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Challenges and Drawbacks in the Marketisation of Higher Education Within Neoliberalism



This paper addresses some of the challenges and drawbacks associated to the ongoing worldwide process of marketization (neoliberalization) in higher education. Neoliberalism—the prevailing model of capitalist thinking based on the Washington Consensus—has conveyed the idea that a new educational and university model must emerge in order to meet the demands of a global productive system that is radically different from that of just a few decades ago. The overall argument put forward is that the requirements, particularly the managerial and labor force needs of a new economy—already developing within the parameters of globalization and the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs)—cannot be adequately satisfied under the approaches and methods used by a traditional university. Neoliberalism affects the telos of higher education by redefining the very meaning of higher education. It dislocates education by commodifying its intrinsic value and emphasizing directly transferable skills and competencies. Nonmonetary values are marginalized and, with them, the nonmonetary ethos that is essential in sustaining a healthy democratic society. In this paper I will address (1) some of the problems and shortcomings in the triple-helix model of university-industry-government collaborations, (2) the transformation of students into customers and faculty into entrepreneurial workers, highlighting the many drawbacks of such strategies, (3) the hegemony of rankings as procedures of surveillance and control, (4) the many criticisms posed against neoliberalization in higher education and the possible alternatives looking to the future.
Review of European Studies; Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
ISSN 1918-7173 E-ISSN 1918-7181
Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education
Challenges and Drawbacks in the Marketisation of Higher Education
Within Neoliberalism
Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría
Correspondence: Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría, Ph.D., Dr. Soc. Sci., United States Fulbright Award Recipient; Expert
Committee Member, European Union. E-mail:
Received: December 14, 2019 Accepted: January 3, 2020 Online Published: January 7, 2020
doi:10.5539/res.v12n1p22 URL:
This paper addresses some of the challenges and drawbacks associated to the ongoing worldwide process of
marketization (neoliberalization) in higher education. Neoliberalismthe prevailing model of capitalist thinking
based on the Washington Consensushas conveyed the idea that a new educational and university model must
emerge in order to meet the demands of a global productive system that is radically different from that of just a few
decades ago. The overall argument put forward is that the requirements, particularly the managerial and labor force
needs of a new economyalready developing within the parameters of globalization and the impact of information
and communication technologies (ICTs)cannot be adequately satisfied under the approaches and methods used
by a traditional university. Neoliberalism affects the telos of higher education by redefining the very meaning of
higher education. It dislocates education by commodifying its intrinsic value and emphasizing directly transferable
skills and competencies. Nonmonetary values are marginalized and, with them, the nonmonetary ethos that is
essential in sustaining a healthy democratic society. In this paper I will address (1) some of the problems and
shortcomings in the triple-helix model of university-industry-government collaborations, (2) the transformation of
students into customers and faculty into entrepreneurial workers, highlighting the many drawbacks of such
strategies, (3) the hegemony of rankings as procedures of surveillance and control, (4) the many criticisms posed
against neoliberalization in higher education and the possible alternatives looking to the future.
marketisation, neoliberalism, entrepreneurial universities, triple helix model, customers, entrepreneurial
workers, de-professionalization, rankings, challenges and drawbacks, alternatives to neoliberalism
1. Introduction
Neoliberalism represents a full-fledged attack on the conception and workings of institutions of higher education as
they were conceived centuries ago. Neoliberalism is an umbrella concept that encompasses the ideologies favoring
the extension of market relationships and values throughout society and not just in the economic realm. As a
political strategy initiated by the administrations of
U.S. President Reagan and U.K. Prime Minister Thatcher in the 1980s, neoliberalism represents an attempt to shift
the power balance between capital and labor by advancing entrepreneurialism as a social value, accountability as a
control tool, and new managerialism as a regime of hegemony and domination in institutions, organizations, and the
labor market.
