Locus of Authority
William G. Bowen
Eugene M. Tobin
Do universities have what it takes to reform effectively from within?
Few deny that higher education faces serious problems but in LOCUS OF AUTHORITY, William G. Bowen, founding chairman of ITHAKA and former president of Princeton University and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Eugene M. Tobin, former president of Hamilton College, strike at one of the roots of the problem—university governance—and provide a roadmap to the future.
The list of concerns affecting higher education goes on and on—ever-increasing costs, low completion rates and long time to degrees, the disparity in educational outcomes by class and race, the role of technology in the 21st-century college classroom, and the ability of our colleges to educate a competent and competitive workforce. The need for substantial change is evident, but few analysts have tackled one of the key elements of the problem—governance systems that need serious rethinking.
Bowen and Tobin argue that systems of governance are by no means immutable and that change is possible and, indeed, necessary. The history of American higher education shows that governance has shifted in response to cultural and educational needs in the past, and with recent technological, financial, and cultural developments, it is time to modify some—but certainly not all—principles of shared governance.