The Global Corporatisation of Universities: Causes and Consequences

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An Antipodean electronic journal of world affairs published by The School of Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington  [III/99] 


The Global Corporatisation of Universities: Causes and Consequences


William W. Bostock, University of Tasmania, Australia

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Seventeenth ISSED Seminar: "Higher Education and Social Conscience", University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA, June 5-8, 1998.



Abstract: The closing days of the twentieth century have seen two extraordinary developments: an information technology revolution and the end of ideological confrontation between major powers. These developments have had a profound effect on the social, political, economic and cultural organisation of humankind, often generically called globalisation, and in the field of higher education this has led in many countries to the adoption and implementation of a single paradigm of a university. This university is expected to operate like a business corporation in a market place producing and purveying technical excellence in knowledge to a large number of students and other clients. But the corporate university does have fundamental problems: first, in that the problems selected for solution through the application of technical excellence are determined by marketing considerations and therefore may not be very deep or great in significance, and second, that the organisational principles employed under this type of regime do not engender the long-term commitment of academic staff, and lastly that the human contact which is a necessary concomitant of excellent teaching and which is by its nature labour-intensive, must be reduced to the barest minimum in a cost-conscious corporatised university. Some realistic and practicable strategies to minimise educational costs of corporatisation are suggested.



Corporatisation is a process of making a State body into an independent commercial company. In many countries it has been considered appropriate to corporatise such formerly State owned providers of services such as energy, public transport, telecommunications, airports, even prisons, and more recently, institutions of higher education. Corporatisation is often the first stage in a process of privatisation where the ownership of a former State body is transferred to private individuals and institutional investors generally through the floating of shares available to the public and subsequent listing on a stock exchange. The privately owned corporation will then operate in a market place under normal commercial conditions and hopefully return a dividend and appreciate in the value of its shares.

Unlike other bodies deemed suitable for corporatisation, universities have existed for many centuries, the earliest being believed to be Alazhar in 970 AD, followed in the early 1000s by Bologna, Paris, Oxford and Cambridge. Many of the ancient universities were founded by religious orders but later became secularised with long and sometimes extremely successful histories of operating as commercial enterprises. Harvard, the oldest university in the Americas is now reported to be the world’s richest with an endowment of $6 billion.1 In Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Philippines and Taiwan, there is a tradition of private universities and in some of these countries universities are listed on the stock exchange. New private universities are being established in the UK, Australia, North America, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, even China and Vietnam. The Western European countries have seen less of this development, though Germany has one newly-established private university with more on the way. Clearly there is evidence that a process of organisational change in the form of higher education of considerable uniformity is taking place on a global scale.


Globalisation refers to a process of heightened interconnectedness between states, public and private bodies and individuals on a world-wide scale which is a consequence of the revolution in information technology (IT) which started with the building of the first computers in Britain and the USA during World War II and then the development of the Internet in the 1970s and the World Wide Web in the 1980s. Parallel to the development of IT is that of other technologies such as high density data storage, artificial intelligence, optoelectronics, sensor technology, and digital imaging technology, which have together permitted the electronic media to now provide the transfer of sound and image electronically via satellite to any part of the world, itself a development made possible by aerospace technology.


Another factor which is both a product and a cause of globalisation is the emergence since World War II of the English language to an unchallengeable position of pre-eminence among languages of wider communication.2 The effect is a globalisation of culture through homogenisation of tastes in music, dress, entertainment and lifestyle aspiration3 and so it would not surprising to see a similar globalisation in higher education.

