Governance of Colleges & Universities

Governance of higher education institutions traditionally has been a responsibility shared by  faculty, administrators, and trustees.

The AAUP Committee on College and University Governance composed its first statement on the subject in 1920, emphasizing the importance of faculty involvement in personnel decisions, selection of administrators, preparation of the budget, and determination of educational policies. Refinements were introduced in subsequent years, culminating in the development of the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities.

This statement, with its call for shared responsibility among the different components of institutional government and its specification of areas of primary responsibility for governing boards, administrations, and faculties, remains the Association’s central policy document relating to academic governance. It has been supplemented over the years by a series of derivative policy statements, including those on faculty governance and academic freedom, budgetary and salary matters, financial exigency, the selection, evaluation, and retention of administrators, college athletics, governance and collective bargaining, and the faculty status of college and university librarians.

The AAUP staff provides advice and assistance to faculty members throughout the country on matters of academic governance.

The staff also receives, on behalf of the Committee on College and University Governance, complaints of departures from the Association’s recommended standards in this area. In 1991, the Association’s Council made it possible for an AAUP annual meeting to sanction an institution for “substantial noncompliance with standards of academic governance.”

The AAUP offers an award to recognize outstanding contributions to shared governance by administrators or trustees, and administers a memorial fund used to support lectures on academic freedom and shared governance at Association conferences.

See more resources on governance.

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