Constructing the crisis: Audience perceptions of for-profit education and institutional integrity in the closure of Dana College

  • Amanda Sladek


For-profit education is playing an increasingly important role in the educational landscape, with more and more students enrolling in these institutions. However, many within and outside higher education decry the 'corporatisation' of education, fearing that profit motives are beginning to override concerns of institutional and intellectual integrity. This article examines how narratives surrounding for-profit education shape public perception of institutional integrity and how these narratives are co-constructed by their audiences by highlighting as a case study Dana College, a small nonprofit liberal arts college that suspended operations in June 2010 after an unsuccessful attempt to transfer ownership to a for-profit entity. This case study illustrates how failing to account for conflicting, audience-dependent perceptions of educational integrity in an evolving educational landscape can jeopardise the future of higher education.