1st Edition

The Role of University Governing Boards in Canadian Higher Education Sociological Perspectives on the Form and Functioning of Boards

By Dominik Antonowicz, Glen A. Jones Copyright 2024

    This book explores the historical and social foundations of Canadian higher education and provides a detailed analysis of university boards within this broader context of university governance. By examining rich empirical data from a sociological perspective, it offers unique insights into the role of boards, and the structures and practices that frame their work. It explores board composition, the professional backgrounds of board members, how members perceive their role, and the complex relationships between the board and the university president. The authors also compare and contrast the Canadian experience with governance reforms in Europe and other regions over recent decades.

    Drawing on multiple theoretical perspectives, the authors provide a nuanced analysis of the role of boards in terms of oversight, protecting university autonomy, representing societal interests, and dealing with increasing complexity and expectations.

    This innovative, original study makes an enormous contribution to our understanding of the role and work of Canadian university boards, and to international scholarship on higher education governance. It will appeal to scholars and researchers with interests across higher education, international and comparative education, and the sociology of education.

    Part I. The Historical Context of the Development of Boards of Canadian Universities.  1. Introduction: Governing Boards as a Part of University Governance. 2. The Social Foundation of Canadian Higher Education. 3. Exploring University Power Structures. 4. Studying University Governance in its Social Environment.  Part II. - The Critical Analysis of Governing Boards of Canadian Universities. 5. Legal Foundation and Structure of University Governing Boards. 6. Composition of University Governing Boards With an Emphasis on Lay Members. 7. Work of University Governing Boards. 8. The Impact of Board Governance. 9. Change and Continuity: Comparing Findings from 1994 and 2021.


    Glen A. Jones is the Ontario Research Chair on Postsecondary Education Policy and Measurement, Professor of Higher Education and dean emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to scholarship in the field of higher education, including an honorary degree.

    Dominik Antonowicz is a Chair of Department of Science and Higher Education, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland. Dominik specializes in policy analysis including agenda-setting, implementation and evaluation studies with a particular focus on government-university relationships, institutional governance and leadership.