a voting board member, and 15.1 percent included one or more nonvoting staff.  Among those institutions with a staff member on the board (voting or nonvoting), the median number was one.

Which schools have students on their boards?

The Education Commission of the States' Postsecondary Governance Structures Database, available at http://www.ecs.org/ecsmain.asp?page=/html/issuesPS.asp, provides a state-by-state description of the composition of various governing boards. Some information about student representation is noted.

Why wouldn't a school have more faculty and students on its board? 

Service on governing boards creates conflicts of interest for faculty and students, and that is why many boards do not include either as voting members.

Sources and Resources