Class Session 8

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Class Session 8

WEEK #11 (March 29, 2012)- GOVERNANCE=Leslie Bohon-Atkinson, John Drummond, Cristen McQuillan, Michael Mullin,
Casey Van Veen
== ======Topic Overview: This week we covered the topic of shared governance as a model of decision making in the higher education structure. From our class discussion as well as from the readings, we can see that shared governance is a term with many interpretations of meaning. It really falls to the institution and the individual to decide how they will adapt this term to meet their needs and demands at a particular time. The higher education environment functions with a need for collaboration between not only faculty and students, but administrators, executives, trustees, and board members as well. Shared governance seeks to include multiple roles in the decision making process, however it is often used in varying degrees and applications throughout higher education. There may not be a "right" degree of shared governance for all institutions or all situations; rather, it is best to take the principles implied in the term and adapt them to fit a particular framework.===


Class Notes/Synthesis

Class began with a discussion of shared governance. Some definitions discussed a leverage of power that is designated among individuals; everyone bringing power together to advance the institution; and a dichotomy of power between faculty/staff and administrators/state, with the balance ranging somewhere between the two. We also discussed the difference between shared governance and collaborative leadership. Shared governance seems to be more formal, ultimately leading to decisions or actions. Collaborative leadership is a more informal process that can lead to better final decisions. Leadership ideas for creating shared governance included creating open lines of communication, involving individuals with specialized knowledge and skills in policy-making, and creating a common vision. Discussion was supported by ideas from Crellin (2010), Hartley (2010), and Gayle et al. (2003). These authors noted that successful shared governance demands special attention to process. For example, Crellin (2010) urges institutions to create a positive “new” definition according to its current needs and unique characteristics. Crellin notes that groups are not resistant to change if they collaborate. Our class discussion was supported by advice given by Hartley (2010), which emphasized the importance of transparency, finding common solutions, and pre-agreement on the “facts”. Gayle et al. (2003) emphasizes the role of leaders, who must use active listening and communicated priorities. It seems the Chair of the Board of Higher Education in Massachusetts, Carlin, as cited in the Bastedo (2005) article, employed an entrepreneurial kind of leadership which mostly shunned the collaborative or shared governance approach discussed in the other articles.

Further discussion compared the AAUP and AGB governance statements. The class generally preferred AGB’s statement, which was more to-the-point and focused on collaboration. AAUP’s statement was considered vague and lofty, implying that everyone should work together. Yet, if AAUP could specify some of the ways different factions at universities could collaborate as stated in Crellin, Hartley, and Gayle et al. it may not have received such criticism.

Topics for further discussion:

  • In shared governance, how much power does the administration actually have vs. faculty/staff?
  • Could shared governance really be a utopian view? How can it be functional if everyone is trying to be in charge
  • Does shared governance make a difference because we call it that? Does it actually exist? Is it just a platitude?
  • Is the board too out of touch to be in control, or does the faculty have too much invested to be unbiased?

Terms and Definitions

The Future of Shared Governance (Crellin, 2010)
* Floating Signifier (Gary Olson) - a term so stripped of any definitive meaning that it becomes molded around the context a particular person or group decides to give it in the current moment.
* Allophilia (Pittinsky) - focusing on accentuating the factors that groups have in common with one another in order to bring them together and reduce conflict.
* Contact hypothesis (Kramer) - facilitating cooperation between departments and structuring systems to create equal status.
Reconcilable differences: Conflict and collegiality in a unionized community college environment (Hartley, 2010).

