The Corporatization of Higher Education

Implications for Academic Freedom, Undergraduate Education, and Academic Labor

This brief, non-comprehensive, annotated reference list was prepared by Deborah Herman, past president of COGS (1998-2000).

Bailey, Anne Lowrey. 1988, May 18. Companies’ desire to “target” gifts threatens private-college funds. Chronicle of Higher Education 34, n36, A30-31. [Early discussion of the move for colleges to compete with one another for corporate dollars.]

Birecree, Adrienne M. 1988, July/August. Academic freedom in the academic factory. Challenge 31, n4, 53-6. [A prescient warning about the implications of corporatization on academic freedom-as most frighteningly demonstrated in the Wadman and Wheeler articles.]

Fuchsberg, Gilbert. 1988, Sept 7. Colleges are reviewing their commercial activities as businesses, state, and IRS step up scrutiny. Chronicle of Higher Education 35, n2, A25. [Interestingly, this scrutiny seems to have disappeared by the mid-1990s.]

Grassmuck, Karen. 1990, Jan 10. Ohio State U.’s top ‘salesman’: How he succeeds at getting big gifts from major corporations. Chronicle of Higher Education 36, n17, A30. [A short, but revealing look at how the corporatized university goes about achieving its financial goals.]

Herman, Deborah M. and Julie M. Schmid. Forthcoming. COGS in the Classroom Factory: The Shifting Identity of Academic Labor. Greenwood Press. [Representing both faculty and graduate employee unions from California, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ontario, and more, these essays discuss the transformations in the academic workplace and the resulting development of an academic “working-class” identity. Includes a history of the unionization campaign at the University of Iowa and the subsequent struggles of COGS to find its place in UE, a primarily blue-collar industrial union.]

Jacoby, Russell. 1991 (Spring). The greening of the university: from ivory tower to industrial park. Dissent 38, n2, 286-92. [Includes a brief review of the tuition “price-fixing” investigation conducted in the late 1980s.]

Lee, Susan & Daniel Roth. 1996, Nov 18. Educonomics. Forbes Magazine. [The analysis here is politically conservative and, in some cases, simply erroneous. It is, however, interesting and important to note the way in which the authors see universities as being corporations in their very essence-corporations whose product is the diploma. The authors lament the fact that tuition is not following the usual”market practices” associated with competition and supply and demand. Contains information on how tuition has risen disproportionate to inflation, income, and other product pricing.]

Martin, Randy (Ed.). 1998. Chalk Lines: The Politics of Work in the Managed University. Duke University Press. [A collection of essays analyzing the corporatization of higher education in a the context of the global economy and how this phenomena has created a highly stratified division of labor among academics. Topics include the attacks on tenure, the pressure “downsizing” places on professors, and the plight of adjunct faculty and graduate employees.]

Nelson, Cary (Ed.). 1997. Will Teach for Food: Academic Labor in Crisis. University of Minnesota Press. [Contains excellent histories of the graduate employee unionization movement at Yale University, as well as essays on the failure of the corporatized university to serve its community and the place of academic workers in the context of U.S. labor history.]

Press, Eyal & Jennifer Washington. 2000, March. The Kept University. The Atlantic Monthly, 39- 54. [An excellent article which touches on many of the pertinent arguments and elements of the phenomenon.]

Sanoff, Alvin P. 1995, Sept 18. The consulting game: Schools turn to outside help to target and select students. U.S. News & World Report, 119-22. [This article discusses today’s “professionalized” undergraduate recruitment practices: middle- and upper-class students who pay cash are more valuable than poorer students who come with federal grant dollars -which are strictly controlled.]

Slaughter, Sheila & Gary Rhoades. 2000 (Spring/Summer). The neo-liberal university. New Labor Forum, 73-8. [Part of a special issue entitled “Higher Education, Inc.” Several of the articles in the issue are of interest.]

Soley, Lawrence. 1995. Leasing the Ivory Tower. South End Press. [Includes a review of the Bayh-Dole legislation of the late 1980s which opened the door to corporate funding of and influence on the research agenda of universities. This book comes highly recommended by a colleague who has researched the impact of corporate involvement on the universities’ need for large capital infusions to build research facilities, one element driving rising tuition and fees.]

Wadman, Meredith. 1996, Feb 15. Commercial interests delay publication. Nature 379, 574. [Description of a major corporate donor’s attempts to prevent publication of the results of a drug study-results which showed its product was no better than a generic brand. Unfortunately, the university’s administration was less than fully supportive of the researcher academic freedom and right to publish.]

Wheeler, David L. 1997, Apr 25. Article on drug study spurs calls to resist corporate influence on research. Chronicle of Higher Education 43, n33, A16.

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