Shared Governance

AAUP Investigating Governance Issues at UVA

On June 8, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors asked for and obtained the resignation of Teresa Sullivan from the presidency of the university without explanation to her, the other chief administrative officers, or the university’s faculty and student body of the specific grounds for its displeasure with her performance.

AAUP Hosts Governance Conference

The AAUP held its annual governance conference October 26–28, 2012, in Washington, DC. The event featured workshops, panels, a reception, and plenary addresses discussing the role of the faculty in university governance. Presenters included Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the AAUP; Larry Gerber, chair of the AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance; B.

Power and Competence

Last October, Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of the City University of New York, wrote a letter to CUNY faculty in which he claimed: “The authority for the governance of the University on all matters rests with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees has delegated a significant role to the faculty on academic matters, and the faculty have the right to exercise their professional judgment in fulfilling that role.

The Removal and Reinstatement of UVA’s President

The AAUP has published the report of its investigation into the University of Virginia governing board’s attempt last June to remove Teresa Sullivan from the university presidency. The report documents a major breakdown in governance at UVA, focusing on the role of the board of visitors and its rector, Helen Dragas, who initiated the effort to force the president’s resignation.

Faculty Communication with Governing Boards

College and university governance works best when every constituency within the institution has a clear understanding of its role with respect to the other constituencies. It works best when communication among the governing board, the administration, and the faculty (not to mention the staff and students) is regular, open, and honest. Too often the president serves as the sole conduit for the governing board and the faculty to communicate with each other. While this practice may be efficient, it rarely enhances understanding between governing boards and faculties.

Faculty Members on Boards of Trustees

During the 2011–12 academic year, a group of faculty and student researchers at the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI) gathered information on which public and private institutions had faculty members on boards of trustees and obtained the names of the faculty members serving in these roles.1 In April and May 2012, we conducted a web-based survey of those faculty trustees to learn about their experiences as board members.

The New Rules of Engagement


The many levels of hierarchy in higher education are a kaleidoscope of power struggles and egos. The responsibilities of each level can be unclear, leading to administrative chaos. Above all, trustees who overstep their authority and neglect to direct policy can weaken an institution’s mission and diminish its educational product.

Academic Leadership 2.0

In a commentary accompanying the Chronicle of Higher Education’s report on how the University of Virginia’s board of visitors abruptly forced the resignation of UVA’s president, Teresa Sullivan—and then just as abruptly reinstated her—William W.

PSC-CUNY Responds to Pathways Decision

The Professional Staff Congress, an AAUP affiliate, has issued a response to a judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit contesting a controversial new general education curriculum at the City University of New York. The curriculum, known as Pathways, waters down general ed requirements and was developed without regard for the faculty’s role in governance.

Shared Governance

Since 1916, the AAUP has been working to ensure meaningful faculty participation in institutional governance. Our first statement on the subject, emphasizing faculty involvement in personnel decisions, selection of administrators, budgeting, and determination of educational policies, was published in 1920.

Today,  AAUP staff and leaders provide advice and assistance to faculty members throughout the country on matters of academic governance. And our Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities is academia's central policy document relating to governance.


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