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|79 pages

The Historical Context of the Development of Boards of Canadian Universities

chapter 1|17 pages


Governing Boards as a Part of University Governance

chapter 3|16 pages

Exploring University Power Structures

part II|99 pages

The Critical Analysis of Governing Boards of Canadian Universities

chapter 7|35 pages

Work of University Governing Boards

chapter 8|13 pages

The Impact of Board Governance

chapter 9|15 pages

Change and Continuity

Comparing Findings from 1994 and 2021