In earlier times a remarkable degree of primitive globalisation existed, and this can be seen in the high level of standardisation among the earlier paradigms of a university. The lines of development from Plato’s academy, through the religious universities of Islam and Christendom, the Germanic model, and Newman’s ideal, to the present, though always with substantial local variation, are clear. Today’s enormous process of globalised standardisation in many areas of thought and organisation is in fact most marked in universities. In their study of the development of universities of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, Slaughter and Leslie found evidence of a high level of convergence. They also found a similar process occurring in the public universities of most Western industrialised countries ‘pushed and pulled by the same global forces at work in the English -speaking countries’.4 and it is also operating in other countries and cities such as Malaysia5 and Hong Kong.6


The Corporate University

Corporatisation means that universities are assumed to be very similar to large business organisations and therefore being capable of being run as businesses, as for example when Ford Motors entered a partnership with Ohio State University on the assumption that ‘the mission(s) of the university and the corporation are not that different.’7 Corporatised universities are expected to raise a much greater proportion of their own revenue, enter into business enterprises, acquire and hold investment portfolios, encourages partnerships with private business firms, compete with other universities in the production and marketing of courses to students who are now seen as customers, and generally engage with the market for higher education.

The corporate university has the predominating characteristics of being an institution that pursues technical excellence and as one that follows a supplier/customer model of the basic educational relationship.

The ‘commitment to excellence’ can be found in many parts of the world in such universities as City Hong Kong, Oxford, Melbourne and Montréal. Excellence in universities is not confined to academic pursuits: it is also proclaimed in such matters as housing, health and even parking.8

In the corporate university, the student is seen as a customer or client, a conception which follows logically from the visualisation of a university as a business producing and selling knowledge in the form of vocationally-oriented courses. While not intrinsically an unacademic procedure, critics of the system note that over-use of student evaluations undermines academic standards by creating a need to please and to give ever-higher grades9 and in addition, there is the consequence that they can be used to undermine the integrity and even existence of disciplines to the extent that there is a threat to the traditional subject of university education. As one critic noted

‘The intellectual capital accumulated by generations of classicists, Asianists, physicists, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, literary critics, historians, linguists and, for that matter, economists (ironically, students are fleeing economics in favour of business courses) is far too important to be surrendered to market forces driven by the preferences of eighteen-year-olds and the current needs of, for example, the tourist industry.’10


The Consequences of Corporatisation

Some of the obvious consequences of corporatisation have received much acclaim: greater access to higher education for all and especially for disadvantaged groups, greater responsiveness to demands for more ‘relevant’ courses (the view stated earlier notwithstanding) and greater involvement of universities with the communities that surround them, in other words a demolishing of the ‘ivory tower’. On closer inspection, however, some questions do arise.

Technical excellence would appear to be a suitable criterion for the purposes of a university, but the problem that arises is that the use of ‘excellence’ as an absolute standard which has the effect of placing technique above ends or values. The result of this preponderance of technique over value is the decline of the classical disciplines which can be seen occurring on a global scale. In the American context, this process has been recounted by many observers11 and has been repeated in many other countries. In Australia a group of scholars declared that ‘the idea of the intrinsic value of a liberal education has virtually been jettisoned by Australian universities’.12 In the countries where universities have been corporatised, many classics departments have been eliminated but the demise of classics is not restricted to the humanities as it is also occurring in the classical science disciplines of chemistry, physics and mathematics, where again the pure is giving way to the applied. The removal of disciplines from university curricula follows automatically from the conception that a university produces a ‘product’ that can be ‘consumed’ and if a particular productive unit has no buyers for its product, then logically it should not continue to exist. But the process of allowing the market place to determine academic priorities does bring with it problems of the credibility of standards such that one critic was of the opinion that ‘ correctly perceived as the most pressing thRreat to the traditional subject of university education in North America...’ 13

Another consequence of the corporatist paradigm is the decline of collegiality, a form of relationship where responsibility is shared, as originally by bishops in the governance of the Roman Catholic Church, and one also considered traditionally appropriate to universities. Corporatisation has undermined collegiality in two ways, firstly by removing the kind of equality that existed between individual academics through the possession of tenure14 and secondly by creating a sense of competition between universities as they confront each other in the marketplace. As with other bodies involved in economic activity, universities are forming, and being advised to form into, groups, and again, consequences harmful for the wide and free dissemination of knowledge can be discerned: ‘(t)he formation of groups of destroying collegiality across universities...’, is the conclusion a discussion group reached.15 Competitivity among universities replaces earlier paradigms of the ‘community of scholars’ in common pursuit of learning and may ultimately lead to a decrease in the generation of new knowledge. In their study of university corporatisation Slaughter and Leslie found evidence that neglect of basic research was occurring, and secrecy and confidentiality about research results was a common by-product, and in fact secrecy was often made a condition of collaboration with industry.16 Competition also raises problems of conformity and lack of creativity and the corporate state may itself lose as much as it seeks to gain.17

