University, Inc: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education

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9780465090518: University, Inc: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education
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Our federal and state tax dollars are going to fund higher education. If corporations kick in a little more, should they be able to dictate the research or own the discoveries?During the past two decades, commercial forces have quietly transformed virtually every aspect of academic life. Corporate funding of universities is growing and the money comes with strings attached. In return for this funding, universities and professors are acting more and more like for-profit patent factories: university funds are shifting from the humanities and the less profitable science departments into research labs, and the skill of teaching is valued less and less. Slowly but surely, universities are abandoning their traditional role as disinterested sources of education, alternative perspectives, and wisdom.This growing influence of corporations over universities affects more than just today's college students (and their parents); it compromises the future of all those whose careers depend on a university education, and all those who will be employed, governed, or taught by the products of American universities.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Washburn is currently a Fellow at the New America Foundation. Formerly a Fellow at the Open Society Institute and a senior research associate for the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research Washburn writes for The Atlantic Monthly , The Nation , Lingua Franca , the American Prospect , and other national magazines. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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American universities are the envy of the world, but they may be on the brink of discarding the very values and practices that have made them so successful, argues journalist Washburn, as secretive connections between private industry and the academy have begun to "undermine the foundation of public trust on which all universities depend." Washburn has a muckraker's keen eye for scandals and coverups; her examples of academic research suppressed in the name of corporate profits will startle readers. Not content with merely drawing back the curtains on the sordid world of the increasingly revenue-centered university, Washburn argues that the recent partnerships between schools and businesses rarely generate the financial windfall that they promise, leaving educational institutions and state legislatures with strapped resources and hollow rhetoric about creating the next Silicon Valley. While this focus on job creation (or the lack thereof) is the least sensational element of the book, it is the most timely and important, and Washburn's coup de grace is to show that even private industrial leaders and economic pragmatists like Alan Greenspan have begun to criticize the decline of traditional liberal arts education and the rise of the corporate university as economically and socially disastrous. Washburn offers a few modest and thoughtful prescriptions for saving higher education, but this book is more likely to be read for the illnesses it lucidly diagnoses. (Feb.)
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9780465090525: University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education

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ISBN 10:  0465090524 ISBN 13:  9780465090525
Publisher: Basic Books, 2006
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