The University in a Corporate Culture


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Eric Gould

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Over the past century, higher education in the United States has developed an increasingly powerful corporate ethos, as institutions compete for students, faculty, and funding. This book examines how the liberal democratic principles driving higher education often conflict with market pressures to credential students and offer knowledge that has a clear exchange value. Eric Gould, who has been both academician and college administrator, argues that the failure to structure the curriculum so that it integrates responsible social idealism and humanism with economic and cultural needs constitutes the moral crisis of the university.

Gould analyzes the economics and politics of higher education, showing how student consumerism, culture wars, faculty alienation, trustee activism, and a split between the concepts of “culture” and “society” have all resulted from the unholy alliance between pragmatism, corporatism, and liberalism in higher education. He asserts that what is needed is a general education for undergraduates that promotes the ability to critique power relations (including those within higher education) so that students can understand how social forces—and their embodiment of ideas, ideologies, and claims for truth—shape contemporary public philosophy.

Eric Gould is professor of English at the University of Denver.

“The volume would be relevant for a wide range of higher education professionals and students. . . . A strong contribution to advanced scholarship on the modern tensions within higher education, The University in a Corporate Culture successfully blends cultural, political, and economic ideologies into an examination of complex university problems.”—Tim Merrill, Journal of Higher Education

“This well-written, well-documented book is a subtle account of the complex problems of the university.”—David Labaree, author of How to Succeed in School Without Really Learning

"Gould’s work provides information needed for serious discussion of a critical issue in higher education. Primarily for academic and larger public libraries."—Library Journal

"Provocative and original perspectives. . . . Gould’s assessment of academic commercialization is notable for its command of history and its ability to make sense of American universities’ place within the general corporatization of American life."—Steven B. Sample and Warren Bennis, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A wide-ranging, thoughtful analysis of the dilemmas vexing American higher education. . . . [Gould] survey[s] the present-day university scene with remarkable range, depth, acuity and, alas, soaring abstraction."—Peter Heinegg, America

Winner of the 2003 Frandson Book Award sponsored by the University Continuing Education Association
ISBN: 9780300209075
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
272 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4