"Nonetheless, one element of the higher ed establishment wasted no time in condemning the ACTA report as reckless and wrong-headed. On August 21 the blog of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) described the report as calling for “unilateral trustee action” and “activism,” and the “dismantl[ing]” of shared governance. As a matter of fact, the ACTA committee did tip its collective hat to the idea of shared governance in the preface to its report:
Effective board leadership involves not only listening, but also includes acting after due deliberation, even when not everyone agrees. This does not mean that trustees unilaterally impose their will over the institution. Rather, trustees need to listen carefully to faculty concerns and become knowledgeable so that they can make highly informed decisions. When their decisions depart from faculty wishes, they must be able to articulate why that is appropriate.
Even with this caveat, it is clear that ACTA’s view of the proper role of trustees is much more muscular than the AGB’s. As the catch phrase ACTA is using to promote the study puts the point: “Trustees must have the last word.” Given the seriousness of the challenges that colleges and universities face, here’s hoping that ACTA’s reform model prevails over the business-as-usual attitude exemplified by the AGB blog post.