Academic Capitalism and the New Economy: Markets, State, and Higher Education

JHU Press
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As colleges and universities become more entrepreneurial in a post-industrial economy, they focus on knowledge less as a public good than as a commodity to be capitalized on in profit-oriented activities. In Academic Capitalism and the New Economy, higher education scholars Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades detail the aggressive engagement of U.S. higher education institutions in the knowledge-based economy and analyze the efforts of colleges and universities to develop, market, and sell research products, educational services, and consumer goods in the private marketplace.

Slaughter and Rhoades track changes in policy and practice, revealing new social networks and circuits of knowledge creation and dissemination, as well as new organizational structures and expanded managerial capacity to link higher education institutions and markets. They depict an ascendant academic capitalist knowledge/learning regime expressed in faculty work, departmental activity, and administrative behavior. Clarifying the regime's internal contradictions, they note the public subsidies embedded in new revenue streams and the shift in emphasis from serving student customers to leveraging resources from them.

Defining the terms of academic capitalism in the new economy, this groundbreaking study offers essential insights into the trajectory of American higher education.

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About the author

Sheila Slaughter is a professor of higher education at the University of Georgia and coauthor, with Larry L. Leslie, of Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University, also published by Johns Hopkins. Gary Rhoades is director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona and general secretary of the American Association of University Professors.

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Additional Information

Publisher
JHU Press
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Published on
Jun 1, 2009
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781421401621
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Government & Business
Business & Economics / Urban & Regional
Education / Higher
Political Science / Public Affairs & Administration
Political Science / Public Policy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Today, nearly every aspect of higher education—including student recruitment, classroom instruction, faculty research, administrative governance, and the control of intellectual property—is embedded in a political economy with links to the market and the state. Academic capitalism offers a powerful framework for understanding this relationship. Essentially, it allows us to understand higher education’s shift from creating scholarship and learning as a public good to generating knowledge as a commodity to be monetized in market activities.

In Academic Capitalism in the Age of Globalization, Brendan Cantwell and Ilkka Kauppinen assemble an international team of leading scholars to explore the profound ways in which globalization and the knowledge economy have transformed higher education around the world. The book offers an in-depth assessment of the theoretical foundations of academic capitalism, as well as new empirical insights into how the process of academic capitalism has played out. Chapters address academic capitalism from historical, transnational, national, and local perspectives. Each contributor offers fascinating insights into both new conceptual interpretations of and practical institutional and national responses to academic capitalism.

Incorporating years of research by influential theorists and building on the work of Sheila Slaughter, Larry Leslie, and Gary Rhoades, Academic Capitalism in the Age of Globalization provides a provocative update for understanding academic capitalism. The book will appeal to anyone trying to make sense of contemporary higher education.

-- Jenny J. Lee, University of Arizona
Is everything in a university for sale if the price is right? In this book, one of America's leading educators cautions that the answer is all too often "yes." Taking the first comprehensive look at the growing commercialization of our academic institutions, Derek Bok probes the efforts on campus to profit financially not only from athletics but increasingly, from education and research as well. He shows how such ventures are undermining core academic values and what universities can do to limit the damage.

Commercialization has many causes, but it could never have grown to its present state had it not been for the recent, rapid growth of money-making opportunities in a more technologically complex, knowledge-based economy. A brave new world has now emerged in which university presidents, enterprising professors, and even administrative staff can all find seductive opportunities to turn specialized knowledge into profit.


Bok argues that universities, faced with these temptations, are jeopardizing their fundamental mission in their eagerness to make money by agreeing to more and more compromises with basic academic values. He discusses the dangers posed by increased secrecy in corporate-funded research, for-profit Internet companies funded by venture capitalists, industry-subsidized educational programs for physicians, conflicts of interest in research on human subjects, and other questionable activities.


While entrepreneurial universities may occasionally succeed in the short term, reasons Bok, only those institutions that vigorously uphold academic values, even at the cost of a few lucrative ventures, will win public trust and retain the respect of faculty and students. Candid, evenhanded, and eminently readable, Universities in the Marketplace will be widely debated by all those concerned with the future of higher education in America and beyond.

Higher education finances lie at the crossroads in many Western countries. On the one hand, the surging demand of the past three or four decades, driven by a belief in higher education as a principal engine of social and economic advancement, has led to dramatic growth of the higher education systems in these countries. On the other hand, this growth in demand was accompanied by rapidly increasing per-student cost pressures at a time when governments seemed increasingly unable to keep pace with these cost pressures through public revenues. Hence, worldwide, the most common approach to the need for increasing revenue was to use some form or forms of cost sharing, or the shift of some of the higher educational per-student costs from governments and taxpayers to parents and students. This raises several important challenges to higher education systems. First, there is the political and social controversy associated with most forms of cost-sharing, particularly with tuition fees. Secondly, there are important issues in terms of the broad context of social policy, such as the role of families and students and the relationship that the state establishes with each of them. Third, there is the comparison of alternative instruments of cost-sharing and the direct and indirect effects of each of them, notably in terms of educational equality. Overall, underlying cost-sharing debates are fundamental questions about social choice, individual opportunities, and the role of government in society.
Even as the number of students attending college has more than doubled in the past forty years, it is still the case that nearly half of all college students in the United States will not complete their degree within six years. It is clear that much remains to be done toward improving student success. For more than twenty years, Vincent Tinto’s pathbreaking book Leaving College has been recognized as the definitive resource on student retention in higher education. Now, with Completing College, Tinto offers administrators a coherent framework with which to develop and implement programs to promote completion.

Deftly distilling an enormous amount of research, Tinto identifies the essential conditions enabling students to succeed and continue on within institutions. Especially during the early years, he shows that students thrive in settings that pair high expectations for success with structured academic, social, and financial support, provide frequent feedback and assessments of their performance, and promote their active involvement with other students and faculty. And while these conditions may be worked on and met at different institutional levels, Tinto points to the classroom as the center of student education and life, and therefore the primary target for institutional action.

Improving retention rates continues to be among the most widely studied fields in higher education, and Completing College carefully synthesizes the latest research and, most importantly, translates it into practical steps that administrators can take to enhance student success.
A report from the front lines of higher education and technology that chronicles efforts to transform teaching, learning, and opportunity.

Colleges and universities have become increasingly costly, and, except for a handful of highly selective, elite institutions, unresponsive to twenty-first-century needs. But for the past few years, technology-fueled innovation has begun to transform higher education, introducing new ways to disseminate knowledge and better ways to learn—all at lower cost. In this impassioned account, Richard DeMillo tells the behind-the-scenes story of these pioneering efforts and offers a roadmap for transforming higher education. Building on his earlier book, Abelard to Apple, DeMillo argues that the current system of higher education is clearly unsustainable. Colleges and universities are in financial crisis. Tuition rises inexorably. Graduates of reputable schools often fail to learn basic skills, and many cannot find suitable jobs. Meanwhile, student-loan default rates have soared while the elite Ivy and near-Ivy schools seem remote and irrelevant.

Where are the revolutionaries who can save higher education? DeMillo's heroes are a small band of innovators who are bringing the revolution in technology to colleges and universities. DeMillo chronicles, among other things, the invention of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) by professors at Stanford and MIT; Salman Khan's Khan Academy; the use of technology by struggling historically black colleges and universities to make learning more accessible; and the latest research on learning and the brain. He describes the revolution's goals and the entrenched hierarchical system it aims to overthrow; and he reframes the nature of the contract between society and its universities. The new institutions of a transformed higher education promise to demonstrate not only that education has value but also that it has values—virtues for the common good.

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