U.S. Higher Education Governance: New Public Management Reforms and Future Predictions

Jon Maes


United States higher education involves a span of nearly four centuries stretching back to the first colleges and universities established during the Colonial Era. In focusing on New Public Management (NPM) reforms since 1975, this paper highlights important developments that have impacted decision-making on American college and university campuses in the last four decades. Utilizing de Boer, Enders and Schimank’s Governance Equalizer Model for measuring power sharing configurations across five dimensional influences, three main findings are: (1) the rise of outside forces through increased federal regulation and external guidance, (2) internal conflicts resulting from heightened managerial self-governance trading off with academic collegiality, and (3) evolving competition that includes for-profit institutions and digital technologies adding to the challenge of accumulating resources. In following these trends, predictions are offered about how U.S. higher education systems are likely to continue making improvements along NPM lines of efficiency, accountability, and quality assurance as well as the implications this has for future research.

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ISSN 2411-2445