Important terms to consider for this article:
Anatol Rapoport's (1974) 3 levels of conflict:

  1. Fights – opponents seek to coerce or punish with little concern over the consequences
  2. Games – like chess, where one positions himself for advantage
  3. Debates – genuinely work with the other side and find a compromise
Challenges to University Governance (Gayle et al., 2003
*Governance – Both the structure and process of authoritative decision making across issues that are significant for external as well as internal stakeholders. Burger King governance is focused on providing a positive experience for both customers and employees, and will make decisions that consider both parties. (p.24)

*Management/Administration – Focus on the implementation of decisions only. Someone managing a Burger King is enforcing the rules, not making them. (p. 24)

*Leadership– Roles and processes through which individuals seek to influence decisions. A leader holds a role, explicit or implicit, that affects decisions in an organization. An active Burger King employee might lead the quest for higher wages, but he doesn't make the decision himself. (p. 24)

*Authentic Leadership - A leader who has attained a significant level of self-understanding and is clear about his or her priorities. See: Katniss Everdeen example below. (p. 25)
The Making of an Activist Governing Board (Bastedo, 2005).
*Institutional entrepreneurship: the application of flexible, forceful business leadership to an (academic) institution as an avenue for change

*Institutional theory: organizations are imbued with a set of shared values that render them fairly static

*Mimetic isomorphism: Adopting a pattern of organizational structure that has been adopted elsewhere; literally, "Copying a similar form."

Summary of Readings

Crellin, Matthew A. (2010). The Future of Shared Governance

Matthew A. Crellin, Director of Policy and Research at the New England Board of Higher Education


Matthew Crellin discusses the model of decision making known as shared governance that has been in use in higher education since the 1900s. He questions its capabilities in the future modern world of education. He notes that the structure of shared governance has remained fairly stagnant, while the issues facing higher education have not. He does not try to change the basic principles the model is based on, but brings to the forefront current issues facing the current model. He encourages colleges and universities to consistently rethink what they have done in the past and try to align their decision making principles to the environment they are currently working in.

|- | Matthew A. Crellin,
Director of Policy and Research at the New England Board of Higher Education

(Photo obtained from
| TAKEAWAY: Shared governance is a term and application of decision making that is important, yet needs to be evaluated for its application in changing times. Leaders should consistently evaluate the way their organization is functioning including the coordination and cooperation between departments. While the structure of shared governance is unlikely to change, like any other, it has its benefits and faults. The importance is to evaluate the term and its use and how it is applied in your specific institution. It is also important to see if the method is valued with positive meaning and support or if the majority of people have a negative connotation with the term. Shared governance can be adapted to fit the modern organization, we just need to consistently evaluate our structures and their strengths and weaknesses and try to improve where we can.

Internal and External Stresses on Shared Governance

Shared governance is what is known as a "floating signifier" term. Its meaning has been so stripped that it becomes adapted to the context an individual or group decides at any given time. This makes the term difficult to define and vague in understanding. Faculty members may believe that shared governance works by delegating the governance of the institution to the administrators, leaving them to focus on the important academics. However, some administrations may believe that faculty are important players in the decision making process and should be included.

In order to sustain shared governance, these action items need to be addressed:

  1. The academy's ability to meet escalating external changes
  2. A re-endowment of the definitions of governance through a shared taxonomy
  3. An introduction of new principles of inter-group leadership

4 Changes with the potential to reshape academic decision making (from Eckel and Kezar, 2006)

  1. Relationship between public institutions and the state government
  2. The decline in support from the public, leading to other revenue-generating activities
  3. Globalization forces new partnerships, competitors, and markets
  4. The changing academic workforce (more adjuncts, less tenure faculty)

Examples of Shared Governance in Global Age - Southern New Hampshire University

  • Crellin speaks about a new trend in modern universities.
  • Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is one case that has expanded into the market of a totally online education with their College of Online and Continuing Education (offering students an online alternative to traditional education).
  • This new program was very successful and caught on quickly - it generates a lot of revenue for the university.
  • This created some opposition from the university faculty about the program content, the delivery of the material, and the management procedures.
  • A new leader of the online program who decided to change the way the program was governed in order to incorporate the online process.
  • A new approval procedure was created for the COCE to include professors in the curriculum process, yet satisfy the administration to expedite the curriculum approval process.


  • Analysis of the situation shows that some professors still are not on board with the COCE's approval plan incorporating shared governance.
  • While the president felt that the plan was a good mix of faculty input and administrative control, some professors still feel that the program is not collaborative enough. They have bad feelings about the old ways of "chain of command" and enjoy working collaboratively.
  • In a symbolic framework, the decisions made may not be as important as what the process means to the participants. Shared Governance can have a symbolic meaning to faculty and staff with expertise who want their skills to be valued by administration.

