Central Administrative Functions of University System Offices

Topics: University Systems and Governance

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This brief examines how university systems structure central administrative units. Specifically, it looks at how institutions define system components, provide administrative services to individual campuses, and allocate funds and staff across units.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. The provision of centralized services remains a key component of many university systems but can be accompanied by difficult challenges regarding the authority, enforcement, and impact of these initiatives.

    2. Institutions establish pathways for degree programs, and use software to generate schedules that limit conflicts between required courses.

    3. System administrators often find that budget constraints can simultaneously both encourage cooperation and create barriers for the generation of centralized services.