Oxford University is planning to set up a board of trustees - all drawn from outside - to "streamline" the way it deals with its business matters.
Colleges would be represented on the academic council
Under proposals, it could also create a 150-member academic council, bringing the 39 colleges closer together from October next year.
Vice-chancellor John Hood said the initiatives would support Oxford's "world-class teaching and research".
It was useful to "draw on appropriate external expertise", he added.
The academic council would represent colleges and departments under the chairmanship of the vice-chancellor.
This would "bring together the parallel university and college structures" currently in place, an Oxford spokesman said.
Reformers say the current system is inefficient and needs to be rationalised.
The 13-member board of trustees would oversee Oxford's finances and its "general strategy".
Dr Hood, said: "It is only in this way that we can be sure that the undoubted excellence of our research and teaching is mirrored in our governance."
Oxford needed colleges and departments feeling more "able to engage in discussions and debate on matters of policy", he added.
Last year, Michael Beloff, president of Trinity College, said the university might have to turn independent due to a lack of funding.
But Oxford's student union the comments had been "unhelpful and damaging".