Given diminished governmental support, competition from private counterparts, and public demands for access to services, public universities need to respond in an effective manner to take advantage of opportunities and meet the challenges of today’s highly competitive environment. A critical factor in meeting these challenges is the manner in which these institutions are governed. Today’s governance structures must enhance institutions’ ability to generate resources from multiple sources - tuition and fees, gifts from donors, governmental support, and partnerships with the private sector. To achieve this, authority must be vested at a level where institutions can respond to challenges and opportunities in a timely and nimble fashion. The history of governance of public higher education is characterized by a wide range of models--a single governing board responsible for a single institution, a board overseeing a university with branch campuses, university systems with a single governing board for multiple universities. Changes in governance have occurred in response to difficult economic times, like the Great Depression, or the need to meet increased student demand including the surge in enrollment in the 1960s. The challenges facing today’s public universities involve not only finances but also the need to use technology to respond to student demand for instructional services and to partner with both government and the private sector. This paper proposes a governance structure for public higher education systems that reinforces the strengths of traditional models while creating opportunities to streamline governance responsibilities in order to strengthen decision making.
June 1, 2015
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
RESTRUCTURING PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION GOVERNANCE TO SUCCEED IN A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT by James Hyatt CSHE 6.15 (June 2015)