Resistance to neoliberalism in academia is more widespread and entrenched than it seems (Lucas, 2014). The
resistance is far from surprising because within higher education neoliberalism represents a combination of
elements along two routes to authoritarian political control anticipated many decades ago by Aldous Huxley (in
Brave New World) and George Orwell (in 1984). Orwell pointed out that tyranny would come through repression,
―instigating and pushing people to obedience.‖ On the other hand, Huxley believed that tyranny would impose itself
by means of suggestion and seduction, thus making it possible for people to ―love our own submission.‖
In the context of increasing pressure for changes in the university, the antagonism between academic and
administrative cultures within higher education institutions has increased, and therefore it does not seem that
universities‘ likely or desirable future is clearer now than it was when this issue was raised a few decades ago.
The reason for the impasse is, in part, due to the shortage of convincing ideas about what direction a university
should take in a rapidly changing world that is undergoing a deep transition without a clearly discernible direction.
As the philosopher of higher education, Ronald Barnett (2000, p. 23), observed, ―The ideas of the university in the
public domain are irremediably impoverished.‖ For Barnett, they are ―impoverished‖ because they are unduly Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
confined to a small range of possible conceptions of a university and ―irremediably‖ because they are proposed too
often without conviction. Those ideas are just being used as a way to criticize without mercy the current state of
universities or to simply offer a defense, often unconvincing, of the only supposedly valid alternative: the
entrepreneurial, neoliberal university.
There is dissatisfaction and, at the same time, a lack of persuasion about changing the status quo of the
pre-neoliberal university because, on the one hand, our ideas about changes in higher education focus too closely on
the adoption of corporate models and pedagogical technology at all levels. On the other hand, many of those who
resist innovations and changes in higher education expect perhaps a return to a golden age of the university as
imagined by Wilhelm von Humboldt or John Henry Newmansomething that is unlikely to happen.
It is important to reflect on the gradually increased significance of knowledge as intellectual capital since
approximately the 1980s.This is perhaps the most important substantive change at the core of neoliberal
developments in the 21st century. Reconceptualizing knowledge as intellectual capital follows a strategy of political
hegemony by conservative political organizations and the corporate world that has dominated world policy forums
as alternative narratives criticizing capitalist ideology have been ignored or neglected. The political project of
neoliberalism has the enthusiastic support of agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World
Bank, and it is an outcome of the Washington Consensus. This monolithic and homogenizing view of globalization
and the knowledge economy and higher education model it legitimizes and promotes ―has been facing sustained and
increased criticism from many quarters, including mainstream economists‖ (Olssen & Peters, 2007, p. 45).
Neoliberalism in higher education has been a constant force for change over the past few decades all over the world.
Privatization and commercialization, as well as the growth of capitalist and corporate influence over higher
education institutions, characterize neoliberal policies in higher education (Barnett, 2000; Burton-Jones, 1999;
Carnoy & Rhoten, 2002). As Barnett (2000, p. xxxi) wrote,
In the neoliberal model, higher education is ideally integrated into the system of production and
accumulation in which knowledge is reduced to its economic functions and contributes to the
realization of individual economic utilities.
Many research studies on higher education have revolved around changes wrought by neoliberalism, including the
academic stratification of the disciplines (Rhoades & Slaughter, 1997), technology transfers (Slaughter & Leslie,
1997), privatization (Edvinnson & Malone, 1997), the rise of managerialism in higher education (Davies & Bansel,
2007), and, particularly, the adoption of private sector practices and values (such as accountability), the
vocationalization of the curriculum (Howard- Vital, 2006), corporatization (Suspitsyna, 2012), commercialization
of both athletics and research in higher education (Bok, 2004), students as consumers and customers (Choo, 1998),
and a global trend of increasing consumerism and corporatism inside the classroom (Olssen, 2002). Neoliberalism is
also related to recent shifts in higher education funding toward the hard and applied sciences (fields close to the
market) and away from the social sciences and humanities (Bok, 2004). Rhoads & Torres (2006, p. 32) tellingly
Knowledge is now evaluated with the language of finance, and universities are measured by their
efficiency in awarding degrees and certificates. Academic leaders are replaced by managers with
business backgrounds, and the university shifts from an educational institution to just another
business with a bottom line.
