Get Buying In or Selling Out?: The Commercialization of the PDF

By Donald G. Stein

Universities have been as soon as ivory towers the place scholarship and instructing reigned preferrred, or so we inform ourselves. whether or not they have been ever as natural as we predict, it truly is definitely the case that they're natural now not. directors glance to patents as they search funds via commercializing college discoveries; they pour cash into activities with the expectancy that those spectacles will by some means herald profit; they signal contracts with soda and fast-food businesses, legitimizing the dominance of a unmarried model on campus; and so they cost for distance studying classes that they industry extensively. during this quantity, edited by means of Donald G. Stein, college presidents and others in better schooling management positions touch upon the numerous connections among enterprise and scholarship whilst highbrow estate and studying is handled as a marketable commodity. a few individuals write concerning the merits of those connections in offering a lot wanted assets. Others emphasize that the thirst for gains may well bias the kind of study that's performed and the standard of that study. They worry for the way forward for easy examine if school are looking for instant payoffs.

The majority of the members recognize that commercialization is the present truth and has improved too a ways to come to the “good previous days.” They suggest directions for college kids and professors to control advertisement actions. Such instructions can elevate the chance that caliber, openness, and collegiality will stay center educational values. 


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But corporate America has never valued those freedoms and sees little point in upholding them when it signs a contract with a university. Not surprisingly, during the Nike labor practice protests, Nike invoked the gag rule clause whenever possible, even asking St. John’s University in New York, a Nike school, to fire an assistant soccer coach because he spoke out against Nike’s Asian labor practices and refused Murray Sperber 27 to wear Nike apparel on the job. The university complied, and the coach filed a lawsuit that is now in litigation (Sperber 1990, 2000).

This process understandably frustrates university presidents who, in the best American tradition, want to lift their institutions to new heights and who chafe at watching the best-known universities continue to prosper even when their leadership seems stodgy and unimaginative. With the odds seemingly stacked against them, enterprising university presidents may conclude that commercialization offers the best chance for a resourceful leader to break through the barriers of tradition and gain an advantage over more established rivals.

Another educational cost that commercialization can incur is the moral example such behavior provides to students and others in the academic community. Helping to develop virtue and build character has been a central aim of education since the time of Plato and Aristotle. After years of neglect, universities everywhere have rediscovered the need to prepare their students to grapple with the moral dilemmas they will face in their personal and profes- Derek Bok 39 sional lives. In colleges and professional schools, courses on practical ethics are now a common feature of the curriculum.

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