One of the most publicly noticeable consequences of corporatisation is that tenure or the right of academics to continuing employment has become controversial: ‘...what job other than academic has flexible hours, summers off, paid sabbaticals, a guaranteed lifetime employment regardless of performance?’18 Tenure (from the French tenir to hold) has in fact a long but highly intermittent history of application. In the mediaeval schools which evolved into universities, monks were educated beyond the level of cathedral and monastic schools, and certain privileges were claimed. In 1158 Frederick 1 Barbarossa granted the scholars of the studium generale at Bologna the privileges of protection against unjust arrest and trial before peers. In Paris in the same century another body of scholars developed and were classed as members of the clergy and demanded and received the right of trial by ecclesiastical court. The earliest known granting of tenure privileges in England dates from the formal recognition of Oxford by a papal legate in 1214.19

In Germany, there is a strong tradition of tenure, except in the periods of the Second and Third Reichs: under the latter, some 1200 academics were dismissed on grounds of race, religion, politics or any other criterion including false accusations motivated by professional jealousy20 and many later perished in concentration camps though the philosopher Jaspers was able to survive.21

In France where academics are public servants under the Ministry of Universities it is institutionalised, though there is a case at present in progress concerning the dismissal of Professor Faurisson from a chair of History at the University of Lyons on grounds of Holocaust denial.22

In countries which have adopted the British paradigm of higher education such as India it is still extremely well entrenched, while in Britain itself, and in Australia and New Zealand, tenure has recently been weakened to the extent that academics can be made redundant on administrative grounds such as ‘financial exigency’ in addition to unsatisfactory conduct. In the United States tenure has existed for many decades and was widely held to be a standard by which universities could be judged. Much pressure for tenure came from the American Association of University Professors and its Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure which first formulated its policy in 1915 during the build-up to two widely-publicised dismissals from academic positions on political grounds in the United States in 1917. These led to a strong movement for the institutionalisation of a system of tenure in that country in 1919, and also to the creation of a new institution which was to achieve great prestige, the New School for Social Research. On October 8, 1917, the famous historian Charles A. Beard resigned from Columbia University in protest over the dismissal of two colleagues, Professors Cattell and Dana, for having publicly opposed the entry of the United States into World War 1. Despite the controversy over the departure in protest of Beard and the other academics, Columbia survived but tenure became a widely-accepted policy.23 There is also recently an interesting parallel to the Faurisson case in the United States at Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill., where a Web page was published arguing, similarly to Faurisson, that the atrocities of the Holocaust have been greatly exaggerated. An untenured engineering instructor at the same University denounced this view in class, and believes that as a result, the school did not renew his contract. These cases show some of the difficulties implicit in the concept of tenure, viz. to provide protection against dismissal for the exercise of freedom of speech. Should this principle override the need to take responsibility for the views expressed? Chomsky takes the view that it does and has argued in support of Faurisson’s right to express a view with which Chomsky does not personally agree.24 One view is that academics should be seen as citizens rather than employees, ‘...tenured faculty are the citizens, and their citizenship rights include most importantly their freedom to make professional judgements of others without fear of retribution by the administration.25

This is also an example of the major challenge to the ideal of a university that is posed by the increasing use of part-time non-tenure track staff, currently estimated in the USA to be 43 per cent of all instructors and about twice as many as was the case two decades ago.26 As well as greater managerial flexibility, the use of short term-term academic staff also carries with it a level of cost savings that are an irresistible temptation for administrators who may also want to implement greater wage differentiation. Writing of the USA, Wilshire noted that part-time instructors are being employed as a method of deliberately undermining the practice of tenure with the consequence that