Example of decentralized decision making and its benefits. Once the "Chef" starts delegating, the "loose systems" are able to respond quickly to the issues. Also, the professionals are applying their skills where needed. Furthermore, the sharing of power is symbolic for these participants (see "pros of decentralization" below).

Cons of Decentralized Decision Making:
- Different units could make contrasting decisions that cause conflict between departments.
- The autonomy created by decentralized decision making may cause a divide among departments and a lost sense of unity.

Pros of Decentralized Decision Making:
- Loose systems are able to respond to change with more flexibility and speed.
- Enable professionals with specialized knowledge to weigh in on issues that apply to their skill set, without having to have knowledge of all disciplines.

Intergroup Relationships and Cultural Change

  • Communication is an important component in fostering an effective governance process. A major importance should be placed on fostering cooperation between faculty and administration.
  • One classic tension that arises in shared governance is the accommodation of intergroup relationships, or lack there of. People are often viewed as specific individuals with little to no regard to the groups that coexist within the sea of individuals. (i.e. cliques, sports teams, genders, ethnicity)
  • Group unity is an important consideration because it affects the view of individuals. If a group experiences powerful group unity, the view of outsiders can be skewed negatively as competition or conflicting views.
  • Intergroup leaders need to both decrease bad feelings between groups and increase positive feelings.
  • This intergroup tension can be applied to faculty, administration, facilities management, all groups on campus that consider themselves a uniquely defined entity. These groups often cross focuses as well, and need to be able to work together.
  • Pittinsky emphasizes the role that positive attitudes have in improving tensions associated with shared governance.
  • Dr. Kramer points out that most departments rarely come into contact with each other and therefore create stereotypes of what the other is like, which can negatively affect the way they work together.
  • Most of the time groups come together to seek out points that will strengthen their interdependence. If group leaders focus on a spirit of openness and respect for the other, we can help build positive relationships.
  • Heifetz points out that people are often thought of as being resistant to change, but that is not usually the case. People are not receptive to losing things that they hold dear - they are more adaptive to change if they can see a benefit in it.
  • Two common patterns of failing to adapt to shared governance are diverting attention and displacing responsibility.

A New Term?

Kramer poses a new term to replace the somewhat muddled term of shared governance, "distributive leadership". It sounds nicer and promotes the idea of sharing leadership across the system. However, this could easily become another floating signifier with its meaning diminished over time.

Final Analysis

Shared governance is a term that is full of tradition and meaning, but the meaning has become devalued and confused over the years. Today's leaders would be wise to re-endow the term and create a new meaning that incorporates a positive meaning and a modern application. The original model is not likely to change, and has some very good working components, however, time dictates that the term be adapted to fit a changing educational system.

=Hartley, Matthew (2010). Reconcilable Differences: Conflict and Collegiality in Unionized Community College Environment=This article is a case study which examined the governance system of a large, urban community college with a unionized faculty. The research question was: what are the factors that promote or mitigate conflict between administrators and faculty in a unionized environment?

Takeaway: Conflict doesn’t have to break an institution. Our levels of conflict (fights, game, and debate; Rapoport, 1974) and understanding these levels and ways to mitigate conflict are important. Mitigation possibilities are 1) having a person who can bridge both sides and has earned the trust, 2) employing transparency, 3) agreeing on the “facts” before decision-making, 4) finding common solutions, and 5) knowing who the collaborators are and working with them on behalf of all. Understanding the levels of conflict and the mitigation possibilities cited in this article by Hartley seem to be an answer for the complaints against the Chair of the Board of Education, Carlin, cited in Bastedo's (2005) article. Notice that Bastedo warns that Boards will fail if they don't share governance.


