Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education

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Princeton University Press, 2003 - Education - 233 pages
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Is everything in a university for sale if the price is right? In this book, one of America's leading educators cautions that the answer is all too often "yes." Taking the first comprehensive look at the growing commercialization of our academic institutions, Derek Bok probes the efforts on campus to profit financially not only from athletics but increasingly, from education and research as well. He shows how such ventures are undermining core academic values and what universities can do to limit the damage.

Commercialization has many causes, but it could never have grown to its present state had it not been for the recent, rapid growth of money-making opportunities in a more technologically complex, knowledge-based economy. A brave new world has now emerged in which university presidents, enterprising professors, and even administrative staff can all find seductive opportunities to turn specialized knowledge into profit.

Bok argues that universities, faced with these temptations, are jeopardizing their fundamental mission in their eagerness to make money by agreeing to more and more compromises with basic academic values. He discusses the dangers posed by increased secrecy in corporate-funded research, for-profit Internet companies funded by venture capitalists, industry-subsidized educational programs for physicians, conflicts of interest in research on human subjects, and other questionable activities.

While entrepreneurial universities may occasionally succeed in the short term, reasons Bok, only those institutions that vigorously uphold academic values, even at the cost of a few lucrative ventures, will win public trust and retain the respect of faculty and students. Candid, evenhanded, and eminently readable, Universities in the Marketplace will be widely debated by all those concerned with the future of higher education in America and beyond.

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User Review  - delphica - LibraryThing

(#5 in the 2006 book challenge) This seemed like a better book before I started thinking about it. Derek Bok, former president of Harvard (ETA: Cripes, and as of yesterday afternoon, CURRENT interim ... Read full review

Universities in the marketplace: the commercialization of higher education

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

At various institutions across the country, faculty size has been reduced, and classes have been eliminated in the wake of funding cuts. So when lucrative deals from the business world rear their ugly ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Derek Bok is the 3O0th Anniversary University Professor and Faculty Chair of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University.

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