University Autonomy and the Governance System


Francesc Xavier Grau Vidal


The aim of the present document is to present the author’s proposals on the reform of the governance model from a holistic and functional perspective. The first task when designing a system of governance should be to identify the function that it is to fulfil, which leads on to the question of exactly why universities are meant to be autonomous. For the good of society, universities as institutions have to guarantee that the knowledge they generate and transmit does not favour the interests of any particular group. They provide a public service that must act with autonomy. This autonomy must include all decisionmaking mechanisms, the whole system of governance, so that the public service of higher education and research can be rendered as efficiently as possible and without submitting to the influence of political, economic or religious interests. On the basis of the conclusions of the study University Autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard and the current situation of the university, research and innovation system, this study proposes a well-defined set of governance elements that cover all the dimensions of university autonomy. The study makes explicit reference to the university system in Catalonia but its conclusions and argumentation are of more general applicability.

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July 24, 2014


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