Michael Hartley, Graduate School of Education, Higher Ed at University of Pennsylvania. Photo from

Background: “Eris Community College” is a 2-year urban community college of 6,500 students in the eastern part of the United States. It opened in 1969 to serve local, first-generation students.
The drama of the case study:

  • President “Dawson” was the first president and generally instilled a sense of purpose in his faculty. He inspired the faculty by saying that the CC would change the city in 3 generations b/c its people would be exposed to higher education more and more each generation. In time, the President became impatient because he wanted faster progress and unilaterally made the decision to hire an academic vice president. Unfortunately, this VP was dictatorial and made decisions on textbook choice and curriculum change without any faculty input. As a result, the faculty felt powerless and immediately formed a union.
  • The union gave the faculty the right to have a voice in management issues since all policies then had to go through a governance structure. Any grievance could be filed by a faculty member, a right backed by state law. Furthermore, any policy change had to go through a standing committee of administrators and union members. From there, it had to go to an executive committee, made up of union members only. This executive committee had the right to sideline proposed policies and never send them to the president, creating a de facto veto.
  • Three presidents came and went in the subsequent years, leaving the faculty feeling as if presidents were not effective in making change.

The union today – membership has dropped drastically due to full-time positions going to part-time adjuncts as well as the supposition that the standing committees will represent them. Also, the "old guard" union members are nearing retirement. Dwindling membership among the new hires worries the “old guard”. They warn the new faculty not to wait until there is a crisis to join the union.
Relations between the administrators and the union - The administration sees the union as generally interested in the well-being of the institute, but believes the union is resistant to change and inefficient, which can stifle innovation. On the other hand, the union has seen so many new academic VPs come through and make erroneous "changes" which are unmeaningful or even cumbersome.
Critical current challenges - need to operate more efficiently and generate new revenues b/c the city is providing less money to the cc. The union is cautious about these kinds of changes.
There are levels of conflict, but not the “escalating spiral of destructive confrontation” that Birnbaum (1980) warned about. Anatol Rapoport (1974) describes 3 levels of conflict:

  1. Fights – opponents seek to coerce or punish with little concern over the consequencesok_corral.jpg
  2. Games – like chess, where one positions himself for advantage
  3. Debates – genuinely work with the other side and find a compromise

Sides that do not feel they can get their way may escalate disagreement to conflict.

Factors influencing conflict
The BAD: DISTANCE (structural, conceptual, and emotional) - the CC's governance puts distance between the administration and the faculty (admin cannot directly approach the union's exec committee). Distance also causes subgroups which have different values: union wants stability and equity and administration wants innovation and flexibility (p. 332).


  • a person who can bridge. In this case, the newest academic VP can do that b/c he was formally a faculty member there and works closely with the union. Using informal ways to communicate with the other side (like friendships)
  • Transparency – the VP is transparent with files (like budgetary) and includes the union on strategy.
  • Share interpretation of the facts – agree on facts ahead of decision-making
  • Find common solutions instead of scoring for political gain
  • Know shifts in personnel to see who is committed to collaboration

There was early fear about unionizing faculty, but this seems to be overblown. Faculty unions were different from other unions. They were not united to fight for fair wages and safer working conditions. Instead, they wanted a greater voice in institutional matters. Key issues are core academic issues such as academic freedom, procedures for faculty reappointment, and teacher evaluation (Elmuti & Kathawala, 1991).

In this video, the University of Minnesota faculty, students, and community members unite against rising tuition, which they blame on the administration. From the comments, it appears the conflict has risen to the "fight" level. Although this is only a surface view, a diffusion of the tension could be employed by the administration, using positive factors cited by Hartley (2010) in this article: a person who can bridge the divide, transparency, and common solutions. In addition, sharing interpretation of the facts, such as the possibility that reduced state support may be the main cause (and perhaps not the administration's salaries), would be important to discuss with the opposing side. On the other hand, taking action on the president's salary could also be a symbolic action.

Gayle et al. (2003). Challenges to University Governance Structures.

