Center for Studies in Higher Education
Shared Governance at the University of California: An Historical Review
- Author(s): Douglass, John A.
- et al.
Two major features in the historical development of the University of California distinguish it from other major public research universities. The first is the university's unusual status as a constitutionally designated public trust -- a designation shared by only five other major public universities. The second is the University of California's tradition of shared-governance: the concept that faculty should share in the responsibility for guiding the operation and management of the university, while preserving the authority of the university's governing board, the Regents, to ultimately set policy. Both of these organizational features of California's land-grant university, combined with a massive investment by tax payers to expand enrollment and academic programs, has resulted in a university enterprise of international distinction and vital service to the people of California. This paper provides an historical summary of the development of shared governance at the University.