Corporatization of Colleges and Universities

“Corporatization of Higher Education” from Salon.com

The above linked article from last October is a good short piece on a few of the problems involved in the corporatization of universities.

This change in how universities are run is a huge problem. University decision-making used to be based primarily upon “learning,” which included bringing in high level tenure-track/tenured faculty (who shared in the governance of the university); materials, equipment, and teaching facilities; libraries; student academic support; and research. But, now almost all universities make decisions based on money, with learning way down the line of priorities. Advertising, distance learning (which is an abomination and a learning scam), sports and recreational (country club-like) facilities, student (resort-style) housing (where they live in fancier housing than many faculty and staff), and high administrator salaries (and too many administrators… way more than are necessary) have taken over the budget sheets. Faculty members tend to be the “enemy” as seen by administrators. Administrators create a culture of fear and use whatever tactics they can to try to intimidate and control faculty. Gone are the days of faculty governance, faculty autonomy, and academic freedom. Faculty members inflate grades to keep students happy, so that they can get high end-of-semester evaluations. These student evaluations of faculty hold way too much weight in decisions about retention, promotion, and salary increases. And, students suffer the consequences. Their learning has been trivialized and is shallow at best. And, faculty suffer, as well. They are no longer supported in issues with teaching. When students complain about language, ideas discussed, teaching style, grades, etc., administrators tend to support the students views and not the actions of the instructor or professor. Many faculty suffer from stress related health issues. And, this stress is way beyond that of doing the work (teaching, research, and service to the university community) required of the profession. The additional stress from negative treatment, fear, lack of voice, and a loss of one’s academic freedom and ability to make appropriate decisions about course content, teaching, etc. is enough to create havoc with people’s health.

About Jeff Bloom

I'm a Researcher with and am on the Advisory Board of the International Bateson Institute and am a professor emeritus with the Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education, Northern Arizona University.
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