Dutchess Community College functions under the auspices of the State University of New York and is sponsored by Dutchess County. The College is governed by a board of trustees consisting of 10 members, four appointed by the governor of the State of New York and five by the Dutchess County legislature. The tenth member, a student trustee, is the student government president elected by the students annually.

DCC is committed to shared governance, a model that provides a structure for campus participation in planning, policy development and decision-making. The Professional Staff Organization of faculty and non-teaching educators and the Student Government Association are the primary mechanisms through which the voices of constituencies are heard.