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ERIC Number: ED534822
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 179
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1248-2467-3
Public Higher Education Governing Boards: The Role of Social Networks
Miller, Emily R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
A defining feature of American higher education is the provision for authority over the institution by an external governing board consisting of lay members of the public (Thelin, 2004). Studies of higher education governing boards typically focus on structure and performance (Kezar & Eckel, 2004; Kezar, 2006; McGuinness, 2003; Minor, 2006; Tierney, 2004b) as well as assume governing boards endorse institutional policies created under the leadership of the executive officer (Mintzberg, 1979). Research has yet to explore in any depth the impact of higher education governing board members as social actors. Situated in the current financial crisis and a trend of declining public investment in higher education (Fairweather, 2009, 2006; NACUBO/NCSE, 2011; Weerts & Ronca, 2006; Zumeta, 2006), the current study examines the social network patterns of governing board members at public institutions and expands the knowledge of how governing boards work. The study sought to determine whether identifiable social networks for public higher education governing board members exist, to develop an overall picture of public higher education governing board networks, and to understand the internal and external factors impacting how governing boards' function during times of fiscal crisis. This study draws upon the technique of social network analysis as a means to understand how public governing boards work. As an analytical tool, social network analysis examines the relations and patterns of relations among actors by mapping interactions and relationships (Marin & Wellman, 2010; Wasserman & Faust, 1994). Data collected from four public post-secondary governing boards from two states demonstrated that identifiable social networks did in fact exist for each governing board. Commonalities in the social networks were present across the four participating institutional governing boards. Additionally, governing board members' unanimously indicated that the recent financial crisis has created a unique period for higher education and is impacting institutional governance. Implications for theory, research, practice, and policy are discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A