‘(a) permanent class of gypsy scholars threatens to be created… This practice is particularly shameful when it is also employed to compensate for exorbitant salaries paid to a few “superstars”. That market pressures should have so distorted the research university is a measure, of course, of its moral collapse.’27

Public opinion of the day was significantly disturbed by the cases of Catell and Dana, but today’s public opinion which is aware of the concept prevailing in managerial thinking of the desirability of flexibility in the labour market would possibly have less acceptance of the need for academic tenure. In the present milieu of short-term employment and ‘patchwork quilt’ careers may be seen as the norm. However, there is also a popular ideal of continuity of employment and freedom from arbitrary dismissal in any employment but particularly one where the employee has invested a prodigious amount of effort, time and money in gaining qualifications as in university teaching. Many have questioned whether the investment is worthwhile as they review the changing nature of higher education employment.28 Management theorists are sometimes found to support the view that employment practices should maximise flexibility, and that the concept of career is now obsolete. However, the widely acclaimed organisation theorist Perrow noted that despite its costs, the career principle is a sound one. Perrow saw the major factor in the tenured career model of employment as being the need to provide an incentive and guaranteed return on long-term investment in technical training and skill development.29

The decline in tenure is the other side of the policies of increasing casualisation, juniorisation and ‘churning’ of academic staff. In the USA the use of graduate students in undergraduate teaching has occurred for many decades. One report refers to a lecture class of 1,200 students being taught by a 21-year-old research student.30 The present level of ‘non- continuing’ employees in Australian universities is an estimated 40 per cent,31 strongly indicating that the same organisational dynamic is at work. As in the United States, the policy has its critics who point not only to the human costs to individuals and their families of the drive towards non-continuing or limited-term contract appointments but also the educational consequence which can only be interpreted as ‘an attack on the quality of higher education’.32 A similar situation is occurring in medicine where the family doctor is being replaced by sessional (casual) doctors, with a similar effect of not being aware of the history or personal circumstances of any particular patient. As in higher education, health care is also being corporatised, with the similar result that ‘...the current corporate context may sabotage quality initiatives.’33

Among those academics with continuing appointment, role expectations are changing considerably as the individual academic responds to corporatisation by engaging in the production and sale of educational services to a market in return for specific reward. In this they are acting as capitalists who operate from within the public sector, and can be called ‘state-subsidized entrepreneurs’.34

As the dominant paradigm of a university changes from the traditional one of ‘ivory tower’ to one of engagement with other corporations in the pursuit of wealth through industry, new priorities of academia are put in place. Michael E. Porter has been influential in bringing about this paradigm shift through the publication of his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations 35 in which he defined the new role of the university. In the relationship between industry and the university, ‘(i)ndividual academics should be the entrepreneurs’, Porter stated in a recent interview.36

Many of the consequences of corporatisation are seen in changes to the style and outcomes of university administration. Though always regarded as important, the university administrator was always considered as essentially a detached figure whose role was to uphold standards of probity in such matters as appointment, examination and the handling of money. In the corporate university, administrators are expected to behave as would the executives in any other large commercial enterprise except that the stakeholders are now the whole of society. As Porter stated ‘(e)ducation and training constitute perhaps the greatest single long-term leverage point available to all levels of government in upgrading industry.’37 and this statement has become the imperative of the administrators of corporatised universities.

Accountability is being proposed as a solution to the problem of declining standards. While superficially appearing to be a good thing, accountability has in practice the undesirable effect of reducing responsibility. This can clearly be seen in the field of medicine where some hospitals are now reported to be deliberately lowering the standard of care by removing medical equipment rather than take the risk of being held accountable for the misuse of the same medical equipment. In academia a parallel situation is coming into existence where experimental courses and methods are withdrawn rather than take the risk of possible legal action under the principle of accountability.

