Faculty Governance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

By Minor, James T. | Academe, May/June 2005 | Go to article overview

Faculty Governance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities


Minor, James T., Academe


To better understand governance at HBCUs, we need studies defining the relationship between governance practices and institutional performance.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 103 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States. Although this sector of higher education represents just 3 percent of all U.S. institutions of higher education, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that HBCUs grant approximately 25 percent of the baccalaureate degrees awarded to African Americans. Educator Jacqueline Fleming's 1984 book, Blacks in College, and subsequent research show that students who attend HBCUs graduate at higher rates and report greater satisfaction with their college experience compared with African American students who attend predominantly white institutions. Similarly, an article in a 2001 issue of the Peabody Journal of Education reported that approximately threefourths of all black PhDs earn their bachelor's degrees at HBCUs. This institutional sector is thus a critically important pathway to higher education for many African Americans and contributes significantly to the social and economic balance of the country.

Despite their importance, these institutions are also the focus of much criticism. Many stories can be told about the triumphs and shortcomings of HBCUs, some of which concern their governance practices. For example, M. Christopher Brown, director of social justice for the American Educational Research Association, has suggested that HBCUs have some of the best faculty of color and offer quality education with limited resources, a tribute to institutional effectiveness. At the same time, Nancy King, co-editor of University Faculty Voice, a publication that covers HBCUs, regularly criticizes HBCUs for employing seemingly autocratic styles of leadership that violate central AAUP tenets of shared governance.

The involvement of faculty in decision making is of particular concern. Ivory Phillips, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Jackson State University, offered a scathing view of "unshared governance" at HBCUs in the July-August 2002 issue of Academe. He stated that "on virtually every [HBCU] campus on which I have talked to faculty senate leaders, the administration has also used the tactic of ridiculing and bad-mouthing the senate and its leader. Such blatant undermining of shared governance rarely occurs on white college campuses."

Given the absence of research on governance practices at HBCUs, pedestrians and bystanders in the higher education community find it difficult to assess the quality of governance at HBCUs. To help rectify this situation, in 2002 a colleague and I conducted a national study of governance at four-year colleges and universities. The institutions we sampled and surveyed included twenty-seven HBCUs. The following year, I surveyed the remaining sixty-one four-year HBCUs and combined the data. Respondents from the eighty-eight campuses included the chief academic officer (provost), the chair of the faculty senate (or formal faculty governing body), and three department chairs from different academic disciplines, whose views I counted as representative of faculty. I hope the findings I describe below will help inform and guide future discussions about decision making within this institutional sector.

Distinctive Context

When studying the institutional structure of HBCUs, one has to be mindful not to make false comparisons with predominantly white colleges and universities. Taking into account the cultural and contextual differences between the two types of institutions helps one avoid this mistake. Thus one survey item asked: "In your opinion, are HBCUs governed differently than predominantly white institutions?" More than 50 percent of respondents felt that they were, while 35 percent did not know.

Site visits to the HBCUs involved in the survey revealed that contextual dynamics such as history, race, politics, and perception influence decision-making practices. …

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

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Faculty Governance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.