Serving statewide coordinating and governing boards in developing and sustaining excellent systems of higher education.
Systems, Governance & Leadership

SHEEO has compiled a list of links to the various state planning documents. This list consists of reports that can be found in an electronic format. For copies of reports or to reach states not listed, please see our SHEEO Agencies section.

Current Projects:

Strengthening Higher Education in America: A Message to State Governors
Four former governors, James B. Hunt, Jr., Garrey Carruthers, Frank Keating, and Richard W. Riley (who also served as U.S. Secretary of Education), recently wrote to every governor in the United States urging them to make higher education a priority and develop a state plan of action.

The SHEEO Access and Excellence Initiative: Strengthening Policy-Making Capacity
The SHEEO Access and Excellence Initiative reflects three core observations that emerged from a close, collaborative examination of the demands and challenges facing higher education at the state level.
   • Policies need to be better informed by rapidly growing information and knowledge about higher education.
   • Available knowledge resources must be shared more broadly and productively.
   • Both the expansion of our collective higher education knowledge and increased policy collaboration require new
     skills and forms of professional development.

Recommended Readings:

Charge to the Coordinating Board Texas College and University System, 1965
Governor John Connally

Changing Roles of Governing and Coordinating Boards, 2011
Gordon K. Davies, July/August 2011 edition of Change Magazine: The Magazine of Higher Learning

presented here by permission of the publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd,

Postsecondary Governance Structures Database
Education Commission of the States

The Postsecondary Governance Structures Database is a revised version of the ECS' 1997 State Postsecondary Structures Sourcebook, a comprehensive reference on state-level structures for postsecondary education governance and coordination. This print document has been transformed into a user-friendly interactive database with information about the postsecondary governance structures in each state. From this database, users can generate profiles of individual state postsecondary governance structures, comparisons of states' postsecondary governance structures, and predetermined reports on state postsecondary governance structures.

A Conversation with Nine SHEEO leaders, 1989
SHEEO & Education Commission of the States, 1989

In July 1988, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) decided to bring together a group of nine SHEEOs to discuss how their jobs were changing. Jim Mingle and Pat Callan facilitated the discussion. In 2007 it is interesting to review this interview and see what has, and what has not changed.

Strong Governors And Higher Education
Robert O. Bendahl, Professor Emeritus of Higher Education, University of Maryland, 2004

This report discusses the results of a study which answers the following questions: Should the governor be given the power to appoint not only the lay members of the state boards, but also the chief executive officer (CEO) of such boards? and Should state board CEO's sit either with the governor's cabinet, or some other state government councils that include most senior members of the executive branch agencies? Berdahl presents the current situation in Maryland along with the responses from a survey of 31 other states.

Reconciling Flexibility and Firmness in State Boundaries in Public Higher Education: Research Universities
and State Colleges

Robert O. Berdahl, Professor Emeritus of Higher Education, University of Maryland, 2002

How should higher education respond to the "free market" mentality prevalent in society? What is the balance point between flexibility and firmness in the public sector's differentiation of function? Berdahl proposes that higher education's previous anti-market position should be less rigid through three sets of policies: 1) More market freedoms in higher education but confined mainly to the procedural side, 2) Periodic state re-evaluation of institutional role and mission assignments and 3) State incentives to encourage joint doctoral degrees between cooperating institutions during the interims between periodic re-evaluation of role and mission. Recommendations are presented as a result of a survey to SHEEOs and other scholars.

Weathering the Double Whammy
Jane V. Wellman, AGB, 2002

How can colleges and universities best negotiate a volatile economy and shifting enrollments? This working report, from the AGB National Conference on Trusteeship, outlines the key steps boards can take to diagnose and act on the challenges facing their institutions. Five hundred public and private higher education trustees, academic presidents, and institution-related foundation executives joined in a conversation with four leaders on actions boards can take, including, refocusing institutional mission, assessing and integrating tuition, aid, and outreach strategies, committing to cost management and cooperation, and strengthening enrollment planning and management.
This report can be found at

State Structures for the Governance of Higher Education: A Comparative Study
Frank M. Bowen, Kathy Reeves Bracco, Patrick M. Callan, Joni E. Finney, Richard C. Richardson, Jr. and William Trombley, California Higher Education Policy Center, 1997

This report highlights the major findings from a national study on state higher education governance. It also provides information on the study methodology and research design. The study asked how states differ in the design of their governance structures, what differences in performance are related to choices of governance structures, and how structure affects the strategies available to state policy makers with regard to its higher education system.
This report can be found at

More Than Management: Guidelines for State Higher Education System Governing Boards And Their Chief Executive
by E. K. Fretwell Jr,. Chancellor Emeritus The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, June 2001

Excellent systems of higher education must be both vigorously responsive to the public interest and free from constraints that limit high achievement. This "contradiction" is not illogical -- the balancing of individual freedom and responsibility to the community is the essence of civilization. The leaders of public systems of higher education in the states are responsible for helping the academy and public officials achieve and sustain the dialogue essential to excellence in higher education.

"More than Management" thoughtfully and responsibly discusses this intricate role. Fretwell writes generally from the perspective of "system heads," the men and women who lead multi-campus university systems. Twenty-six of these system heads also are "SHEEOs," serving as the CEO of statewide governing boards for higher education. Other states, without a statewide governing board, have created coordinating boards that focus on public policy in order to help elected officials build and sustain excellent systems of higher education. Whether a system head, a SHEEO, or both, these are vitally important jobs. Those who hold these jobs, and the public officials, Board members, and institutional leaders who work with them will benefit from reading Fretwell's monograph.

"Ten Public Policy Issues for Higher Education in . . . . "
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges

Part of the "Public Policy Paper Series," this biennial series summarizing federal and state public-policy issues affecting higher education for the next two years. Its purpose is to provide board members and other higher education officials with brief descriptions of the most important public policy issues as well as a crystal-ball look at how these issues may affect their institutions.
information on This report can be found at