2. Entrepreneurial Universities and Triple Helix
With neoliberalism, universities are considered crucial partners in sustaining the economic growth of countries and
regions by contributing human capital, innovations, and technological advances to society (Walter, Parboteeah, &
Walter, 2011). Therefore, there are challenges for a traditional university to accommodate its socioeconomic
obligations through new entrepreneurial strategies.
A new concept has appeared to support entrepreneurship education (EE), basically in terms of an environment
called an entrepreneurial university (EU), ―which is conceived as one of the main economic growth and
development engines‖ (Diaconu & Duţu, 2015, p. 23). EE was intended to develop an entrepreneurial spirit in the
mindset of students, to ―sensitize them about entrepreneurship interest and entice them to create new projects‖
(Martin, McNally, & Kay, 2012, p. 15).
EE has become compulsory in view of the need for business creation as an economic tool for growth and
competitiveness. The entrepreneurial approach has become a foundation for all or most specialties, in both private
and public institutions. The three main objectives of an entrepreneurial university‘s strategy are to educate, to
stimulate, and to incubate. The background is defined by global and local competition and by the pressures of Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
technological innovations on universities. The widespread perception is, ―There is a real need to develop and
implement an entrepreneurship culture throughout higher education‖ (Aranha & Prado-Garcia, 2014, p. 63; see also
Souitaris, Zerbinati, & Al-Laham, 2007).
Although the EU concept emerged in the 1990s, it is ―regarded as still in its infancy in developed countries and
emerging in developing countries‖ (Almeida et al., 2016, p. 33; see also Etzkowitz, 2014). Forsman (2008)
emphasized that an EU is ―an organization with a flexible structure, competent leadership and management and
where entrepreneurial culture is a key driving force.‖ Cavaller (2011,
p. 54) maintained that an ―EU is an evolutionary model of the traditional university.‖ A key to this new paradigm is
―research commercialization added to refurbished research and teaching functions‖ (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff,
2000, p. 45).
To achieve its goals, the EU is ―designed to engage with external stakeholders, industry and government, and
society at large‖ (Philpott, Dooley, O‘Reilly, & Lupton, 2011, p. 39). This is the so- called triple helix model, which
involves academic-industry-government cooperation premised under common politics, policy, and methods, aiming
at ―internal transformation within each of these spheres‖ (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000, p. 21).
To be qualified as entrepreneurial, universities should develop different strategies through a thorough
transformative process: ―(1) the university starts to define its priorities and diversify its income sources, (2) the
institution starts commercializing the intellectual property that arises from its research activities, and (3) the
university takes an active role in participating in its regional innovation environment‖ (Etzkowitz, 2015, p. 63; see
also Almeida et al., 2016).
Entrepreneurial universities are expected to adapt to environment fluctuation through ―internal transformations,
such as through changes in governance, management, flexibility, and leadership structure, in order to increase its
flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness‖ (Aranha & Prado-García, 2014, p. 81). To do so, universities put in place
more flexible structures ―encompassing an entrepreneurial approach [that] becomes proactive and risk-taking when
[universities are] deciding to innovate and seize opportunities, and utilizes creatively their resources to achieve
objectives‖ (Diaconu & Duţu, 2015, p. 45; see also Forsman, 2008).
To realize these goals, some entrepreneurial activities should be initiated within a university‘s environment,
including ―research mobilization, technological development, collaboration with industry, and changes in university
policies and within university departments‖ (Todorovic, 2011, p. 85). Thus, a focus on deep internal transformations
(policies, institutions, and culture) is key to the development of entrepreneurial universities. This explains why a
major focus of the neoliberal strategy for higher education has been re-educating students in an entrepreneurial
direction, including changing their widespread idealistic perceptions of societal environments and their role in
society at large.
