Higher Education: Social Institution or Business?
American higher education has been undergoing significant changes in recent years. These changes affect students, faculty, and administrators and involve interlocking contingencies and meta-contingencies that constitute a great part of higher education but also involve issues of social justice. Changing practices (e.g., distance learning, posttenure review) are sources of controversy and instability in contemporary American academe (Lamal, Rakos, & Greenspoon, 2000; Willis, 2001). A fundamental transformation underlying, and responsible for, many of the changing practices is the movement toward the “corporatization” of higher education. On this view, the model for higher education should be the business world, specifically the corporate world. The rationale is that by adopting the structure and practices of the corporate world, higher education will be better able to meet its current challenges. These challenges include: (a) the need to serve a wide range of students, (b) mounting costs, (c) questions regarding the occupational status and role of faculty, and (d) institutional governance.
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