By Claire Goldstene※
The phrase “corporatization of the university” captures the reorientation of colleges away from a primarily educational mission and toward one that resembles the financial bottom line. The evidence of this shift is myriad: the growth of for-profit degree-granting institutions, rising tuition and student debt, the pursuit of elevated rankings, disproportionate resources spent on athletic programs and sports facilities, the identification of students as “customers,” assessment of accomplishment in the classroom as that which can be quantified, a small number of highly compensated academic “superstars,” and a swelling cadre of overpaid administrators.....As [former GWU President] Trachtenberg explained, “people equate price with the value of their education.”
..... The circumstances of contingent faculty and indebted students are simultaneously emblematic of national trends toward precarious employment and long term financial anxiety amid enormous national wealth, and more deeply implicated because of the power of education to act as an egalitarian social force.
※Claire Goldstene has taught United States labor history at the University of Maryland, the University of North Florida, and American University. Her book, The Struggle for America’s Promise: Equal Opportunity at the Dawn of Corporate Capital, will appear in early 2014.