3. Triple Helix Model: Variations and Contradictions
The triple helix model of university/industry/government interactions (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000) has gained
scholarly and policy attention. According to the model, the boundaries between industry, government, and higher
education are becoming increasingly blurred and intertwined. As a result, an EU model is ―emerging as a hybrid
organization that combines the activities of industry, university, and public authorities to promote innovation‖
(Etzkowitz, 2014, p. 71). According to Sánchez (2011), universities naturally evolve toward an entrepreneurial
model that emphasizes economic development in addition to the more traditional mandates of education and
research ―with the goal of improving national or regional economic outcomes as well as the university‘s financial
advantage and that of its faculty‖ (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000, p. 313).
The need to access additional funding sources and ―the active promotion of collaboration between universities and
multiple triple helix partners through a range of public policies and infrastructures‖ motivate and explain this
evolution (Aranha & Prado-García, 2014, p. 67; see also Xue, 2012). Thus, universities are placing a higher priority
on being ―relevant and responsive to national, regional, and local needs, and these efforts have resulted in a
progressive ‗institutionalization‘ of third mission activities‖ (Xue, 2012, p. 63).
A scenario of increased competition for funding and policy decisions in favor of an entrepreneurial transformation
―could therefore be seen as top-down coercive, normative, and mimetic ‗isomorphic‘ forces acting upon universities‖
(Delanty, 2001, p. 85).
Some scholars have questioned the implicit universality of the ―entrepreneurial university‖ phenomenon (Gibb,
2005) versus the idea that the model is an ―inevitable, homogeneous, and ‗isomorphic‘ development path‖ (Philpott
et al., 2011, p. 42), Specifically, authors have highlighted the multiple tensions and contradictions that are likely to
emerge between different university missions and activities and argue that ―the degree and form of entrepreneurial Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
transformation is likely to vary across countries and types of universities‖ (Slaughter & Leslie, 1997, p. 33; see also
Higgins & Elliott, 2011; Kerr, 2001; Martin et al., 2012).
For instance, in a European university case study, Philpott et al. (2011, p. 33) observed a ―lack of unified culture
regarding the appropriateness of the third mission, as well as clear tensions and divides across disciplines on the
meaning and type of entrepreneurial engagement.‖ In a study of Spanish universities, Sanchez (2011, p. 72)
identified ―strong differences in the performance and capabilities of universities to balance teaching with the new
third mission.‖ Mars and Garrison‘s study (2009, p.91) of Australian universities found
differences in the way universities responded to government funding cuts and the emergence of new managerial
models, with new, less academic universities adopting a greater focus on industrial relations and applied
professional education, and old-established universities maintaining collegial loyalties and academic cultures
despite reforms.
There seems to be a variety of combinations of triple helix activities in different national and regional contexts.
Jansen, De Zande, Brinkkemper, Stam, and Varma (2015, p. 69) found that in the United Kingdom ―different types
of universities exhibited different degrees and types of knowledge transfer activity.‖ While highly
research-intensive universities focused ―on the exploitation of IP and maximizing returns from research‖ (Gruber,
2014, p. 43), less research-intensive ones focused mainly ―on activities related to human capital development.‖
Kenney and Patton (2011) examined academic entrepreneurship in Italy, Germany, and China and emphasized the
regional dimension of interactions. According to their results, there are differences in models of technology transfer
depending on regional characteristics (Kenney and Patton, 2011, p. 61):
While European regions are characterized by an under-representation of mechanisms for the
adoption/exploitation of academic research (like spin-offs, mobility of human capital, or training
programs), the Chinese region seems to put greater stress on direct valorization mechanisms.
4. “Students as Customers” Is Not a Good Idea
One of the central tenets of neoliberalism contends, ―The individual is a rational optimizer and the best judge of
his/her own interests and needs‖ (Olssen & Peters, 2007, p. 314). Following this, Desai,
Damewood, and Jones
argued that, because students as consumers of professional output have needs and wants, ―these should be better
understood and met in order to provide an improved educational experience‖ (2001, p. 136). Other authors
suggested that, in order to successfully implement the marketing concept and adopt a customer orientation in
academia, ―universities need to assess their students‘ perceptions of the institution‘s commitment to understanding
and meeting their needs‖ (Browne, 2010, p. 58). There is literature suggesting that HEIs should start to focus on
―students as customers‖ because, ―students know best what they want to get from higher education. Thus, students
should therefore be relied on to drive up quality‖ (Hatfield & Taylor, 1998, p. 46).
