Policy on Collaboration in Public Higher Education



The establishing legislation for the Board of Governors assigns to the board, as one of its powers and duties, the responsibility of formulating a broad policy to implement the goals and objectives established and adopted by the Board of Governors. This ability to set policy provides the Board of Governors with a major mechanism for bringing about change.

As resources available to support public higher education have diminished compared with the increased need for this support, the Board of Governors is increasingly cognizant of the necessity of maximizing the return on all funds expended. One of the ways to increase the efficiency of the system of public higher education is to collaborate wherever possible. Although collaboration is not a new concept to the system, Rhode Island public higher education has, thus far, not capitalized on the potential strengths that could accrue if the system functioned more coherently. Having a Board of Governors policy on collaboration is a way to promote a more cooperative working relationship between and among the three institutions and the Office of Higher Education.

For the purposes of this policy, collaboration is considered to be the process of bringing as much complementarity as is feasible and fruitful into the administrative and academic operations of the system of public higher education.

The reasons for seeking additional collaboration are that it affords 

  • Presentation of the system of public higher education as a whole, rather than discrete parts
  • Motivation for working together in all administrative and academic areas
  • Reduction of unnecessary duplication
  • Economies of scale in purchasing, leasing and licensing agreements
  • Creation of a more user-friendly atmosphere, particularly for students dealing with more 
  • than one institution


The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education supports the general principle that the public institutions of higher education, Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Office of Higher Education shall collectively strive to bring into the system of public higher education as much collaboration as is possible, practical, and productive. More cohesion should be sought only in those areas where greater efficiency and simplification can be achieved. Collaboration should pervade all aspects of the operations: administrative, financial, academic, student services and development.

It is recognized that moving toward greater collaboration cannot be undertaken in all areas at the same time. But particularly when changes are contemplated, new initiatives are undertaken, or in instances where substantial opportunities exist, the potential of working together shall be considered. All applicable regulations of the Board of Governors shall be revised to reflect an emphasis on collaboration.


Council Governance
Policy Number
9/18/1997 (BG)