Considerations for University System Organization

Mission Identification and Prioritization at University Systems

Topics: University Systems and Governance

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With the myriad of changes and challenges currently facing higher education, many university systems may look completely different across the next few decades. This report aims to categorize present day university system organization while giving insight into its potential future. This brief discusses central and decentralized services, university missions, and the role of flagship campuses.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. University systems differentiate institutional missions to maintain campus individuality, avoid intra-system cannabalism, and distribute resources fairly.

    2. University system organizational structures vary little across states; resource centralization, however, varies widely depending on system missions and priorities.

    3. System missions range from prestige-oriented, where flagship institutions dominate resource allocation and research funding, to access-oriented, where institutions receive resources equally while emphasizing regional education priorities.

    4. Financial administrators determine funding protocols through enrollment rates and program cost metrics.

    5. Contacts report a shift in funding allocation models toward performance-based and student success-oriented processes.

    6. System administration centralizes academic resources to ensure ease of student transfer and increase inter-campus knowledge sharing.