Should academic capitalism shape teaching and research?
Policymakers increasingly see universities as engines of economic growth and as “incubators of innovation.” They argue that academic capitalism—an umbrella term for a variety of market-driven university ventures—is an innovative way to fund teaching, research and campus expansion in an era of tight budgets and rising tuition. They also say it benefits businesses, especially start-ups, by giving them access to campus research and facilities. Schools, the community and the economy all benefit. But critics say the close relationship between universities and the business world raises numerous ethical questions and warn that corporate funding can harm the ability of faculty to teach and research freely, two activities essential to good science and a healthy democratic society. Both sides agree that academic capitalism is here to stay and that financial realities will make it even more important to universities in the decades to come.
Berman, Elizabeth Popp, “Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine,” Princeton University Press, 2012. A sociology professor investigates how the United States reframed the role of universities as drivers of economic growth.
Breznitz, Shiri M., “The Fountain of Knowledge: The Role of Universities in Economic Development,” Stanford University Press, 2014. An economic geographer examines the interconnections between universities, technology transfer, entrepreneurialism and local economic growth.
Casper, Gerhard, “The Winds of Freedom: Addressing Challenges to the University,” Yale University Press, 2014. The author, a former Stanford University president, describes the many challenges facing the modern university from a pro-commercialization perspective.
Greenaway, David, and Chris D. Rudd, “The Business Growth Benefits of Higher Education,” Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Writing mainly about the United Kingdom, two University of Nottingham professors make a strong case for effective business and university partnerships and the benefits that collaboration can bring to the economy.
Krimsky, Sheldon, “Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research?” Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. A professor of urban and environmental policy criticizes what he regards as the overcommercialization of universities and argues ties to business sponsors can compromise research.
McMahon, Walter W., “Higher Learning, Greater Good: The Private and Social Benefits of Higher Education,” Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009. Emeritus professor of economics at the University of Illinois analyzes the benefits of postsecondary education, including its effects on earnings and on society.
Picciano, Anthony G., and Joel H. Spring, “The Great American Education-Industrial Complex: Ideology, Technology, and Profit,” Routledge, 2013. Two education policy experts from the City University of New York offer a wide-ranging critique of the many different ways that the activities and fortunes of universities, businesses, governments and other interest groups are entwined.
Belkin, Douglas, “Test Finds College Graduates Lack Skills for White-Collar Jobs,” The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 16, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Krimsky, Sheldon, “Do Financial Conflicts of Interest Bias Research? An Inquiry into the ‘Funding Effect,’” Hypothesis Science, Technology & Human Values, July 2013, pp. 566–587, http://tinyurl.com/
Mathies, Charles, and Sheila Slaughter, “University trustees as channels between academe and industry: Toward an understanding of the executive science network,” Research Policy, July-August 2013, pp. 1286–1300, http://tinyurl.com/
Morris, Catherine, “For-Profits Under Fire,” Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, Nov. 17, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
“The Economics of Higher Education: A Report Prepared by the Department of the Treasury with the Department of Education,” Department of the Treasury, December 2012, http://tinyurl.com/
“Higher Education to 2030,” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2008, http://tinyurl.com/
“OECD Education at a Glance Report,” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, July 2013, http://tinyurl.com/
“Projections of Education Statistics to 2022,” National Center for Education Statistics, Department of Education, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Altbach, Philip G., Liz Reisberg and Laura E. Rumbley, “Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution,” UNESCO, 2009, http://tinyurl.com/
Washburn, Jennifer, “Big Oil Goes to College: An Analysis of 10 Research Collaboration Contracts Between Leading Energy Companies and Major U.S. Universities,” 2010, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Moules, Jonathan, “Illinois College of Business and Coursera launch MBA Mooc,” Financial Times, May 6, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Straumsheim, Carl, “A Flexible Future,” Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 2, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
Thurm, Eric, “TV Execs Want You to Take College Classes About Their Shows,” Wired, May 13, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Browning, Dan, “From diabetes to chewing gum, private funds can drive U research,” The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, May 26, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Jackson, Simon, Ann Thomson and Stefan Nygard, “In the race to turn higher education into a market, we're ignoring lessons from history,” The Conversation, March 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Vasquez, Michael, “Politicians turn Florida into for-profit college paradise,” Miami Herald, April 23, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Anderson, Nick, “USC president seeks global reach,” The Washington Post, Feb. 2, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Jaschik, Scott, “‘Chaos and Confusion,’” Inside Higher Ed, June 1, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Palin, Adam, “Online learning: studying for an MBA in another continent,” Financial Times, March 8, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Chandler, Clay, “Miss. State finalizing R&D deal with Boeing,” The Clarion-Ledger, May 28, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Heikens, Norm, “New workforce thrust aims to boost Indy tech expertise,” Indianapolis Business Journal, April 30, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Mendoza, Martha, “Google sends its engineers back to university,” The Associated Press, The Christian Science Monitor, May 5, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
American Association of University Professors
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Association of University Technology Managers
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Professional body that supports and advances academic technology transfer around the world.
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International
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Global organization of educational institutions and businesses that conducts research and hosts conferences and events.
Center for International Higher Education
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Academic group that conducts, publishes and sponsors research into the key issues facing today's universities.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
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U.S. contact office for Paris-based group of 34 developed nations that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
Program for Research on Private Higher Education
University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY 12222
Academic unit that seeks to build knowledge about and support research on private higher education globally.
UNESCO Institute for Statistics
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Statistical branch of the multinational organization that supports learning and provides data on national and international education.