There are also problems of accountability to whom? In the case of university administrators, the problem is particularly acute. Is the administrator accountable to: a governing body, a government, a parliament, the courts or various administrative tribunals?38 Accountability is also applied selectively: Slaughter and Leslie report that while only one in ten of the university businesses they studied were successful, there did not seem to be any penalty attached to those responsible for the unsuccessful ones.39

The style of management in corporatised universities differs from that employed in traditional universities, not only in the emphasis on short-term employment but in the acceptable level of force in achieving organisational aims. The former administrative style of gentlemanly (admittedly sexist) collegiality among tenured and mostly respected citizens (to use Turner’s term) seems to have given way to a more robust even cut-throat style known as managerialism. While deploring the dichotomy between collegiality and managerialism, Coaldrake and Stedman assert the need for a managerialist ‘…contemporary university management is a complex amalgam of approach

administration, academic decision making, financial management, strategic planning and marketing, residing in a large organisation with multiple stakeholders and subject to ongoing shifts in priorities and demands.’ 40

The new paradigm of university administration, with its emphasis on flexibility and avoidance of committees, carries with it an increased risk of corruption and malpractice that the earlier paradigms strove so hard to eliminate. It is interesting to note that the University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest and possibly most prestigious, has felt impelled to institute a code of conduct and an anti-corruption strategy in what the Vice-Chancellor described as an attempt to ‘foster an atmosphere of honesty and fairness.’41

The Causes of Corporatisation

As has been seen, corporatisation in universities is not new and neither is globalisation. The new situation that now exists is that the revolution in IT and parallel technologies has immensely speeded the process of globalisation from which countries can only insulate themselves at enormous and generally unacceptable political cost. Globalised communications have pushed back levels of political acceptability, in for example road safety, where the compulsory wearing of seat belts has gone from being totally unacceptable to now more or less universally acceptable. Similarly with higher education, the charging of fees to students, once and still in some countries electorally unacceptable, is now becoming the norm.

International agencies are also promoting academic corporatisation. One such body is the World Bank, an agency of the United Nations, which is now considered to exert a potent influence on the ‘thrust and complexion of education policy’, not only in developing countries but throughout the world.42 Where the thrust referred to is ‘user pays’, accountability, market-orientation, and privatisation, in other words, corporatisation.

Another agency promoting corporatisation is the Organisation for Economic and Cultural Development (OECD), a 29-member group of developed countries which sees education as a key to economic growth and stability, and which has recommended common strategies designed to enhance national competitiveness through a programme similar to that promoted by the World Bank.43

The ending of the Cold War has had an impact on the corporatisation of higher education by the removal of one side of the capitalism/communism ideological cleavage, with the result that the ideas of such conservative writers as Hayek and Friedman have come to dominate the thinking of educational policy-makers. Broadly speaking, their concept is that education’s main benefit is private, thus justifying the levying of fees upon individuals.44

There is also the rise to predominance of postmodern thinking which, while not itself an ideology, is an intellectual position critical of established traditions, institutions and practices which form part of the ‘great historical narratives’ of Judeo-Christian thought, the Enlightenment and Marxism.45 The general state of scepticism and relativism created by postmodernism through the process known as ‘deconstruction’ is reflected in public attitudes to the traditional university as much as it is to other traditional components of society. Postmodernism has had an effect very different from that envisaged by its creators: after the deconstruction of society and its institutions, what is left is a marketplace, so that postmodernism is creating the right intellectual milieu for economic rationalism. This point was made by Saul when he wrote ‘(t)he net effect (of postmodernism) has been to reinforce the corporatist point of view that we all exist as functions within our corporations.'46

There is also the effect of the corporatised mass-media which has applied the deconstructionist approach to institutions on the postmodern assumption that all knowledge is relative and therefore equal. The fact that media are in competition with the Internet, on which there is no censorship, has meant that traditions of objectivity in intellectual enquiry have been sacrificed to the needs of the marketplace. Rather than resisting these forces, university administrators in the corporatist paradigm have attempted to follow the same market-driven strategy of survival, a point again made by Saul ‘...the universities are in crisis and are attempting to ride out the storm by aligning themselves with corporatist interests.’47

Strategies to Overcome the Consequences of Corporatisation

The foregoing discussion indicates some of the very deep problems caused by the corporatisation of universities, the most notable being that first, the problems selected for solution through the application of technical excellence are determined by marketing considerations and therefore may not be very deep or great in significance, second, the organisational principles employed under this type of regime do not permit a long-term commitment by academic staff , and lastly the human contact which is a necessary concomitant of excellent teaching and which is by its nature labour-intensive, must be reduced to the barest minimum in a cost-conscious corporatised university.

