Shared Governance for Agile Institutions

A Practical Guide for Universities and Colleges

By Steven C. Bahls


$76.00 (Member Price $54.00)


Download E-book


$76.00 (Member Price $54.00)


Download E-book

Higher education governing boards, faculties, and administrative leaders must better align their efforts and goals so they can respond in a timely way to the rapid changes in the sector—particularly during a period of crisis and disruption, when the margins for error are smaller. While shared governance is one of higher education’s biggest strengths, it also can be one of its most fragile elements. Colleges and universities cannot move forward without all stakeholders being committed to creative, bold, and future-oriented solutions. Too often breakdowns in shared governance set institutions back in this regard.

Shared governance practices designed and implemented to align the board, administration, and faculty around institutional priorities can enable more effective and nimble decision-making. Moreover, better use of the mechanisms of shared governance can move colleges and universities toward a culture of collective responsibility in which the board, leadership, and faculty members work together to look over the horizon for tomorrow’s opportunities.

This newly revised publication outlines how an ideal shared governance structure can position institutions to cultivate the capacity to address new challenges, adopt more agile implementation efforts, and effect more timely decision-making. The book provides guidance and examples of how shared governance can drive healthier conversations, better outcomes, and more nimble and future-focused institutions.

In six chapters, Steven C. Bahls offers expert insight on:

  • Misunderstandings about shared governance because the three stakeholders often define it in different ways, depending upon their vantage points;
  • Why board members are baffled about how to share governance in a way that results in timely decisions;
  • Common barriers to effective shared governance and how to overcome them;
  • The urgent need to implement decisions about strategic direction more judiciously and expeditiously; and
  • The vision and practice of shared governance as a system of aligning stakeholders around institutional priorities and mission.

E-book available June 13, 2023


Chapter 1. Why Work for Effective Shared Governance?
Chapter 2. Competing Views of Shared Governance
Chapter 3. Shared Governance: Law and Policy
Chapter 4. Overcoming Barriers to Effective Shared Governance
Chapter 5. A Practical Guide to Shared Governance
Chapter 6. Best Practices in Shared Governance
Final Thoughts
Appendix One: A Dozen Important Questions for Board Members to Ask
Appendix Two: Shared Governance Survey
Appendix Three: Model Statement on Shared Governance

Title Information:

  • A bulk discount is available for orders of ten or more copies.
  • Publication Year: 2023
  • ISBN: 978-1-951635-35-0
About the Author:

Steven C. Bahls, JD, is president emeritus, Augustana College and a Capital University trustee. He is an AGB consultant with expertise in shared governance issues, among others.

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