It is well known that higher education institutions are complex businesses, operating in an increasingly competitive market market place, so it is crucial that an individual who takes on this responsibility understands every aspect of the role, including the challenges faced by the institution they are joining. This is also true of those involved in the important work of supporting governance in HE.
Michael Shattock sees higher education governance as: 'the constitutional forms and processes through which universities govern their affairs'. Shattock adds that while governance and management are theoretically separate functions (management is more about the preparation of policy proposals, the implementation of what has been agreed and the efficient and effective deployment of resources), however, in a higher education context they have close a interrelationship, in ways not always found in the corporate world. Governance operates at many more levels in most higher education institutions than in many other fields.
At the level of the governing body, typically higher education governance comprises:
- Ensuring accountability and effective scrutiny
- Setting strategic aims and goals
- Monitoring and measuring performance
- Appointing and ensuring the effectiveness of the head of institution/chief executive officer (CEO)