At The Community Solution Education System, tapping into the value of strategic collaboration has, since our inception, been core to our organizational DNA. We’ve cultivated a distinctive system encompassing five universities and colleges, with benefits that extend far beyond expected perks like cost reductions. Below, I recommend a handful of key principles and practices that have informed the unique trajectory of success for our system.

  • Recommendation #1: Authentically embrace shared governance. Too often, individual college boards perceive a shared governance approach as a threat to local autonomy. Our model rewrites this script by recognizing the significant organizational wisdom and value that local college boards bring—not only to their own institutions but to the collective.
  • Recommendation #2: Centralize specialized, high-level talent to benefit the whole. Collectives can bring member institutions access to strengthened governance through professional expertise in areas like finance, marketing, legal, IT and HR.
  • Recommendation #3: Make stakeholder alignment a top priority. Collaboration can take many forms, but regardless of scale and structure, stakeholder enthusiasm is critical to success.
  • Recommendation #4: Eliminate unnecessary borders and break down silos. Shared governance, as outlined above, is an important first step in forging effective cooperation, but the ultimate value of a collaborative model shines brightest in day-to-day practice.
  • Recommendation #5: Make trust a systemwide value. Like any relationship, higher education partnerships depend heavily on the mutual trust of the parties involved.

Read the full article about collaboration in college governance by Michael Horowitz at Forbes.