- Governance in higher education
Governance in higher education refers to the means by which
higher educational (also tertiary or postsecondary) institutions are formally organized and managed, though often there is a distinction between definitions of managementand governance. Simply, universitygovernance is the way in which universities are operated. Governing structures for higher educationare highly differentiated throughout the world. Noted by Altbach (2005: 16-18) the different models for higher education throughout the world nonetheless do share a common heritage. Coldrake, Stedman, and Little (2003: 5) also discuss the shared traditionsand history of higher education worldwide. Internationally, tertiary educationincludes private not-for-profit, private for-profit, and public institutions governed by differentiated structures of management.
Governance and management of
postsecondaryinstitutions becomes even more diverse with the differences in defining the relationships between higher and tertiary education (university education), postsecondary education, technical and vocational education, and community collegemodels of education. The issues are complicated by current debates over collegialand shared forms of governance contrasted to corporateand businessforms of institutional governance. Portalpar | University | Nuvola apps bookcase.png
Overview of governance
The concept of
governancefor postsecondary education predominantly refers to the internal structure, organization and management of autonomous institutions. The organization of internal governance is generally composed of a governing board ( board of regents, board of directors), the university president(executive head, CEO) with a team of administrative chancellorsand staff, faculty senates, academic deans, department chairs, and usually some form of organization for studentrepresentation. In the United States, state institution governing boards often emphasize the concept of citizengovernance in recognizing that board members serve a civicrole for the institution. Managing structures themselves have become increasingly complex to establish a means of organizing an equally complicated system of intraorganizational, interorganizational and governmental relationships. Whether college and university education, adult education, technical and vocational education, the complexities of managing education in today's world proves true at all levels of private and public education (for even the interdepence with primary and elementary educationto the management of secondary education).
As universities have become increasingly
interdependentwith external forces, institutions are accountable to external organizational relationships such as local and federal governments, equally in managing business and corporate relationships. The nature of the managing relationships characterize whether governance is corporate and business oriented or defined more by a collegial shared form of governance. "Governance" in this sense is discussed by Kezar and Eckel (2004: 371-398), whom define it at the macro-level of policy decisionmaking. Kezar and Eckel (2004: 371-398) suggest governance is a multi-level concept including several different bodies and processes with different decision-making functions. In this way, governance is sometimes defined at difference to the internal management of institutions. Throughout the world, many federal, stateand localgovernments have begun to establish coordinating and governing boards as both bufferand bridge to coordinategovernance and institutional management.
With the complexity of internal structures, the external relationships between institutions and local, state, and national governments are evidently equally differentiated given the different forms of
governmentin the international system(making the concepts of governance for postsecondary education pluralisticin its broadest sense and usage). External governing relationships depends much on institutions, government policy, and any other formal or informal organizational obligations. Generally, institutions are recognized as autonomous actors with varying degrees of interdependence with, and legislated commitments to the external stakeholders, local and national government.
Issues in university governance
Due to the influences of public sector reforms, several authors (Kezar and Eckel 2004; Lapworth 2004; Middlehurst 2004) point out that next to the concept of shared and participative governance a new form of governance has emerged, i.e. the notion of
corporate governanceof institutions that has increasingly become a more dominantapproach to tertiary management. According to Lapworth (2004: 299-314), the rise of the notion of corporate governance and the decline of the shared or consensual governance can be seen to be a result of the decline in academic participation, growing tendency towards managerialismand the new environment where the universities are operating.
American Association of University Professorswas the first organization to formulate a statement on the governance of higher education based on principles of democratic values and participation (which, in this sense, correlates with the Yale Report of 1828, discussed by Brubacher (1982: 5) as the “first attempt at a formally stated philosophy of education” for universities, emphasizing at that time that Enlightenment curricula following the establishment of democratic constitutional governance should not be replaced with retrogression to religious curricula). The AAUP published its first "Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities" in 1920, “emphasizing the importance of faculty involvement in personnel decisions, selection of administrators, preparation of the budget, and determination of educational policies. Refinements to the statement were introduced in subsequent years, culminating in the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities (AAUP 1966). The document does not provide for a “blueprint” for the governanceof higher education. Nor was the purpose of the statement to provide principles for relations with industry and government (though it establishes direction on “the correction of existing weaknesses”). Rather, it aimed to establish a shared visionfor the internal governance of institutions. Student involvement is not addressed in detail. The statement concerns general education policy and internal operationswith an overview of the formal structures for organization and management. In process and structure, the meaning with the end result is an organizational philosophyfor shared governance in higher education.
