Influences on and dimensions of English university governing body roles

28th April 2022 : 14:00 - 15:00

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Alison Wheaton, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Audience: Public

Governing bodies have been mostly overlooked in studies of university governance. Yet, the English regulatory regime re-enforces their role(s). Scholars have identified trends towards boardism along with the corporatization and laicization of university governance and raised concerns about the failure of shared governance. There is ample sector-level ‘guidance’ regarding what governing body roles should be, but little empirical evidence regarding how governors perceive their roles – and why.

This webinar reviews findings from a study which draws on interviews with over 60 governors representing a cross-section of members at five English universities. The analytical framework incorporates various governing body attributes and uses several governance theories from outside of higher education as explanatory tools. It discusses nine key governing body roles identified, which align to strategy, oversight and support clusters along with an emerging cluster regarding institutional culture. It explores five cross-cutting themes which include the emergence of new stakeholders, the importance of changing governing body composition, and differing views regarding governor support roles. It also introduces a conceptual framework of dimensions of governing body roles. Consequences of the research for policy and practice as well as considerations for future research are also explored.

This webinar is part of the free public seminar programme hosted by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE).