Craig Shinn

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy

Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 247 pages)




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 but also 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.

Persistent Identifier