However, the debate is polarized. Probably no professional, be it in education, medicine, or law, ―has ever been
willing to embrace guidance from outside groups or other structural levels, except their peers‖ (Olssen & Peters,
2007, p. 45). This explains why there are many observers who claim that a student-customer orientation does not
contribute to professionalism: ―Treating students and recruiters as customers makes the school look like a training
provider, rather than a university‖ (Argenti, 2000, P. 36; see also Chonko, Tanner, & Davis, 2002; Eagle & Brennan,
2007; Franz, 1998; Holbrook, 2005, 2007; Olssen & Peters, 2007). There is also a claim that education is one of the
areas where customer orientation ―with its short-term financial benefits and negative consequences does not belong‖
(Emery, Kramer, & Tian, 2002, p. 43; see also Holbrook, 2005) because of the risk that it would result in the decline,
decay, and ultimately demise of academic values‖ (Clayson & Haley, 2005, p. 51; see also Eagle & Brennan, 2007;
Snyder, 2007).
Hussey and Smith (2010, pp. 4950) stated that the ―customer‖ analogy may, in some cases, be inaccurate or
inappropriate and even damaging because students ―will get neither education nor qualification if they do not work
sufficiently hard.‖ According to Hussey and Smith, ―a teacher or lecturer should not be likened to a salesperson who
must acknowledge that the customer is always right.‖ Franz (1998, p. 72) warned about ―comparing the university to
a shopping mall, where students shop around for classes and majors and where the goal of the educator is to attract,
delight, and retain the student-customer.‖ When universities decide to follow the customer-oriented logic, it will
result in a situation where teachers would cater to students‘ wishes, ―yielding to their complaints, and focusing more
on the students‘ concerns for advancing their careers than about what they actually learn‖ (Holbrook, 2004, p. 68).
The use of the student-as-customer metaphor was intended to encourage academics ―to engage in continuous
improvement in order to enhance service encounters‖ (Yeo, 2008, p. 36; see also Koch & Fisher, 1998). However,
according to Gross and Hogler (2005, p. 32), ―When institutions use the ‗student-as-customer‘ metaphor, the Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
teaching becomes less discretionary and more routine.‖ Faculty and administrators, fearing a drop in
student-influenced university rankings, ―enforce a range of rules and regulations pertaining to quality control issues
affecting student satisfaction‖ (Zell, 2001, p. 63). As a direct result, these processes ―mediate the academic leaders‘
autonomy and expertise to ensure the students achieve the required learning outcomes‖ (Bexley, 2013, p. 21; see
also Bolden, Petrov, & Gosling, 2009). Ramsden, Prosser, Trigwell, and Martin (2007, p. 42) identified that
teaching quality ―may be moderated by the perceptions of the academic environment, which is partly determined by
the academic leadership practices.‖
According to Zell, students ―are not interested in their own intellectual pursuit; they attend universities to advance
their own careers or get a pay increase, and usually expect high results for little effort‖ (2001, p. 47). Ramsden et al.
(2007, p. 82) reported finding that students ―most enjoy the teaching method from which they learn the least.
Paradoxically, the quality of the product in
education depends heavily on the hard work of the customer!‖ With the
focus on meeting the needs of the students to the exclusion of other stakeholders, ―staff can no longer adequately
fulfill the requirements of other aspects of the academic duties‖ (Zell, 2001, p. 69; see also Chung & McLarney,
2000). As a result, ―quality education becomes a cause of concern if the service is entirely driven by what the
students want and ultimately define‖ (Zell, 2001, p. 78).
