Toward Deliberative Democracy: The Institutional Forum as an Innovative Shared Governance Mechanism in South African Higher Education

  • Anne-Marea Griffin Global Advocacy Incubator
Keywords: deliberative democracy, shared governance, governance innovation, inclusion, institutional forum, higher education participation


 The aim of this article is to explore the effects of the Istitutional Forum, a recent governance innovation legislated in South Africa in 1997, as a mechanism that contributes toward the democratisation of university governance. Forums were established to confront the legacy of structured disadvantage and to reorient the educational experience towards greater horizontal accountability.The article provides commentary on the Forum’s impact vis-a-vis participative ethos and deliberative democracy against the backdrop of the South African government’s post-apartheid commitments.  Findings reveal challenges in the Forum’s make-up and implementation that are linked to its degree of influence.  Ultimately, the conclusions convey perspectives on role ambiguity and conflictual power dynamics.   

Author Biography

Anne-Marea Griffin, Global Advocacy Incubator
Dr. Anne-Marea GriffinDirector, Global Advocacy IncubatorDR. ANNE-MAREA GRIFFIN - BIO   Dr. Griffin is an American based in Africa for twenty years, and an international development professional with extensive experience in the field of grantmaking and program management for major international foundations since 1996.  She has worked to strengthen higher education in Africa, and has conducted research on the educational pipeline, leadership development, and capacity building for youth. Her background also includes policy-making and international development positions. She has studied at Harvard, Yale and Northwestern universities and earned her Doctorate in Business Administration and International Higher Education Management from the University of Bath.



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