Professor Goolam Mohamedbhai
Board Member, Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET), South Africa
PULSAR Programme Director, Higher Education Consultant, UK
Research-PULSAR Series, March 2014
This study reviews recent global trends in university governance and considers the extent to which, and the way in which those trends are reflected, or not, in a selection of universities in the Southern African region. Evidence for the former is based on a survey of the relevant literature; evidence for the latter is derived from PULSAR, run during 2012 by SARUA and the Leadership Foundation.
For the purpose of this study, the term ‘governance’ is restricted to the role and functions of the university’s governing board (usually referred to as council in Anglophone universities). This is in part because of the limitation of time for undertaking the study but mainly because, with regard to the challenges of autonomy and accountability facing SADC public universities, issues which PULSAR participants had to reflect upon, it is the governing board and its associated functions that play a critical role.
The deliberative and executive committee structure of a university is usually defined in the legal instruments establishing a university. This inevitably invites consideration of the distinction between governance and management. In reality, the boundary between the two is not always easily defined and this can lead to both management and governance challenges in universities. It is generally accepted that management encompasses the day-to-day operation of a university within the context of the strategies and policies established by the university’s governing body.
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