The question of balancing autonomy with external oversight. Autonomy versus accountability. Autonomy through accountably and that self-determination and external oversight do not have to be in conflict. Modern universities face multiple external demands. To name a few, universities are asked: to widen access and participation; ensure student learning and success; develop human capital for the labor market; advance world-class research operations; and contribute to national innovation and economic development. Developing a governance framework that allows universities to determine how they are best able to meet these demands, and which of the external expectations they are best suited to specialize in can achieve external oversight through accountability.
Brendan Cantwell is an Associate Professor and Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education Program (HALE) Program Coordinator in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University, USA. He is also coordinating editor for the international journal Higher Education. Cantwell is a higher education specialist who teaches graduate-level courses on governance, organizational theory, and comparative education. He takes a political economy approach to the study of higher education, and his work considers the relationship between macro-social structures and within-organizational process. Cantwell has authored or co-authored over 40 research articles and book chapters. He is co-author (with Barrett Taylor) of Unequal Higher Education: Wealth, Status, and Student Opportunity (2019, Rutgers University Press) and co-editor (with Simon Marginson and Anna Smolentseva) of High Participation Systems of Higher Education (2018, Oxford University Press) and Handbook of the Politics of Higher Education (with Hamish Coates and Roger King; 2019 Edward Elgar). Cantwell received a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Arizona (USA) and an MA in International Political Economy from the University of Leeds (UK).