Deakin University

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The north and the south of it: academic governance in the US, England and Australia

Version 2 2024-06-13, 11:44
Version 1 2018-07-19, 11:39
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-13, 11:44 authored by JM Rowlands, Mai Tyet Ngo
This article draws on Raewyn Connell’s Southern theory and other related scholarship to undertake an analysis of scholarly literature relating to academic governance, highlighting the dominance of theoretical models by researchers from the global North. The article also draws on publicly available data from the United States (US), England and Australia on academic board composition, function and mode of establishment to show that while models of academic governance adopted within Anglophone nations originally derived from medieval Europe and then from England, the US has gone on to develop its own unique models of academic governance. In contrast, academic governance models in place in Australia continue to closely mirror those from English universities, despite some unique characteristics of Australian universities. The authors argue that Australia’s position within what Connell describes as the periphery has contributed to its failure to develop academic governance processes and practices that respond to the particular needs of Australian universities. At the same time, this positioning has engendered some critical scholarship on both academic and university governance that has contributed to the field more broadly and has shown that in general terms, current models of academic governance appear to be problematic. The article concludes by asserting that there is a need to develop new context-specific models of academic governance that account for national and local differences and that resist the temptation to implement approaches from other locations without taking adequate account of specific institutional requirements. This has practical implications for universities in the global South and, specifically, for Australian universities as well as those in the North.



Higher education research and development






Abingdon, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, HERDSA




Taylor & Francis