NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ913243
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
ISSN: ISSN-1052-2891
Democracy, Shared Governance, and the University
Heaney, Thomas
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n128 p69-79 Win 2010
Many colleges and universities across the country are dealing with fiscal crises and other pressures by renewing their commitment to strategic planning and clarifying their institutional missions and visions. In times of upheaval and change, attention is inevitably drawn to how decisions are made and by whom. By focusing on those who have nurtured a democratic practice in the academy, this chapter aims to assist stakeholders in the nation's colleges and universities as they address the challenges of institutional governance. This research builds on a connection between adult education and democracy by exploring best practices in shared governance in a major venue of adult education--the academy. Its purpose is to enhance democratic practices within the university and encourage the creation of new structures for shared decision making. In consultation with staff at the Higher Learning Commission, the author identified four institutions seeking to involve all constituencies at the planning table as part of their participation in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). Through observation, interviews, and focus groups with representative stakeholders, he examined the strengths and weaknesses of their various approaches to and understandings of shared governance. He asked, in each instance, how shared governance balanced maximum participation with timely efficiency. Four broad themes emerged from this study: (1) There were varied interpretations of "shared governance" and its effectiveness, both between and within institutions; (2) There were common dispositions that are part of the core culture in institutions striving to involve all stakeholders; (3) There was general agreement on several structural components of shared governance; and (4) Authority and responsibility continue to be a source of tension, even in well-functioning systems.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Subscription Department, 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A