Who Governs American Nonprofit Private Universities? An Analysis of Board Composition


  • Quang Chau University of Education, Vietnam National University Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Lan Hoang Department of Educational Policy & Leadership, University at Albany, State University of New York, USA
  • Minh Huynh School of Education, University of Michigan, USA



How to Cite

Chau, Q., Hoang, L., & Huynh, M. (2023). Who Governs American Nonprofit Private Universities? An Analysis of Board Composition. Vietnam Journal of Education, 7(1), 26–37. https://doi.org/10.52296/vje.2023.201


Private universities’ governing board members, commonly described as “the guardians of universities'', play a vital role in directing and connecting the universities with external organizations. However, despite their important roles, we know very little about who are board members. Hence, this study seeks to bridge that knowledge gap by examining the governing board’s demographics, more specifically their social backgrounds, professional affiliations, managerial positions, and political involvement. Fifteen US non-profit private universities with the largest philanthropic donations are selected for this study. In addition to the gender inequality in board representation, our main finding is that people with business backgrounds are pre-dominant in non-profit university boards. This provides empirical evidence for the much-discussed affinity between higher education and businesses, and thus urges scholars, policymakers as well as the public in general to rethink the role of higher education.


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How to Cite

Chau, Q., Hoang, L., & Huynh, M. (2023). Who Governs American Nonprofit Private Universities? An Analysis of Board Composition. Vietnam Journal of Education, 7(1), 26–37. https://doi.org/10.52296/vje.2023.201



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