Takeaway: University governance structures face a double-edged sword in the concept of "shared governance": should governance be allocated among the trustees, administrators and faculty, thus providing for diffuse responsibilities and slow decision making? Or, should governance be limited to an institution's board members and administrators, thus sacrificing input of and participation from faculty members? Because different members of the University community hold different concepts and ideas of "governance," "leadership," and "administration," it is crucial that organizations clearly define roles and boundaries for all governing members to make for the most effective decision-making possible.

Governance Structures in Historical Perspective

  • In colonial America, the governing board and college president had exclusive authority over all management and leadership functions
  • Leadership decisions at institutions of higher education can be very politically charged; pertain to issues such as affirmative action, academic freedom, and resource allocation.
  • University governance structures have changed in a major way since the days of practically autonomous rule by college presidents in the late nineteenth century.

Governance, Management, and Leadership

  • Effective leadership in higher education is marked by a clear understanding of the roles of governance held by faculty leaders, senior administrators, and trustees.
  • Governance – Both the structure and process of authoritative decision making across issues that are significant for external as well as internal stakeholders (p.24)
  • Management/Administration – Focus on the implementation of decisions (p. 24)
  • Leadership– Roles and processes through which individuals seek to influence decisions. (p. 24)
    • A critical aspect of governance!
    • Lee and King (2001)’s Eight Images of Leadership:
      • Genetic Leadership – The assumption that some people are born with leadership talents, others not, and only certain people can learn to lead effectively.
      • Learning to Lead – One can be an effective leader by studying leadership and practicing what he or she studied
      • Heroic Leadership – Good leaders perform courageous, wise, and benevolent feats that others cannot.
      • Leading From The Top – Leadership occurs only at or close to the top of an organization.
      • Social Script Leadership – When it is the proper time to lead, he or she will be asked to do so and should gracefully accept.
      • Position Leadership – A person with the job and title is a leader, and others will expect him to lead.
      • A Calling For Leadership – This image involves a deeply felt sense of mission, private purpose, and inevitability about the mantle of leadership.
      • A Personal Vision of Leadership – Image based on rational responses to such questions as “Who Am I?” “What do I want to become?” “How will being a leader help me to become the person I want to be?”
  • Authentic Leader– A leader who has attained a significant level of self-understanding and is clear about his or her priorities (p. 25)
    • An authentic leader is marked by:
      • Clarity concerning one’s values, priorities, and preferences
      • Acceptance of the necessity for choices and trade-offs in life
      • A strong sense of self-determination
      • Willingness to work toward aligning one’s values and behaviors
      • High degree of comfort and satisfaction with decisions made earlier in life.
      • Ability to cope with the inevitable uncertainties of organizational life

MAKING CONNECTIONS: In Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, main character Katniss Everdeen demonstrates the qualities of an authentic leader: it is clear that her family is her number one priority when she makes the ultimate trade-off by volunteering to take her sister's place in the Hunger Games, a yearly battle to the death in the fictional future dystopia of Panem. What other film and book characters can you think of who demonstrate the qualities of an authentic leader?

  • Common misconceptions of leadership:
    • Failure is harmful
    • Consistency is always important
    • Answers are more important than questions
    • Decisions should be made quickly

Shared Governance

  • The concept of shared university governance is under attack, and is often blamed for the academy’s slow response to change.
    • Shared governance is operational: to what extent is governance shared, and by whom?
    • Paradigm Paralysis – Situation of slow or no response to changing external conditions on the part of the university
      • University community members often find it difficult to adjust the way they think and behave despite external factors encouraging them to do so.
      • Shared governance provides voting faculties with primary authority over policies for admitting students, the curriculum, procedures for student instruction, standards of student and faculty competence and ethical conduct, and maintenance of the learning environment.
      • Decision-making processes then suffer from a diffusion of authority, lack of accountability, limited information, and dysfunctional time frames

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Here is a youtube video that shows clips from a 1989 program in which faculty members and university administrators convened to discuss faculty's role in governance. 23 years later, do you think that the issues surrounding university governance structures have changed? Have they remained the same?

