Modelling University Governance

Higher Education Quarterly, Vol. 62, Nos. 1 & 2, pp 63-83, January/April 2008

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2008-19

21 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2009

See all articles by Leon Trakman

Leon Trakman

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 22, 2008


Twentieth century governance models used in public universities are subject to increasing doubt across the English-speaking world. Governments question if public universities are being efficiently governed; if their boards of trustees are adequately fulfilling their trust obligations towards multiple stakeholders; and if collegial models of governance are working in increasingly complex educational environments. With declining public funding for tertiary education, growing international competition among institutions of higher learning in our information age and worrisome evidence of dysfunctional governance, critics question if established governance structures are able to meet these and other challenges. Some insist that members of faculty are most suited to govern public universities because they appreciate the vision and mission of the university. Others demand that boards of governors be skilled in financial matters and drawn primarily from corporate life. Yet others call for governance based on trust and confidence between those who govern and those who are governed. The article evaluates competing trends in models of university governance in the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth and the United States. Arguing against a one-size-fits-all model, it sets out specific factors to consider in reforming governance models to meet the demands of our times.

Keywords: Legal Education

Suggested Citation

Trakman, Leon, Modelling University Governance (April 22, 2008). Higher Education Quarterly, Vol. 62, Nos. 1 & 2, pp 63-83, January/April 2008, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2008-19, Available at SSRN:

Leon Trakman (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052

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