Academia’s for-profit Angst

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

While the academic world is overwhelmingly either non-profit or attached to state and local governments, left-leaning academics are warning of the danger of the relatively tiny for-profit sector in higher education.  “Of course, this threat to the academy does not exist within a vacuum,” Ellen Schrecker writes in the latest issue of Radical Teacher. “The infusion of market values into American higher education, as well as the heightened assault on academic freedom within the penumbra of the ‘war on terror,’ make it clear that the problems facing the nation’s campuses reflect broader forces within our society.”

“Those forces operate in many areas—from the crippling fiscal cutbacks confronting public institutions to the ideological onslaught against mainstream scholars in such fields as labor and Middle Eastern studies.”  Schrecker teaches history at Yeshiva University.

Indeed, the most recent number of Radical Teacher, “a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist journal on the theory and practice of teaching,” is devoted to “Working for dollars: studying and teaching in the corporate university.”  It features articles on:

  • Teaching in the Commercialized Community College by Keith Kroll;
  • The Leading Edge of Corporatization in Higher Ed: For-Profit Colleges by Susan O’Malley;
  • Learners and a Teacher, For Profit by Brenna Ryan; and
  • Why We Should Support Organizing in the For-Profits by Joe Berry and Helena Worthen.

Of this quintet of writers:

  • Kroll has taught for more than two-and-a-half decades in the English Department at Kalamazoo Valley Community College;
  • O’Malley was chair of the City  University of New York Faculty Senate;
  • Ryan is an attorney in upstate New York;
  • Worthen and Berry are “co-authors of numerous articles on contingent faculty.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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