Reimagining academic staff governors’ role in further education college governance

Abdulla Sodiq, Ian Abbott

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper aims to explore Academic Staff Governor (ASG)
    roles at three further education colleges in England. Uniquely,
    the research focuses on ASG activities, the understanding of
    ASG roles, and aspects of the role that can be reimagined,
    which may be of benefit to practising governors, particularly
    ASGs such as further education (FE) teacher governors. The
    study draws upon relevant literature to identify concepts
    related to governors’ roles and activities. An interpretivist
    stance is used to collect predominantly qualitative data
    through a combined methods approach, and to engage with
    ASGs and external governors. During fieldwork, qualitative
    and quantitative evidence was analysed from semi-structured
    interviews, questionnaire responses, observations of
    governance meetings and governance documents. Findings
    suggest that ASGs’ insiderness, their affiliation with other
    groups and decision-making circumstances may influence
    their governing activities. Activities rooted in operational
    settings such as professional-information giving were highly
    valued by other governors, while there were uncertainties
    about the benefit of having managerial staff as ASGs. There
    was evidence indicating uncertainty among the college staff
    regarding the role of an ASG in the colleges’ boards. As a result
    of the study, to conceptualise an ASG’s role in FE colleges, ‘The
    3 RaPs (Roles as Position/Perceived/Practice) Framework’ for
    an ASG’s role has been developed. The research recommends
    clear and specific role descriptions for ASG posts; action
    to allow more opportunities for ASGs to act as governors
    in order to transform the scope of the role. Finally, several
    recommendations are set out in order to address ASGs’
    insiderness, to promote ASGs’ professional profiles in the FE
    sector and to improve the methodological approach for use
    in similar future research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)138-157
    Number of pages20
    JournalResearch in Post-Compulsory Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 2 Jan 2018


    • Academic staff governors
    • further education
    • governance
    • organisational roles


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