What is Shared Governance in Higher Education?

Shared governance is a system in which all stakeholders in a university or college have a say in its decision-making process. This includes faculty, staff, students, and administrators. The goal of shared governance is to create a more democratic and transparent institution.

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What is Shared Governance?

Shared governance is a system in which stakeholders in an organization work together to make decisions. In higher education, shared governance usually refers to the partnership between faculty, administrators, and students in making decisions about the direction and operation of the institution.

The concept of shared governance grew out of a need to create a more democratic system of decision-making in higher education. In the past, decisions about colleges and universities were typically made by a small group of people, usually administrators. This top-down approach to decision-making often left out the perspectives of those who are directly affected by the decisions, such as faculty and students.

Shared governance is intended to create a more equitable and inclusive system by involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process. This approach can help to ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the entire campus community, not just a small group of people.

Shared governance is not without its challenges, however. One of the biggest challenges is finding a balance between the need for timely decisions and the need for broad input from all stakeholders. Another challenge is ensuring that all voices are heard and that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.

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The History of Shared Governance

Shared governance is a system in which all members of an organization share responsibility for decision making. The term is often used in the context of higher education, where it refers to a partnership between administrators, faculty, and students in the governance of colleges and universities.

The concept of shared governance is rooted in the belief that those who are directly affected by decisions should have a voice in making them. This philosophy emerged in the late 19th century, as colleges and universities began to move away from the autocratic model of leadership that had previously been prevalent. In 1894, philosopher John Dewey called for a form of participatory democracy in which citizens would work together to solve social problems. Dewey’s ideas strongly influenced the development of shared governance in higher education.

The first successful implementation of shared governance occurred at Iowa State University in 1915. There, administrators, faculty, and students formed a tripartite committee to make decisions about campus life. This committee became known as the Experimental Station Committee, and it served as a model for similar committees at other institutions.

The idea of shared governance spread rapidly throughout the United States in the early 20th century. However, its implementation was often frustrated by tension between administrators and faculty members. In many cases, administrators embraced shared governance as a way to increase their own power, rather than sharing power with faculty and students. As a result,shared governance did not always live up to its promise of increasing democracy on college campuses.

In recent years, there has been a renewed effort to create truly democratic systems of shared governance at colleges and universities. Many administrators, faculty members, and students believe that shared governance is essential to ensuring that higher education meets the needs of all members of society

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The Pros and Cons of Shared Governance

Shared governance is a system of decision-making in which all stakeholders have a role in the process. It is often used in corporations, schools, and other organizations. In higher education, shared governance usually refers to the partnership between faculty and administrators in making decisions about the direction of the institution.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to shared governance. Some of the advantages include improved communication, more buy-in from all stakeholders, and a sense of ownership over the direction of the institution. However, shared governance can also be time-consuming and difficult to implement effectively.

What do you think? Are the benefits of shared governance worth the challenges?

The Future of Shared Governance

Shared governance is a system of participatory decision-making in which all stakeholders in an organization have a role in shaping its policies and practices. In higher education, shared governance typically refers to the relationship between faculty, administrators, and students in shaping the direction of the institution.

The concept of shared governance developed in response to the top-down model of decision-making that was prevalent in higher education for much of the 20th century. Under this model, decisions were made by a small group of administrators with little input from faculty or students. This began to change in the 1960s and 1970s as the modern civil rights movement and other factors created a more diverse and inclusive form of higher education. In recent years, shared governance has come under attack from those who see it as a hindrance to efficiency and innovation.

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The future of shared governance will likely be shaped by these competing forces. On one hand, there is a need for greater efficiency and flexibility in decision-making as higher education faces increasing financial pressure. On the other hand, there is an equally strong need for all stakeholders to have a say in the direction of the institution. It remains to be seen how these competing forces will play out in the coming years, but one thing is certain: shared governance will continue to be an important part of higher education.

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