Decline in academe


  • Kim R Sawyer
  • Jackie Johnson
  • Mark Holub



When universities became corporate universities, the constraints that defined universities changed. The values of the old university, of scholarship, truth and freedom, were replaced by the values of the market. Education became a product, the university a firm, and the university system an industry. This paper considers the decline in academe as universities converge towards for-profit corporate universities. The paper explores why universities have become corporations, how they have become corporations, and how academics survive within those corporations. In the corporate university, the academic becomes accountable to management and to students. Collegiality is sacrificed for managerialism, and freedom for accountability. The academic role is inverted. The academic becomes the academic of the production line, producing standardised teaching and research. The paper suggests that the corporate university risks sacrificing too much scholarship and too much freedom for the principles of the market, thereby diluting the integrity of the university. "On his way to the Ministry, the Minister learns that there is a new hospital in Northern London that is staffed with 500 administrators and ancillary workers, but has no doctors, nurses or patients. The Minister is aghast." From The Compassionate Society. Yes Minister, BBC (1981).