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Laura Solomon
Professor Jennifer Courtney
Writing 2010-062
2 October 2015
Higher Education or a Corporation
The main purpose of higher education should be focused on educating
citizens and developing the community as a whole. When looking at the
higher education system of the twenty-first century, we must ask ourselves,
has this main purpose shifted? Many scholarly intellectuals have addressed
this topic and have created an opinion toward higher education and its role
in society. To join this highly discussed topic among the intellectuals, one
must join the conversation by reading and understanding the main
arguments. First, I printed out and read through each article in order to find
the main topics. I then highlighted the main points each author made and
found the points of convergence between the authors. This process helped
when it came to making my visual map of the conversation. I was able to
take what I highlighted and create topics and subtopics that were commonly
discussed in each article. I wanted to make my map very simple and show
the main points of each article by color coding the topics/subtopics with their
paper. On my map I have all the articles at the top of each cluster and they
all connect to the main topic of higher education. I then went a step further
and mapped the subtopics and then found clusters/camps to organize my
map. My map addresses Academic Capitalism and the effects it has on

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students, faculty, and even the public good. Although I found many
similarities in the articles, not all of the authors had the same approach to
the problem.
To join the conversation, I want to start by discussing the topics I found
in the article Obtaining Integrity? Reviewing and Examining the Charter
between Higher Education and Society by Adrianna Kezar. I wanted to first
start with this article because it converged with many of the other articles; in
a sense, this article was like the main paper on the arguments as a whole, so
I placed it in the center of my map. Kezar argues that there has been a
decrease in value of higher education to maximize corporate profits, placing
universities as the market and the students as the consumers. She discusses
the benefits and disadvantages of having the central focus be on profits. As a
business point of view, this change in higher education could benefit
institutions because there would be an increased amount of funds so the
university would be able to expand. On the other hand, this change could be
a disadvantage toward the institutions because they are having to cut fulltime employees and hire adjunct professors in order to lower their costs, so
the value in education is lost (Kezar). A quote straight from Kezars article
simply states, If we continue to subsume the academic functions of the
university into its corporate identity, building institutions for the sake of the
institutions themselves and losing sight of the fact that it is in teaching,
research, and scholarship that universities make their distinctive social
contributions, we will impoverish the university as an institution and pave

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the way for the shift of its academic functions into a generic corporate
environment (Kezar 429). If we dont shift back the importance of higher
education then the public good will be greatly affected.
These topics of academic capitalism converge with Bob Hankes and
Alison Hearns article Out of the Ruins, the University to Come. Hanke and
Hearn support Kezars thoughts on the downfall of higher education and the
effect it has on faculty, students, and the staff members. They mention that
the change in higher education has been overlooked and denied long
enough. The faculty is being forgotten and underappreciated. Some full-time
professors have been completely replaced with part-time adjunct professors
so the value in faculty has been thrown away. Students are having to fight
for their right to education and against austerity, tyranny, neoliberalism, and
rabid global finance capital (Hanke and Hearn 11). Not to mention also,
students have lost the value of their higher education because of the
institutions efforts to maximize profits. Finally, the staff members have
become resource competitors and entrepreneurs (Hanke and Hearn 15).
The staff is searching for opportunities to grow as a large business but not
focusing on what is right. Hanke and Hearn share many of the same ideas as
Kezar but they are also strong supporters of topics like the benefits of critical
studies, the impact on students, and the effects of corrupt research. Another
article that points out the benefits of critical studies is, Destructing
Academe: The Birth of Critical University Studies written by Jeffrey Williams.
Williams focuses on many of the same topics as Hanke and Hearn such as

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escalating student debt and academic capitalism, but Williams goes more
in depth about complex thinking and the benefits of critical university
studies.
Williams discusses that learning promotes complex thinking, which is
also an idea shared by Sylvia Hurtado in her article, Linking the University
with the Educational and Civil Missions of Higher Education. Hurtado shares
that students can struggle because of the lack of diversity and complexity of
our universities. She then discusses the impact it would have on students
and the community if diversity was incorporated into the higher education
system. Working with other races can improve students democratic skills
and academic achievement (Hurtado). Also, some campus practices can help
students integrate their learning and combine experience with knowledge.
Hurtado states that diversity leads to more community involvement mutually
benefitting the community and university. Overall we can conclude that the
increase in diversity can increase complex thinking which increases the
involvement in the community which then increases the public good.
In Research and The Bottom Line in Todays University by Sarah
Bonewits and Lawrence Soley, both authors touch on some of the topics that
are in other articles, such as maximizing profits and the influence corporate
sponsors have on research. Bonewits and Soley point out the similar topic
shared by Williams and Kezar about institutions becoming large corporations.
They simply state that there are some benefits to this, but also state that
research can be controlled and manipulated (Bonewits and Soley). This idea

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also links back to Out of the Ruins, the University to Come where Hanke
and Hearn tell us that research is killing the university. The authors of both
articles agree that it is not beneficial for research to be done if it is not being
used for educational purposes. The research today is more focused on
corporate involvement than in benefiting students. This also plays into the
way higher education is affecting students. Students are missing out on the
opportunities and knowledge that a valued research process can give them.
Hanke and Hearn think it isnt right that students and faculty are having to
deal with corporations controlling all research. This idea also links to what
Kezar was saying about how institutions arent worrying about their students
education and simply just wanting to maximize profits.
Overall the main discussion is the change in higher education. Whether
this change is good or bad it is definitely having a great effect on students,
faculty, staff, and the community. There has been a prevalent decrease in
value of education and also an increase in educational costs, which results in
a decrease in benefits of receiving a higher education. Each author has a
opinion but overall the main topic was the consequences of building a
corporation instead of an institution. Kezar shares there are advantages of
corporate involvement and the money that comes with it but according to
Williams there are also disadvantages like corrupt research. Research is
being controlled and also sometimes thrown out because the results are not
what the corporate sponsors want to hear. There is plenty of evidence to
prove that universities arent nearly as focused on the education of their

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students as they once were. As a college student today, it is upsetting to


hear the downfall of higher education and it makes me worry what the future
will bring. The ways of research have changed, full-time professors are being
replaced, and students arent receiving the same quality of education as they
used to. This is why the community, faculty, and students need to stand for
what is right and bring back the fairness in higher education.

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Works Cited
Bonewits, Sarah and Lawrence Soley. Research and the Bottom Line in
Todays University. American Academic. pp. 81-92. June 2004: n.pag.
Web. 9 Sept 2015.
Hanke, Bob and Alison Hearn. Introduction: Out of the Ruins, the University
to Come. Topia. Topia 28. PP. 11-20. Summer 2012. n.pag. Web. 14
Sept 2015.
Hurtado, Sylvia. Linking Diversity with the Educational and Civic Missions of
Higher Education. The Review of Higher Education. Volume 30, No. 2,
pp. 185-196. Winter 2007. n.pag. Web. 16 Sept 2015.
Kezar, Adrianna. Obtaining Integrity? Reviewing and Examining the Charter
between Higher Education and Society. The Review of Higher
Education. Volume 27. Number 4. PP. 429-459. (Summer 2004): n.pag.
Web. 2 Sept 2015.
Williams, Jeffrey. Deconstructing Academe: The Birth of Critical University
Studies. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 19 Feb 2012. Web. 9 Sept
2015.