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This report, commissioned by the Mayor's Advisory Task Force on the City University of New York (CUNY), examines CUNY's system of governance and concludes that it is dysfunctional from the top to the bottom. Battles for leadership among CUNY's stakeholders have become increasingly rancorous. Lines of responsibility are tangled and poorly defined. CUNY colleges often act more like independent institutions than like complementary members of a system. Despite this independence, competition fails to lead to improvement, because incentives for institutional and individual performance are weak. Although many university systems around the country are plagued by similar structural problems, CUNY's problems appear to be especially severe. Policymakers are demanding improvement in CUNY's performance of its educational mission, but they should be aware that substantial improvements in educational outcomes are unlikely to be achieved and sustained without basic reforms of governance.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Regents of the University of the State of New York

  • Chapter Three

    The CUNY Board of Trustees and Central Administration

  • Chapter Four

    A View of the Colleges from the Central Administration

  • Chapter Five

    A View from the College Presidents' Offices

  • Chapter Six

    Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Methodology

  • Appendix B

    Imputing SAT Scores

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND Education.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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