While institutions internationally do not directly have the same genealogy with the idea of shared, collegial governance, universities worldwide are loosely organized by similar structures and based on comparable models. McMaster (2007: 1-9) notes the different cultures in universities and the traditional relationships between faculty and administration, characterizing
historical transitionsand suggesting that universities today are undergoing transitions in culture. Kezar and Eckel (2004: 371-398) point out the substance of governance has changed during the last decades with more emphasis put on high stake issues and more incrementaldecisions made in a less collegialmode – the reasons for this stem from trends that have devalued the notion of participationand also from the external pressures for more accountabilityand demands for quicker decision-making (that sometimes is achieved through bureaucracy). McMaster (2007: 1-9) discusses the same changes in university management resulting from the “huge amount of additional administrative workat all levels within the university, and the requirement for a wide range of specialist skills in areas such as marketing, HR management, management accounting, web developmentand instructional design.” and the difficulties with the tensions that have resulted between collegial and corporate models of management.
Dearlove (1997: 56-75) emphasises that, under the conditions of mass higher education, no university can avoid the need for some sort of bureaucratic management and organisation, though this does not mean that the importance of informal discipline and profession based authority (internal governance of universities) can totally be ignored. Lapworth (2004: 299-314) advocates what the author believes is a model of university governance with the positive aspects of corporate and collegial approaches. The issues in university governance discussed by these literatures are detailed by Coldrake, Stedman, and Little (2003) through a
comparativestudy of current trends in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with poignant insight into the different models of governance for the management of higher education. Critical of the currents of change toward “corporate governance,” the authors cite reference to literature that calls for “re-balancing” of university governance, maintaining that the re-balancing “would amount to a clarification of shared governance” (Coldrake, Stedman, and Little 2003: 14). With changing roles in human resources and the external pressures for accountability affecting university relationships internally, McMaster (2007: 1-9) provides insights by defining management styles in terms of nested partnership between faculty and administration, contiguous partnership, and segmented partnership. With debates over the recent trends, university organizations, governing associations, and numerous postsecondary institutions themselves have set forth policystatements on governance.
Statements from educational organizations
National Education Association (NEA): faculty governance in higher education
First published in 1987, the
NEAstatement on faculty governance in higher education is a straightforward point of view on their policy in support of shared governance. The policy maintains that faculty involvement in governance is critical. Providing research support, the organization states faculty should advise administration in developing curriculumand methods of instruction. Faculty is responsible for establishing degree requirements, takes primary responsibility in tenureappointments and the award of promotion and sabbatical. Addressing issues through collective bargaining, the statement believes “administration and the governing boards of colleges and universities should accept the faculty's recommendations” ( National Education Association1987). The statement also maintains that faculty should be involved in salary decisions, evaluatingadministrators, and budgeting. The policy concludes with the assertion:
State and federal government and external agencies should refrain from intervening in the internal governance of institutions of higher education when they are functioning in accordance with state and federal law. Government should recognize that conserving the autonomy of these institutions is essential to protectingThe policy statement references the AAUP's "1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities." The basic principles evidently draw from the early AAUP statement on governance. Though the NEA makes no mention of students anywhere in the policy, the NEA like the AAUP does reflect the basic ideas and premise for the “responsibility primarily of the faculty to determine the appropriate
academic freedom, the advance of knowledge, and the pursuit of truth (NEA 1987). curriculumand procedures of student instruction” (AAUP 1966). In this respect, the AAUP grants that considerations should be made for publicly supported institutions. Unlike the NEA, the AAUP elaborates more on the role of governing structures, including the role of the president to ensure “ soundacademic practices,” as the NEA suggests faculty rights to appeal flawed and improper procedures. In summation, where the AAUP discusses the organizational structurefor governance and management in more detail while touching on student involvement, the NEA statement differs by detailing primarily faculty rights and responsibilities in shared governance.
Higher education policy: statement of community college governance
Noting the 1987 publication of "Policy Statement on Higher Education Faculty Governance", in 1989 the NEA issued a "Policy Statement on Higher Education Policy for Community College Governance." The NEA elaborates upon issues in support of shared governance for the management of community colleges, junior and technical colleges not addressed in their previous statement. The statement is based on the same principles, believing cooperative decision-making and collective bargaining for in governance should be based on “collegial” relationships. Where statements from the NEA and the AAUP advocate the importance of faculty involvement in governance, the
community collegestatement notes that many do not exercise the right when available and that faculty “at public institutions are not yet permitted to bargain collectively in many states” (NEA 1989). The NEA then elaborates upon the need for faculty participation.