AAUP Versus AGB Perceptions
  • Trustees, faculty members, and senior administrators tend to have different goals and objectives
    • This influences how they use and define the word “governance,” especially shared governance.
      • Tried to establish a mutual understanding as to how college and university governance should operate.
      • This statement recognized interdependence of trustees, faculties, and administrators.
      • Ultimately the AGB did not endorse this statement.
        • AGB issued its own statement on institutional governance in 1998, stating that “ultimate responsibility for the institution rests in its governing board.”
        • The opposing viewpoints offered by the organizations promoted controversy and debate on the topic of shared governance.
  • A universally accepted approach to university governance is unlikely to be achieved.

Accountability and Program Review

  • An increasing emphasis on accountability and program review poses an additional challenge to university governance.
    • Reliance on the quantitative nature of these assessments “counts the things that are countable, rather than the things that count.”
      • i.e. being able to measure student job placement rates but not more meaningful and abstract ideas of student “success.”
      • Zumeta’s principles for successful accountability:
        • Academic freedom should be maintained in teaching, research, and scholarship.
        • Policymakers should focus on outcomes, leaving institutions to control inputs and processes.
        • Accountability efforts should be guided by the premise that some important elements of higher education practice cannot be measured reliably.
        • Budgeting should not be so performance driven as to cause fiscal instability from one year to the next.
        • Higher priority should be ascribed to academic quality than to cost containment and efficiency.
        • Education policymakers and members of the academy should support rather than undermine lay “boundary groups” such as trustees and state-level higher education boards.
        • Perception of rapidly increasing tuition costs swings the “policy pendulum” farther in the direction of accountability and away from the tradition of academic autonomy and engagement.
        • There is a tendency for organizations to focus attention on affordability and financial efficiency rather than quality.
          • This attitude may tempt administrators and trustees to limit the role of faculty in governance, dismissing it as an “unaffordable luxury.”
            • This is a catch 22, as active faculty participation is essential for successful systems of accountability and program review.
            • Bank and Sweeny’s factors for a successful program review:
              • Interest and leadership by chairs, deans, and vice presidents
              • A decision-making process that fits the institutional environment
              • Simple and readily understandable structures and policies
              • Attention to each elements of the decision-making process
              • Realism about exactly what program review can contribute to institutional improvement and the manner in which it functions.

MAKING CONNECTIONS: What does this comic imply about faculty governance? Do you think this is an accurate representation? If you were to draw a comic illustrating administrative or board governance, what would it look like?

Bastedo, Michael N. (2005). The Making of an Activist Governing Board. == ====The article comprises a case study of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education from 1991-2000. Research was based on extensive interviews and review of archival materials.==

Takeaway: Bastedo describes how the personal charisma and leadership skills of James F. Carlin shaped the future of higher education in the State of Massachusetts. Through governmental support, personal relationships with board and legislative members, and Machiavellian savvy, Carlin enacted his mandate to "increase efficiency" during his tenure on the prototypically activist Board of Higher Education. Bastedo credits institutional entrepreneurship, rather than partisan action, as the driving force in Carlin's success in enacting change.

As we discussed in class, one facet of leadership is that every leader makes mistakes--the question is how to deal with them. A large part of this case study describes Carlin's strategy of making policy decisions quickly and adjusting course later if the policy showed itself to be unworkable--embracing mistakes as the normal course of business rather than as shameful failure. This is a perfect example of what Bastedo terms "Institutional entrepreneurship," as entrepreneurs in business--eventually successful ones, anyway--embrace Samuel Beckett's maxim (at right).
"Ever tried.'''''Ever failed.'''''No matter.'''''Try again.'''''Fail again.'''''Fail better."
--Samuel Beckett

Activist Boards

-"Very little is known" about the phenomenon of activist boards. Previous articles outline two theories: 1) "Revolution in corporate governance by institutional investors" trickling down to higher education (Ed. note: ethos of efficiency & corporate management theories, e.g., "Learning Organizations, TQM, etc.); and 2) a widely-held view that conservative appointees are waging partisan battle to change higher ed.
-"No specific definition of board activism currently exists." Bastedo understands board activism as a process, not as a specific set of personnel. As a definition he offers, "Those who take an independent and aggressive role in the policy-making process, resulting in organizational characteristics that are appreciably distinct from traditional boards."

