Decision Making in Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Defining the Governance Context *

By Minor, James T. | The Journal of Negro Education, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

Decision Making in Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Defining the Governance Context *


Minor, James T., The Journal of Negro Education


Decision-making practices at historically Black colleges and universities are the subject of healthy criticism. However, many conclusions are drawn in the absence of governance research on HBCUs. To better understand and evaluate the appropriateness of decision-making in these institutions, I use case study data to define three key contextual aspects of an HBCU that influence governance: (a) faculty traditions; (b) the paradox of mission; and (c) a racialized climate. Given these findings, I consider alternative theoretical frames to more accurately assess governance structures and decision-making practices in HBCUs.

At a time when affirmative action in higher education is under attack, considering the health of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is increasingly important (Brown & Freeman, 2004).Since their inception, these institutions have collectively championed access and opportunity for African Americans (Allen & Jewell, 2002). On a larger scale HBCUs serve an important educational, economic, and social function in America by sustaining a pipeline of educated African Americans (Brown & Davis, 2001). Additionally, African Americans who attend HBCUs demonstrate greater satisfaction with their college experience, academic achievement, and developmental gains when compared to those who attend predominately White institutions (Alien, 1992; Davis, 1991; Fleming, 1984). Although HBCUs represent just 3% of all institutions of higher education, they grant roughly 25% of baccalaureate degrees awarded to African Americans (Nettles & Perna, 1997).

Despite the accomplishments of HBCUs they are the subjects of considerable criticism within the higher education community. Presidents of historically Black colleges and universities are often accused of being autocratic and the mission of these institutions is said to compromise academic quality while upholding segregation (Hamilton, 2002). Moreover, financial instability, accreditation challenges, and questionable governance structures are constant quandaries associated with HBCUs.

However, the mission and plight of HBCUs situates them in distinctly different contexts that potentially affect campus decision-making and leadership practices (Drewry & Doermann, 2001). Decision-making contexts can be affected by structural, cultural, or situational distinctions that leaders of these institutions must take into account. If governance is the structure by which decisions are made determining the direction of a campus, then research on what affects decision making is important. While the distinctiveness of HBCUs is widely recognized, defining what contextual aspects potentially affect decision-making practices has not been a focal point of scholarship. As a way to understand the challenges associated with governance in HBCUs, this article utilizes a case study to define the decision-making context at one historically Black university. In doing so, those concerned with the status of HBCUs may be able to appraise leadership practices and institutional effectiveness. To begin, I frame the discussion by defining governance and decision making from the research literature. In the following sections, I outline the case study, define aspects of the decision-making context, and consider the ways governance is affected.

DEFINING GOVERNANCE AND DECISION-MAKING

In higher education the phrase "shared governance" is often used to suggest collaborative management of an institution (Ramo, 1998). However, the phrase can connote multiple and sometimes conflicting ideas about how a campus should make decisions. In a recent national study, Tierney and Minor (2003) found that campus constituents define shared governance in three ways:

1. Collaborative-university constituents collectively make decisions about the direction of the campus.

2. Stratified-systems of governance where certain constituents make decisions according to decision type (e.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Decision Making in Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Defining the Governance Context *
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.