Faculty Members on Boards of Trustees

The new issue of Academe takes a look at all aspects of governing boards. There are individual perspectives and individual institutions that get examined, but also a broader, quantitative look at how faculty participate on boards.

In 2011-2012, researchers at the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI) did a survey of faculty members who serve on boards of trustees. Including faculty on boards is often cited as a “best practice” for improved board-faculty relations, so this research is an important way to find out not only to find out how widespread this practice is, but also what effects it is having where faculty are included. Three of the people involved in that research – a professor, a grad student, and an undergrad – wrote about the study for Academe.

It’s a great source of information on a lot of different questions you could ask about boards: Which committees have the highest rates of faculty involvement? Which have the least? Which committees are faculty generally allowed to sit on, but not chair? In what areas do faculty think they have the most influence? Take a look at the full article for the answers to these and more questions.

One thought on “Faculty Members on Boards of Trustees

  1. This is a valuable study of faculty on boards of trustees, and I’m actually surprised that perhaps a quarter of colleges have a faculty member on the board. But these faculty are invariably outvoted by the other trustees. Why shouldn’t more faculty be on boards (of their own or other institutions)? As Upton Sinclair in his 1922 book The Goose-Step, argued: “The largest single group upon the board of a college should obviously be the faculty, who know most about the institution, and have its interests most at heart.”

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