Institutional Theory vs. Institutional Entrepreneurship

Inst. Theory is static, the view that orgs are imbued with a set of values that constrain organizational behavior. Institutional entrepreneurship, OTOH, is a change process involving the use of social capital, political power, and leadership skills to negotiate multiple & often conflicting demands in a way that's "disproportionately influential."

The Massachusetts BHE

-A kind of "supraboard" (Ed.'s term) comprised of 11 members appointed by the Mass. Governor to 5-year terms. The Governor selects the chair, who is removable. The BHE selects a Chancellor (executive officer).
-BHE oversees a higher ed system of 15 community colleges, 9 four-year comprehensive universities, and 5 campuses of UMass. At the beginning of the case, Mass. had no state-mandated admissions standards differentiating these schools.
-Powers: approve/disband programs; establish institutional missions and goals; require/conduct data analysis; set presidential salaries; negotiates with unions for contracts.
-UMass is more independent than other public colleges (BHE takes has "coordinating level authority" rather than "governing level authority" over the other schools.

1995: Carlin Cometh

-Serving under 2 Democratic administrations, James F. Carlin was appointed chair of the BHE in 1995 with a mandate to "Eliminate waste."
-Making waves: in 1996, moved admissions standards authority from college boards to BHE; Academic departments underwent productivity reviews (52 cut in 1996 alone); established new policies for admissions, academic affairs, financial aid, and mission differentiation were established between 1996-2000; all with little conflict from the BHE, college presidents, institutional boards, and faculty.
-Carlin received strong support from both Republican governors and the Democratic legislature.
-Strategy: used "trustee retreats" to court institutional board members. Used weak coordination among the three classes of faculty union (comm. coll/UMass/comp. university), keeping them focused mostly on tenure issues (Ed. note: c.f. Cohen, March & Olsen's "Garbage Can Theory"). BHE, its staff, and the legislature held the reins.

Intra-organizational dynamics of policy reform (Mostly, Dynamics of Carlin -Ed.)

-Stakeholders credit Mass. higher ed's reformation with Carlin's rise. Carlin was savvy and charismatic; had 10 years' experience on the board of UMass. Had a clear vision, extensive political experience, and as a self-made millionaire had "personal leadership qualities."
-Carlin's reign was divisive, but dissent was kept in the background. Political leaders, board members, and the media were his advocate (everyone with a pulpit -Ed.). Carlin dominated the board, often circumventing process & made decisions "as a leader."
-Strategy: kept in constant communication with board members (often calling multiple times per day) and members of the Mass legislature. Did not bring issues he couldn't win before the board, sounding out support ahead of time--therefore, controversy was muted. Even his detractors respected him for his skills. Had "little dinners" and kept board members feeling included & valued with constant communication, and had a "relationship with everyone who mattered in Boston" (Using HR frame to do politics! As Jefferson said, "Take things always by their smooth handle." -Ed.)
-Carlin's BHE passed policy and depended on institution presidents to implement. Did nothing to address faculty. One chancellor said Carlin used force to put thru his agenda, even though (because? -Ed.) "People don't like change."
-A typical policy would contain no exceptions, on the business principle that if needed, policy can be changed.
-Carlin's theory: to move toward solutions immediately, and if that path didn't work, change course; thus unworkable policies got enacted and were revised in the aftermath. (C.f. next week's articles on decision making; Carlin's was NOT the rational model). Because of this, institutions sometimes put their efforts into getting around policy instead of implementation.


