Southern Baptist higher education: a study of presidents and trustees with regard to governance activity perceptions and preferences



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Texas Tech University


The vast majority of higher education governance responsibilities rests within the framework of the president/board of trustee relationship. The purpose of this research was to examine the president/trustee relationship with regards to their governance activity perceptions and preferences. The study employed five research questions and forty null hypotheses in the areas of governance activity perceptions, governance activity preferences, governance activity effectiveness, and the relationship between governance activity perceptions and effectiveness.

A three part, forty-two item, content-related survey instrument was developed to gather the quantitative data. The instrument was mailed in April of 1997 to 42 presidents and 1109 trustees from 42 institutions. The institutions, as a population, represented four-year coeducational member institutions of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools. The governance activities were divided into seven content areas and one overall area which were utilized in the statistical analysis throughout all five research questions. The seven content areas were as follows: Institutional Direction, Personnel, Student Life, Finance, Educational Programs, External Affairs, and Plant and Facilities. The overall area was simply titled Overall Governance. Descriptive statistics included frequency distributions and measures of central tendencies. Inferential statistics included paired t-tests and Pearson correlations.

Results indicated that presidents and trustees differ in their perceptions of involvement in Student Life, External Affairs, and Overall Governance. They differ in preference of governance activity involvement in Student Life and External Affairs. In addition, the presidents' and trustees' difference in perception of inolvement in Finance and Overall Govemance is significantly correlated to the president's perception of effectiveness in both of those content areas. In summary, it is evident that an understanding regarding governance activity involvement is critical within the relationship of the president and the board of trustees as it is significantly correlated to the presidents' perception of overall governance effectiveness.