Again, the "Policy Statement of Community College Governance" correlates based upon the same underlying principles of the AAUP and NEA statement on faculty governance. The community college statement also elaborates upon structure and procedure not addressed in the previous statement, including the “ad hoc” and standing committees as discussed in the AAUP policy statement on governance. Where the AAUP statement discusses policy on students and their academic rights, with the community college statement the NEA (1989) does conclude on student involvement.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT): statement on shared governance
In 2002, the Higher Education Program and Policy Council of the
American Federation of Teachersalso published a statement in support of the shared governance of institutions. The policy statement is a response to the fact that many governing boards have adopted the "mantra of business” (American Federation of Teachers 2002). The AFT (2002: 5) iterates purpose by which higher education achieves democraticorganizational processes between administration and faculty, believing shared governance is under attack in six ways: (1) the outsourcing of instruction, particularly to learning technologies; (2) redirecting teaching to part time and temporary faculty; (3) re-orienting curriculum to business oriented coursework; (4) the buying and selling of courseware for commercial exploitation; (5) for profit teaching and research; (6) with the formation of a “commercial consortia with other universities and private investors." Meaning, as many have begun to view education of business, they are not necessarily in the business of education.
Accordingly, six principles affirm standards of
academic freedom, faculty participation in standards and curriculum, and faculty decisions on academic personnel as the AAUP first established principles of governance. The statement maintains that participation in shared governance should be extended, acknowledging that the way in which participation is expanded will vary from institution to institution; “but each group whose work contributes to the academic enterprise should be involved in a manner appropriate to institutional functions and responsibility” (AFT 2002: 8). The policy addresses unions and faculty senates, believing that they contribute to the maintenance of shared governance in institutions as well as the role of accrediting agencies to support management standards. In conclusion, the AFT emphasizes affirmation of the goals, objectives and purpose for shared governance in higher education.
tatements from associations of governance
Association of Governing Boards (AGB): statement on institutional governance
With recent debates and trends in the governance of institutions of higher education in the
United States, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) has issued a statement on governance. The statement was published with a correlating statement, “Governing in the Public Trust: External Influences on Colleges and Universities.” In the first statement on governance, the advisiory organization for institutional governance discusses facts and perceptions concerning governance, including specific facts related to institutional trends and perceptions that “internal governance arrangements have become so cumbersome that timely decisions are difficult to make” (AGB 2001: 3). The AGB statement then defines general principles upon which governing boards are to operate and the responsibilities of a governing board to the institution. The principles include specific issues such as responsibility to the academic integrityand financial health of an institution as well as conducting affairs “in a manner that exemplifies the behavior it expects from other participants in institutional governance” (AGB 2001: 5). From which, in acknowledging the changing nature of stakeholder interests in institutions, the AGB establishes standards of good practice.
The standards address issues from (1) the board’s relationship with faculty decision making; (2) the need to establish
consultativedecision making; (3) serving as a window for the institution to external stakeholders; (4) defining practices of communication with the internal management of institutions; (5) and the role of union leadership in faculty governance. The statement then addresses the nature of institutional relationships with external stakeholders. The AGB emphasizes that the “responsibilities of these officialsand bodies vary widely among the states, but governing boards should serve as important buffers between the college or university and politicalstructures, partisan politics, and pressures of state government” (AGB 2001: 10). The AGB notes the importance of, and issues with alumniand other organizations in institional governance, concluding the statement with questions over governance for institutions to consider.
AGB statement on governing in the public trust
With their statement on governing bodies, the AGB then provides statement on governing in the
public trust, iterating many of the same points concerning recent external pressures. The statement defines the historic role and rationalebehind the principles of citizengovernance upon which state institutional boards operate. Again, addressing the nature of external influences in university governance, the AGB defines specific principles in maintaining accountability and autonomy in the public trust, including (1) the primacy of the board over individual members; (2) the importance of institutional missions; (3) respecting the board as both bufferand bridge; (4) exhibiting exemplary publicbehavior; and (4) keeping academic freedomcentral (AGB 2001: 23-26). In conclusion, the statement asks for the reaffimation of a commitment to citizen governance to maintain the balanced and independent governance of institutions.
Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC): statement on governance
In October 2003, the
Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee(AVCC), the council of Australia’s university presidents, put forward a “Chancellors and AVCC statement on university governance." Given national and institutional debates over the governance of tertiary education, the statement acknowledges the opportunities with developments in management and governing structures. The statement notes the role of the “business model” that has been advanced alongside the traditional models of governance in Australia. With reference to additional “third models” in introducing a discussion of the existing frameworks for the governance of tertiary education, the statement defines the legal autonomy of institutions and independence from external stakeholders. Acknowledging the diversity of governing structures and believing a balance is necessary between internal and external forces, the organization maintains: “No single way to achieve an effective governance arrangement” (AVCC 2003: 3) is possible. In recognizing the differences in institutional structures and frames of reference, the statement offers operational good practices as generic principles and recommendations, also identifying national protocolsfor the success of Australian higher education.
The recommendations address practices by which internal governing structures operate and how they can improve institutional governance for the Commonwealth of Australia. External relations, the role of faculty and students in governance are not approached except inasmuch as institutional board members should be appointed with their selection based on contributions “to the effective working of the governing body by having needed skills, knowledge and experience, an appreciation of the values of a university and its core activities of teaching and research, its independence and academic freedom and the capacity to appreciate the university’s external community needs from that university” (AVCC 2003: 6). The committee defines the
responsibilitiesof university governance, including legalobligations and legislativerequirements for the internal governing boards of Australian institutions. Accordingly, governing bodies “should make available a programme of induction and professional development . . . to ensure that all members are aware of the nature of their duties and responsibilities” (AVCC 2003: 6). The report concludes with protocol for annual reports, including report of risk management and additional steps to ensure good governance.
The case of South Africa
South Africafaces issues related to the governance of their tertiary system of higher education that correlate with international trends. Hall and Symes (2005) discuss the state of South African higher education in the first decade of the country’s constitutional democracyat a time when the country has faced not only democratic transition but also the end of Apartheid racial segregation. With the South African transition to democracy in 1994, the national government and institutions of postsecondary learning envisioned the cooperativegovernance of higher education. For a developing country that faced “massive social exclusion” for the better part of a century – only to be challenged in 1970s and 1980s – Hall and Symes (2005: 205-206) note traditional models for governance in higher education, European and North American models of institutional autonomy are not entirely applicable to the South African context. The authors discuss the need for government “steering,” an idea originally envisioned in South Africa with the democratic transition, based upon a cooperative framework as a “conditional autonomy.” The goals and objectives for cooperative governance were thus established with the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) in 1994, detailed in its 1996 report.
The South African National Commission on Higher Education was meant to serve as a “
buffer mechanism” between government and institutions to establish a systemby which “autonomous higher education institutions would work in a range of partnerships with government and other stakeholders,” from the involvement of state supervision and consultation (Hall & Symes 2005: 200, 204, 210). Within the initial years of the democratic transition and the end of the Apartheid, Hall and Symes (2005) note that the national government assumed a much stronger regulatoryand bureaucraticcontrol of South African postsecondary institutions than what had been originally expected. From the appointments to the National Commission on Higher Education, the 1997 Higher Education Act, and the 2001 National Plan for Higher Education, the national government has assumed direct command of curriculum, funding and regulation over institutions with “weak or non-existent traditions of academic freedom” (Hall and Symes 2005: 201-202). Where the 1997 Higher Education Act and ministerialappointments provided the frameworkby which the national government could assert control over postsecondary institutions, the 2001 Education Amendment Act and white paperexpressed the government’s motivations to take a strong position of power in the governance of South African higher education. Whereby, the “period from the 1997 White Paper to the 2001 National Plan for Higher Education has seen a systematic tightening of state control and the erosionof both the procedural and substantive autonomy of individual institutions” (Hall and Symes 2005: 210). Furthermore, Hall and Symes (2005: 201-202) note that while the ten universities reserved for white students during the apartheid maintained substantial autonomy, other institutions such as technical schoolsand “branches of the racially defined government bureaucracy,” continued to be governed by tight government intervention. The authors do not reject the need for government “steering,” and cooperative governance with the national government for the developing country. Nonetheless, where the concept of conditional autonomyremained vague with its vision in 1996, the authors suggest that given the direction the government and NCHE have taken, there need be a rethinking of the relationship between institutions and the newly established democratic government.