Institutions, faculty in particular, did not approve of his approach (to put it mildly) even though he was seen as a bastion of efficient use of state funds. Campuses wanted an advocate for what they were already doing. UMass staff saw Carlin as using the media as HIS mouthpiece instead of advocating for the institution. State college faculty despised him to the point where his name became an epithet. One media piece described him as "charming to some, bombastic to others."
Staff Role
-The role of staff in policy development was significant but discounted & often credited to Carlin who relied on them for direction & expertise. E.g., admissions standards policy was started by a chancellor seated in '93 (2 years pre-Carlin); other policies were developed by staff.
-Bastedo says their support for Carlin is "unexplained" in light of Carlin's perception of them as adversaries ("They all came from the academy" ingroup/outgroup. --Ed.). However, Carlin built commitment & helped shape values.
-Several BHE staffers were dissatisfied with the state of higher ed in Mass. & saw Carlin as an agent of change, even when they doubted his methods. Staff and Carlin worked together to achieve change that was perceived as needed (Common goal overcame differences, c.f. "Great Groups", Bolman and Deal, etc. --Ed.)

Legacy in Massachusetts

Overall, Carlin & Co. left a contested & conflicted legacy.
-Access: real progress was achieved for disadvantaged students as far as the community college system; however, since remedial education was cut & admissions standards raised, these same students struggled to reach the upper echelons of higher education in Mass.
-The BHE lost clout due to perceptions that it is in bed with the legislature--Government influences the Board rather than vice versa.
-Paradoxically increased public esteem of higher education by highlighting its flaws; e.g., campuses that resisted change had their budgets cut in a public way.

National Legacy / Conclusion

-Due to the divided nature of Mass.'s Republican governor's office & Democratic legislature, theory of politicization does not explain the nature of Mass.'s activist board. Rather, institutional entrepreneurship is explanatory. Mass. adopted "mimetic isomorphism", copying California's efforts. Ergo, partisanship fails where other methods succeed.
-Bureaucratic approaches fail without political & financial support (i.e., they depend on institutional entrepreneurship --Ed.)
-Personal leadership skills led to success, otherwise it would have been difficult for the BHE to develop the clout to effect change in a well-established system.
-Further research needed on "metapolicy" required for boards to accumulate enough power to effect change.

For further exploration on the topic of governance

Leslie, D.W. (1972). Conflict management in the academy: An exploration of the issues. Journal of Higher Education, 43, 702-719.

This article is written by one of our W&M SOE professors, David Leslie, in 1972 when he was a professor at the University of Virginia. It's interesting to compare the idea of managing conflict in universities at the time he wrote this (1972) and Hartley's 2010 article. Prof. Leslie's outlook is more pessimistic about resolve! Take a look at the conclusion - interesting.
Lee, B.A. (1979). Governance at unionized four-year colleges: Effects on decision-making structures. Journal of Higher Education, 50, 565-585.

This article looks at unions at universities and reasons why they were created. Again, an older article, but it's interesting to look at issues such as disenfranchised faculty, economic concerns, personnel and academic decisions, and other internal and external factors. Particularly interesting are the conclusions - what happened to the universities after unionizing and how that affected the governance.

Carnegie, G. D., & Tuck, J. (2010). Understanding the abc of university governance. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 69, 431-441.

Carnegie, G. D., & Tuck, J. (2010). Understanding the abc of university governance.

We have closely examined issues related to college and university governance in the U.S., but what might campus leadership look like abroad? This article discusses the the challenges of governance in the context of Australian public postsecondary education. In the text, three types of university governance emerge: academic governance, business governance, and corporate governance. When reading this article, what parallels can you see between our discussion of shared governance in the U.S., and the authors' discussion of "ABC" governance in Australia?

Kiley, K. (2012, April 3). A core question. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from [[1]]

Jose Cabranes, a trustee of Columbia University, wrote a column for the university's student newspaper about why trustee dissent is rare at private institutions and the impact of that tradition on the institution. Additionally, the article brings to light the tension between the trustees' personal involvement versus financial involvement. The article discusses the Association of Governing Boards' recommendation that effective boards present only one view to the public, despite internal disagreements.


"Maybe working at Burger King isn't that bad!" (Eddy, 2012).

"I meet people on the subway and I know you're not supposed to talk to them, but I do. I'm giving out my card on the subway all the time." (Eddy, 2012).

"Institutionalization will get you every time." (Eddy, 2012)

"Wherever you go, you take yourself with you." (Eddy, 2012)