The dual system of shared governance between faculty and administration/governing boards in American colleges and universities has been largely attributed to the success of higher education in the country. This article reviews the history of university governance, different modes of governance among different types of higher education institutions (i.e. research universities, liberal arts colleges, public comprehensive universities and professional schools, and community colleges), as well as forces influencing university governance in the United States today. These forces consist of changes in internal and external environment of higher education. Changes in internal environment include higher education expansion, counteraction of the governing boards and administration, and the increase of part-time and non-tenured faculty. Changes in external environment include changing relations with the government, the intrusion of market forces, new demographic realities, the rise of information technology, and more accountability demanded of higher education. The article also discusses what people interested in Taiwanese university governance can learn from American higher education.