In addressing this problem it is likely that there is no single response but rather a range of responses the appropriateness of which will be a function of one’s position in relation to the corporatised university. Here three major constituencies can be identified: the elite of CEOs (Vice-Chancellors, Presidents, Rectors), rank-and-file academics, and students. There is evidence that many CEOs are deeply troubled by the grosser consequences of corporatisation and are working in the ways they consider appropriate to their position, that is, generally behind the scenes, to persuade with subtlety those politicians, business leaders and media owners who are considered influential to modify the thrust towards corporatisation, and in this they are working singly or through bodies such as Associations of Vice-Chancellors or other CEOs. Occasionally divisions within an elite become visible, as when four vice-chancellors broke rank with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors in the UK over a proposal to establish a ‘British ‘Ivy League’ which would involve a higher level of corporatisation.48 In Australia some vice-chancellors, such as that of La Trobe University, have courageously spoken publicly against the radical corporatisation proposed by the West Report, Learning for Life.49

The body of academics below CEO are, as already intimated, quite divided over the issue of corporatisation, generally along the lines of those who have done well from it by successfully marketing their research and courses as against those for whom it has been a source of difficulty if not distaste. Among those many who are opposed to the excesses of corporatisation, several strategies are available, the most obvious being the traditional one of industrial action. Academic unions have certainly been at the forefront in addressing the problem, through for example the International Conference of University Teacher Organisations which resolved that: fees should not exceed 20 percent of course costs and subsidies should be available, funding of universities should remain primarily the responsibility of the state, and that tenure is the appropriate policy for the employment of academics.50

Individual academics can also publish statements of concern over the attack on academic values, such as those made in books by Professors Wilshire or the late Bill Readings, or they can publicly question the policy of corporatisation as has done Dr David Noble of the University of York, Toronto, who has spoken against the ‘hijacking of higher education ‘ by university administrators who are also members of the boards of major corporations, thus identifying a problem of conflict of interest. Dr Noble’s speech at the University of Minnesota was sponsored by a student organisation,51 but many academics prefer not to work in conjunction with student organisations. This strategy is not available to casual or non-continuing academics on account of their extreme vulnerability and for whom the only avenue is collective action through academic unions and to wait for changes in public opinion, though occasionally individual cases of the denial of tenure do receive publicity.52

Important though these statements are, the most effective strategy for academics is likely to be that which creates an Index of Academic Acceptability, on the lines of the various Human Rights Indices which have been created53 and which could publish world-wide a list of universities with a co-efficient based on such indicators as the ratio of continuing-non-continuing staff, staff-student ratio, the ratio of staff engaged in pure as opposed to applied research, and a subindex of terminations without due process. In addition, academics could investigate and demonstrate cases where the costs of corporatisation are exceeding the gains and therefore that the policy can be counterproductive, particularly at the level of research outcomes and in the success-rate of university-business partnerships which, as noted above, is reported to be very low. Another important area of initiative is to fully investigate and report on the matter of the effects of casualisation of staff on the quality of educational outcomes. There is already a wealth of intuitive and anecdotal evidence that the use of casual staff depletes the richness of the educational experience, but a rigorous scientific effects assessment of the hypothesis would give the matter the necessary priority. Information about the incidence of casualisation in most countries is already available. In Australia it can seen in the indicator ‘percentage of staff with tenure’ which is released through the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs.54

Non-industrial professional associations or interest groups formed specifically for the purpose have addressed the problems of the excesses of corporatisation. Sometimes the imminent closure of a school or department can provide a situation that mobilises specialist opinion, but rarely does it capture the public support necessary to have sufficient impact as to avoid the unwanted event.