European higher education
Institutions of tertiary higher education in Europe have been under reform, following the common goals and objectives to develop new models for institutional governance. Sporn (2003: 31) for
EDUCAUSEdiscusses the restructuring of higher education with “notions of new public management", which the author correlates to neoliberal economic models. The author directly relates these currents in the management of European higher educationwith the influence of U.S. models for approaching change in higher education. Changes in the United Kingdom’s system of higher education are given as examples of neoliberaleconomic models. Increased managerialism with economic privatization and minimizing internal governing structures are common themes in the restructuring of UK higher education, which entails the “erosion of the power of unions and professionals and the increased importance of managers and nonexecutive, nonelected directors (Sporn 2003: 32). In general, the new managerialismin Europe involves four different trends:
Efficiencyin finances with stronger managerial controls and deregulation of the labor market, i.e. "the Efficiency Drive".
Downsizingand Decentralization, breaking up large institutions into smaller peripherary units with a small centralized managerial core and a split between public and private funding.
Excellence, the "In Search For Excellence Model", which focuses on a more human resourceapproach to institutional change with a mix of top-down and bottom-up organization
Public Service, with the merging of both public and private managerial practices.
The European countries of
Norwayand Swedenare provided as additional examples of the new managerialism in tertiary education. Noting that the countries do differ in their approaches to institutional change from that in the United Kingdom, these examples illustrate that the changes in the governance of European higher education “can be interpreted differently in varying contexts” (Sporn 2003: 33). In both Norway and Sweden, each have emphasized restructuring based on in vogue internationaltrends with different approaches to reform that are characterized as common to continental Europe. New organizational forms for governance and leadershipwith the diversification of higher education have emphasized maintaining institutional autonomy, harmonizing institutional standards, and expanding higher education with goals related to the neoliberal market model of education. Stressing quality of learning and leadership within higher education, restructuring by way of the key catchphrases such as accountability, changing management in Europe also includes providing for human resource goals such as staff development.
Significant among these changes is the establishment of governing and coordinating boards with
decision-makingstructures for collaboration in externaland internalgovernance of higher education (as done in many states within the United States). Believing that there will be either a convergenceor divergencebetween a strong administrative managerialism and faculty involvement in governance throughout Europe, the UK and U.S., the example of the system in Austriaillustrates the potential for innovative approaches that grant autonomy to institutions with restructuring through an external board. In conclusion, Sporn (2003: 41) believes the new governing structures provide stronger leadership and management, but that institutions "should pay close attention to the role of faculty and shared governance."
hared governance and Jesuit Catholic universities
Since the 1819 U.S. Supreme Court case "
Dartmouth College v. Woodward" before the Yale Report of 1828(where the former was catalyst from the later, each of which upheld the separation of church and state) private universities in the United States generally maintain remarkable autonomy from local, state, and federal government. Questions might be raised over the role of shared governance in private education. A significant topic for discussion in "Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education", Quinn and Moore (1992-2004) support values of shared governance in Jesuit Universities. Quinn (30-31) notes the way in which Catholic colleges and universities adopted principles of shared governance throughout the 1960s. Moore (26-28) begins by noting that the concept of shared governance is often viewed as inefficient in the corporateworld. The author believes that shared governance is not a cumbersome systemof management, but necessary given the organizational dynamics and complexities of university systems.
By contrast to corporate trends, the author maintains that the corporate “one-size-fits-all” system could not effectively suit institutional needs. From which, the perspective then affirms the AAUP tradition of shared governance as a sound system of organization and management in higher education, “essential to the long term interests of colleges and universities if they wish to remain competitive and academically credible” (Moore 26-28). The way in which shared governance is realized in Catholic colleges and universities does vary from institution to institution. In
Jesuitinstitutions, when serving the role of a board member an individual of the formal order provides guidance on the philosophy of Jesuit education while facilitating “the mutuality so essential for shared governance before the law and in reality,” (Quinn: 30-31) respecting Catholic traditions with a democratic spirit of institutional governance.
2001 Kaplan Survey on higher education governance
Sponsored by the AAUP and the American Conference of Academic Deans, the 2001 Survey of Higher Education Governance is a study done by Gabriel Kaplan, a doctoral student at Harvard University interested in replicating research done by Committee T of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) thirty years ago. Available from the AAUP - [http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/issuesed/governance/gov-resources.htm] - are the general findings and the preliminary results. The findings of the report detail the method with summary of the present state of shared governance. The findings include the state of the locus of authority and reforms as well as the analysis of the challenges facing Liberal Arts Colleges with the pressures of the current economic climate (Kaplan 2001). The preliminary results contain the raw data on the landscape of governance in higher education from a population of 1303 4-year institutions in the United States, with data compiled from both administrative structures and the faculty. The survey did not include participation from any population of students.
University governance statements
American Association of University Professors
American Federation of Teachers
National Education Association
University organizations (annotated list)
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