Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Higher Education Administration

Major Professor

Norma Mertz

Committee Members

Jennifer Morrow


Shared governance is the foundation of governance in higher education; a process of joint decision-making whereby governing boards, administration, and faculty share a voice in institutional decision-making. The shared governance structure necessitates a relationship among the governing boards, administration, and faculty; however, scholarship on how the three bodies of shared governance interact in the governance process is limited, particularly the relationship between faculty and the governing board. A 2009 Association of Governing Boards (AGB) survey examined the relationship between governing boards and faculty to determine how they collaborate on institutional governance but included no faculty in the study. This study replicated and modified the original survey to examine faculty perceptions of their role in higher education governance and, more specifically, the perceptions of the shared governance relationship between faculty and the governing board. In contrast to the findings from the AGB survey that reported the relationship to be positive and healthy, the findings from the current study determined that faculty perceived trustees to have almost no awareness of the faculty role, to have more influence in decision-making than faculty, and limited direct engagement with faculty. The findings of this study support the literature that points to vast discrepancies in faculty and trustee perceptions of their roles. Additionally, it is reasonable to conclude based on the faculty perceptions that the shared governance structure is a necessary, but fragile model of governance. Despite the frustrations, challenges, and pervading discrepant perceptions, faculty strongly believed that an engaged working relationship between faculty and the governing board is necessary for the effective governance of institutions.

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