Increasingly students are becoming aware of the consequences of corporatisation, particularly in systems that have previously been fully funded by the state. November 5, 1996 was declared a ‘National No Fees Day’ by the UK’s National Union of Students.55 South Africa’s students have also protested56 and students in Canada made January 28, 1998 a ‘National Day of Action’ with the itinerary of creating a ‘system free from user fees, student debt, neo-liberal ideology and corporate control’.57 Casualisation has not yet become a major concern to students, except among those near the completion of postgraduate courses and who may realise that what awaits them is not a career but a ‘patchwork quilt’ of short-term jobs in various locations until they reach ‘use by’ date at around forty. Concern at the loss of quality in the teaching process as a consequence of the increasing level of reliance upon casual staff is also being shown through legal action by individual students.58

One aspect of corporatisation of deep concern to many is the loss from universities of the role of critic of society, a role which is compromised when universities become subordinated to market forces as a result of the reduction or elimination of tenure, casualisation, the market-orientation of research and teaching priorities. However the quest for a quantifiable measure of prestige among university CEOs has caused them to turn to counting Nobel laureates as an index of academic excellence. An unexpected byproduct of this process is that Nobel laureates are assuming the role of moral leadership that in earlier times would have been possible for ordinary academics. As an example of this one could cite the fact that among the very few voices to protest against the Algerian Government’s failure to act or to allow outside assistance in acting against the slaughter of innocents by terrorists within its own borders is a group of sixty Nobel laureates.59 Their protest is one that might have been made in pre-corporatisation days by university academics, a group that is now effectively silenced by lack of tenure, or threatened loss of tenure, and generally encapsulated within the strict confines of corporate discipline.

In conclusion, one could assume that although the paradigm of the traditional university now appears to be defunct, that the present task confronting academics, administrators and societies is to build upon those aspects of higher education corporatisation that are positive by minimising or neutralising the harmful aspects of the process by rejecting the idea that a university should follow market trends and reaffirm its special role as an institution dedicated to the pursuit of significant knowledge and lasting values.



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39 Slaughter and Leslie, 1997, p. 202.

40 Coaldrake, Peter and Lawrence Stedman, On the Brink, Australia's Universities Confronting Their Future, (St. Lucia, University of Queensland Press, 1998), p. 149.


41 Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 1997, p. 1.


42 Wall, Eugene, 'Global Funding Patterns in Higher Education; the role of the World Bank', paper presented at the International Conference of University Teacher Organisations, Melbourne, February, 1998. P. 40.


43 Marginson, Simon, Markets in Education, (Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1997), p. 59.


44 Marginson, ch. 2.

45 Lyotard, Jean-François, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Brian Massumi, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Sixth Printing, , 1984).


46 Saul, John R., The Unconscious Civilization, (Ringwood: Penguin, 1997), p. 177.


47 Saul, p. 177.


48 stack, Neville , 'A British ‘Ivy League’ Proposed', Straits Times, (Singapore, December 28, 1996), p. 29.

49 Osborne, Michael, 'A nightmare vision on demand', The Australian, Higher Education, 3 December, 1997, p. 45.


50 Maslen, Geoff , 'Unions Issue Global Warning on Privatisation', Campus Review 11-17 February, 5, 1998, p. 5.


51 Minnesota EDaily , 'Speech addresses restructuring', Minnesota Daily Online, 7 May, 1998, ( Sighted 7 May 1998).


52 Fisher, p. 1.


53 Index of Human Rights, (http:/ Sighted 27 May 1998).

54 DEETYA, (Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Australia, 1998), ( Sighted 12 may 1998).


55 National Union of Students, 1998, 'National No Fees Day: Students take action against the threat of fees'. NUS Online. ( Sighted 21 May, 1998).


56 Australian, The , 'Fees crackdown sparks S African protests, 11 February, 1998, p. 4.


57 CFS-FCEE, 'Itinerary', Québec, 1998, (http://www, Sighted 7 May 1998).


58 May, Heather, 'The diploma mill mentality under siege', The Australian, Higher Education, 25 September 29, 1996, p. 29.


59 BBC News, 'Nobel winners condemn Algeria violence', 13 April, 1998, (http://news, Sighted 21 May 1998).


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