Revitalizing Shared Governance for the 21st Century

Understanding how shared governance is (or is not) working today is critical to its success in the future.

Shared governance is fundamental to American higher education. When working well, it promotes strong institutional planning, academic rigor, and innovation. But it can also become a platform for conflict rather than collaboration. As colleges and universities face increasing pressure, the practice of shared governance must evolve to reflect new realities.

AGB believes shared governance has an essential, constructive role to play in higher education. Our initiatives around this topic are designed to help board members, institutional leaders, and faculty understand the state of contemporary shared governance and to identify opportunities and obstacles to ensuring its effectiveness into the future.

Resources on Shared Governance for the 21st Century

Building upon our existing work on shared governance, AGB conducted a survey in 2016 of over 2,500 governing board members and presidents, the results of which can be found in Shared Governance: Is OK Good Enough? This report provides a detailed look at how shared governance is working in practice today.

To better understand how shared governance is changing, AGB hosted a series of “listenings,” in which over 200 senior administrators, board members, and faculty reflected on their experiences with shared governance. Insights from these discussions resulted in the publication of Shared Governance: Changing with the Times, a white paper with recommendations and a framework for understanding how shared governance can be shaped into a key institutional asset.

Lastly, AGB developed a set of case studies of diverse institutions that pursued shared governance with marked intentionality. Our hope is that these cases will convey important lessons and new ideas from which other institutions may learn:

We are grateful to The Teagle Foundation for its generous support of the listenings and case study components of our shared governance initiatives. We are grateful to the TIAA Institute for its generous support of our survey.