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Selling Out

Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 350
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  • Book Info
    Selling Out
    Book Description:

    Selling Out demonstrates that the logics of value of the market and of universities are not only different but opposed to one another. By introducing the reader to a variety of cases, some well known and others not, Woodhouse explains how academic freedom and university autonomy are being subordinated to corporate demands and how faculty have attempted to resist this subjugation. He argues that the mechanistic discourse of corporate culture has replaced the language of education - subject-based disciplines and the professors who teach them have become "resource units," students have become "educational consumers," and curricula have become "program packages." Graduates are now "products" and "competing in the global economy" has replaced the search for truth.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7688-9
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    In the mid-1980s I lost my job at the University of Western Ontario. As coordinator of an office whose mission was the improvement of teaching and learning on campus, I criticized a faculty member known for his support for apartheid in South Africa in a letter to the university newspaper. He threatened to sue the paper. Having received a warning for this offence, I was later summarily dismissed for a report I had written about the future plans of the educational development office, which university administrators considered to be inadequate. Without the protection of tenure or academic freedom, I sued...

  5. 1 The Market Model of Education and the Threat to Academic Freedom
    (pp. 13-45)

    During the early 1990s, I attended a conference in Toronto, the theme of which was “the university and democracy.” Among those present were university presidents, distinguished faculty from around the world, graduate students, government officials, and several Canadian businesspeople. The declared purpose of the conference was to encourage dialogue among these different groups regarding the importance of the university in a democratic society. What actually transpired was rather different. The dominant view that emerged was that the university should be tied more closely to the market principle of monetary gain in order to serve the needs and interests of business...

  6. 2 A Marketing Professor Meets the Market
    (pp. 46-90)

    On the afternoon of 28 September 1988, Dr Vedanand made his way to the University of Manitoba Faculty Club. As one of several faculty members invited to a seminar by Xerox, he felt a certain responsibility to attend the event, the purpose of which was to enable the company “to make a brief presentation to our department and heads of other departments regarding the employment prospects of Xerox Canada for our students.”² A memorandum to this effect had been circulated by the head of the department of marketing and, since one of his areas of specialization was the marketing strategies...

  7. 3 Taking on Big Pharma
    (pp. 91-141)

    The case of Dr Nancy Olivieri has become a cause célèbre. Different authors have described it as “the greatest academic scandal of our era,” “so important to the public interest that it has attracted national and international attention,” because it “raise[s] questions about how willing medical schools and their affiliated hospitals are to resist pressure from corporate donors,” and “whether and how the pursuit of scientific truth and of profit can be reconciled with one another” given “the increasing dependence of universities on corporate funding of research.”²

    Unlike the previous case of Dr Vedanand, known mainly to faculty at the...

  8. 4 Commercializing Research and Losing Autonomy
    (pp. 142-201)

    During the mid-1990s, I came across a newspaper article claiming that costs “as high as $15 million a year”² were being transferred from the University of Saskatchewan’s operating budget to subsidize applied research for business. Tucked away on the inside pages of Saskatoon’s StarPhoenix, the article implied that the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) was actively servicing the market needs of private corporations.

    At that time, U of S, like all universities in Canada, had endured two decades of government underfunding, exacerbated by cuts to transfer payments by the federal government in the mid-1990s. This latest round of cuts...

  9. 5 Going beyond the Market: Evaluating Teaching by Evaluating Learning
    (pp. 202-226)

    One of the ways in which university teaching exemplifies the market model of education is with regard to student evaluations of teaching (sets). sets tend to indicate “customer satisfaction” rather than the extent to which learning has taken place, and they are an inaccurate measure of the quality of a professor’s teaching. Their systemic inaccuracy stems from their market orientation, at least so I argue in this chapter.

    My first experience of student questionnaires as a tool for evaluating teaching occurred during the mid-1970s. I had been hired by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario to...

  10. 6 The Value Program in Theory and Practice
    (pp. 227-243)

    I have shown, through examples, how the market model of education threatens academic freedom in Canadian universities. Faculty who speak out in opposition to the goals and values of the market currently operating within universities run the risk of punishment and dismissal. The erosion of universities’ institutional autonomy has made possible their capitulation to the demands of private corporations. Too often they have abrogated their social responsibility to question the presuppositions of the market model. The case studies I have presented also show that faculty and students have resisted the demands of the market, succeeding at times in pushing back...

  11. 7 The People’s Free University as an Alternative Model
    (pp. 244-266)

    Given everything I have written in previous chapters about the market model of education and the ways in which it has invaded universities in Canada, one might think that this trend cannot be resisted. Nothing could be further from the truth. The marketization of university research and teaching contains within it the seeds of resistance, precisely because it is opposed to the institution’s own goals, motivations, methods, and standards of excellence. Each of the case studies shows how faculty, staff, and students have refused to accept attacks on academic freedom and the autonomy of universities as “natural,” “inevitable,” or “part...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 267-338)
  13. Index
    (pp. 339-350)