About the SurveyIn 2002, the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis at the University of Southern California conducted a national survey that analyzed perceptions of shared governance as well as functions and structure. The survey was undertaken as part of a three-year project titled “Challenges for Shared Governance: Improving Decision-Making Structure and Accountability in Higher Education.”
The research team, which included Dr. James Minor, research associate, sampled five categories of individuals from 763 colleges and universities: the campus’ chief academic officer or provost; the president or chair of the faculty governing body; and three department chairs selected from the liberal arts, the life sciences, the professional schools or the social sciences.
The response rate was 77 percent and there were 27 historically Black institutions among the sample.
Given that the number of HBCUs in 2002 was too low to allow meaningful conclusions to be drawn, Minor explains, he undertook to replicate the study on a population of historically Black institutions only.
Thus, in 2003, an identical survey instrument was distributed to 110 historically Black institutions. The results of the survey are currently being prepared for publication, but Minor was willing to share some early details with Black Issues.
The number of respondents in 2003 was 61, for a 57 percent response rate, though combining the 2002 and 2003 tallies yielded 88 institutions — a statistically significant proportion of the total. Seven of the schools surveyed were doctoral-granting institutions; 32 granted master’s degrees; and 49 granted baccalaureate degrees.
Minor notes that the survey found little difference between shared governance structures and functions at traditionally White and historically Black campuses.
“What we found is that faculty (at HBCUs) have their most substantial influence over undergraduate curriculum and tenure and promotion policies — and less influence over matters of athletics and selection of the president. That’s very similar to the 2002 sample.
“But there was one difference — at HBCUs, faculty actually have more influence over strategic and budget priorities than we found in the 2002 sample,” Minor adds. The most striking differences, however, were found on the perception side.About James Minor
Dr. James T. Minor came to the University of Southern California from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned his Ph.D. in the department of educational administration and served as a special assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs. He received his master’s in sociology from the University of Nebraska and a bachelor’s from Jackson State University.
His research interests include presidential leadership, institutional governance and decision-making and higher education policy. More details on his current work with the “Challenges for Shared Governance” research project may be found by visiting the Web site for USC’s Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis at <www.usc.edu/dept/chepa/gov/>.
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