The Role of the Academic Analyst in Shared Governance

The Role of the Academic Analyst in Shared Governance

Rebecca Mathern, PhD
Associate Provost and University Registrar
Oregon State University


This abstract is a summary of a Ph.D. dissertation as titled above. The next
publication will include a summary of the findings of the research and will include an opportunity to ask questions that can be answered by the researcher. This abstract is the warm-up for the research findings article in the following months.


This research explores the roles of academic professionals in higher education, specific to how they engage in decision-making processes. Academic professionals provide important functions in higher education work but there is little in the literature about these actors and their contributions to leadership and governance. A literature review triangulated role theory, organization theory, and the shared-governance field of study to bring together actors within higher education and compare their involvement based on the shared-governance model in operation at different institutions. The researcher introduced the hypothesis that when registrars are not involved in curriculum management, there may be negative effects on student success. In the study, a survey was administered to registrars and faculty members representing nearly 200 institutions to ask about the role of the registrar in specific policies and curriculum practices. Results were measured using Fisher’s Exact Test and were interpreted through multiple qualitative approaches, including inductive analysis. Outcomes were not significant in the quantitative test results, but respondents overwhelmingly indicated that the role of the registrar in shared governance affected student success. Themes were recorded to articulate the most common reasons respondents offered for how the registrar was involved in academic policy, curriculum management, and supporting student success. Results of the inductive analysis provided several themes that pointed to unique roles for the registrar, such as leading from behind and acting as a compliance authority, even when partners do not appreciate being held to compliance standards. Implications for practice focused on the qualitative outcomes of the survey. Suggestions for future research included further review of quantitative data outcomes and exploring ideas from inductive analysis around leading from behind and acting as a compliance authority.

Rebecca Mathern, Ph. D.
Associate Provost and University Registrar at Oregon State University

Rebecca MathernRebecca Mathern has been involved in higher education for over twenty years and currently serves as the Associate Provost and University Registrar at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR where she resides with her family. Rebecca has a background at both two year and four year institutions and enjoys contributing to the Registrar community through service to AACRAO and PACRAO.


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