ERIC Number: ED469338
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002
Making the "Invisible Hand" Visible: The Case for Dialogue about Academic Capitalism.
Awbery, Susan M.
A quiet revolution is in the process of changing academe. This revolution has been termed "academic capitalism" by S. Slaughter and L. Leslie (1997). Their ideas are the springboard for a discussion of the need for a systemic view of change in postsecondary education and why all members of the academic community should become involved in the changes that are shaping the future of higher education. Academic capitalism is defined as institutional and professorial market or market-like efforts to secure external moneys. Public higher education institutions have become dependent on income sources beyond the federal government, and that process is already changing the roles, rewards, and structures of academic institutions. The major financial advantages of academic capitalism include the generation of funds to replace those lost by the decline in government funding and the increase in unrestricted funds through the generation of more tuition dollars. Nevertheless, those who believe in the "invisible hand of the market" (A. Smith, 1776/1996) must recognize the difference between short-term and long-term gains. If the way in which funds are generated leads to a loss of quality in the higher education system or results in the denial of access to a large segment of the population, long-term interests will have been surrendered to short-term goals. Academic capitalism is neither an inherent evil nor an unmitigated blessing. As a strategy with the potential to harm or benefit universities, it must be understood. There must be serious national dialogue about the quiet revolution taking place in higher education. (Contains 20 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A