University Trustees and the Entrepreneurial University: Inner Circles, Interlocks, and Exchanges

  • Sondra N. BarringerEmail author
  • Sheila Slaughter
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 45)


Using data from an NSF-supported project, this study examines how Association of American Universities (AAU) trustees connect research universities to the knowledge economy, the types of corporations to which they connect universities, and the density of these connections. Using internet-based research, we also examine what is exchanged between universities and corporations via these trustees. We conclude that AAU trustees are bridges between universities and corporations central to the knowledge economy and show the density of these connections has been greatly underestimated. We argue that trustees are a mechanism for building university-industry relations, and that universities (faculty and administrators) partner (engage in exchanges) with many trustees’ corporations to use research and education for entrepreneurial activity in a variety of fields. We suggest that density of connections and the nature of exchanges indicate that the boundaries that separated the university from both the economic sector and the state are being redrawn.


Trustees University-industry relationships Exchanges between universities and industry Social network analysis Association of American University (AAU) institutions United States 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Higher EducationUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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