News & Insights

Few people appear happy with the state of shared governance at American colleges and universities.



That’s how Brian Rosenberg, president of Macalester College, begins a thoughtful essay on how to reform shared governance in higher education.

Rosenberg thinks that many concerns about shared governance’s failures are overblown. Most faculty and administrators want the same thing, he says — to create an environment where student learning can flourish. But that’s not to say that governance can’t be improved.

Rosenberg’s most helpful clarification is this: Imagine two people are assigned two tasks to complete, he says. They could work together on one task and then the other, cooperating all the way. Or they could separate, each completing a single task. Whether the former or the latter strategy is better depends on the people and the tasks.

As it has evolved to this point, “shared governance” means two “people” (the faculty and the administrators) separating, each working on a different task. The faculty work on teaching and curricular issues; the administrators on the business and financial needs of the institution. But maybe that’s not the best way to complete the tasks!

Unfortunately, Rosenberg doesn’t mention the role of the board at all, and a couple of the article's commenters bring up this glaring omission.

But on the other hand, his suggestions for improving shared governance are thought-provoking and merit consideration. My favorite: Eliminate the “town meeting” style of faculty decision making in favor of a representational system. But you must read the article to see the wisdom of this.


Take a look at the article here.
Image credit


Top Topics

Roles & Responsibilities



Board Essentials

Upcoming Events

The In Trust Center hosts learning community spaces throughout the year. Check out our upcoming events below.

Strategic Partnerhips


In this on-demand webinar, Rick Staisloff, senior partner of rpk GROUP, will discuss essential aspects of strategic partnerships. He will explore current trends, identify partners, navigate the due diligence process, and addresses common challenges. In addition to technical components of partnerships, he will also examine the intangible – yet critical – elements of partnerships, such as building trust and managing relationships.

Closing the Trust Gap


The current and very troubling condition of trust is a clarion call to action. But despite the dismal data showing pervasive organizational distrust, every organization can assess their current level of trust, learn and adopt a proven trust building framework, and then develop a meaningful and long-lasting plan of action. This webinar details the knowledge and practical next steps to strengthen workplace culture as a result of closing the trust gap.

In Trust Center Resource Grants


An In Trust Center Resource Grant offers member schools a chance to explore innovation at their institutions through a matching grant opportunity of up to $15,000. Listen to this 30-minute information session, including Q&A, as we provide details on eligibility requirements, funding priorities, application process. Previous grantees are eligible to apply as long as they are not within our current funding cycle.

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

In Trust Center provides Resource Consulting to our members at no charge. Contact us today and let us guide you to the most helpful resources for your situation.

Contact Us