According to Schwartzman (1995), universities may be acquiescing to students‘ requests that are unrealistic,
irrelevant, or not fully developed because ―the customer is always right‖ and warns that ―this response may buy
immediate satisfaction at the expense of the long-term best interests of the student and university‖ (p. 123). This
approach provides ―a short-term fix of instant gratification of consumer wants‖ and does not facilitate ―long-term
quality education, nor does it consider that students are not the only customers‖ (Redding, 2005, p. 152).
In an attempt to provide a quality education, the feedback mechanisms, such as students‘ evaluations, degree
graduation rates, and graduate exit surveys, ―circumvent the intended outcome‖ (Becket & Brookes, 2008, p. 39; see
also Delucchi & Korgen, 2002; Delucchi & Smith, 1997). While it is important to address the needs of the consumer,
―a service can only be effectively provided if the provider is true to their purpose or mission‖ (Chung & McLarney,
2000, p. 71). When a university embraces grade inflation, the assessment process ―fails to provide the appropriate
checks and balances in terms of ensuring that the students have achieved the requisite level of knowledge‖ (Baker,
1994, p. 158; see also Lanning & Perkins, 1995). Further, the student-as-customer trend is ―resulting in ‗truth in
advertising‘ ligation against universities when students sue higher education institution for not receiving what was
promised in their prospectus‖ (Scott, Coates, & Anderson, 2008, p. 48).
Academic leadership has been undermined ―by the emphasis placed on meeting student-as-customer demands‖
(Hartley, 1995, p. 26; see also Beatty, 2004; Dillard & Tinker, 1996; Franz, 1998; Gross & Hogler, 2005; Lomas,
2007; Newby, 1999; Svensson & Wood, 2007). This, in turn, has had ―a negative impact on job satisfaction and
increased stress levels in the higher education work force‖ (Svensson & Wood, 2007). This has become a concern
for the higher education sector because longitudinal research identified that ―job satisfaction for academics in
universities is dropping at a significant rate‖ (Robbins, Judge, Millett, & Waters-Marsh, 2008, p. 61).
5. Faculty Turned Entrepreneurial Workers?
Interest in measuring faculty productivity has increased over the past few decades as the costs of higher education
have risen. External constituencies, such as legislators and parents, have begun to pay attention and to scrutinize the
costs that could justify or explain tuition increases. The extended belief among these groups is that the increase in
higher education costs has been due to higher faculty salaries, together with low teaching loads and a reduction in
class sizes. Consequently, these people believe that larger class sizes, bigger faculty course loads, or both, could turn
around the cost increases. Some studies have been designed to corroborate this belief and push faculty hard to
change according to neoliberal ideas.
One must remember that, generally speaking, faculty members disagree to an important extent about the positive
correlation seen by neoliberals between an increased workload and increased productivity. Academic ―productivity‖
is importantly a direct function of professional development activities and quality time devoted to research. As a
result of the divergence in views about productivity and how to measure it, and as a result of faculty members‘
concerns about their changing
professional roles and activities under neoliberalism, a myth has been spread that
faculty place more interest in developing their own professional goals and objectives, as opposed to cultivating the
needs of the HEIs that employ them. As a consequence of this ongoing debate, ―multiple attempts have been made
from within and without higher education‖ to develop frameworks for ―measuring and reporting on faculty activity
in teaching, research, and service,‖ in order to present a ―rounded, accurate picture of what faculty do, and of what
parents, legislators, and students pay for when they fund higher education‖ (Middaugh, 2000, p. 32). In the United
States, the tool of choice to measure faculty productivity is the Delaware Study, designed by Michael Middaugh Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
(Middaugh, 2000).
Efforts at measuring faculty ―productivity‖ are at odds with the professionalism of academics and the outstanding
contributions of many of them to society. In an important article published in the newsletter of the American
Association of University Professors (January-February 2018), Evelyn Morales Vazquez and John S. Levin
condemned the ―symbolic violence that neoliberal values and managerial practices promote‖ (Morales Vazquez &
Levin, 2018, p. 35).
This form of symbolic violence strips away authenticity in the work of professionals, resulting in
what sociologist Richard Sennett refers to as the corrosion of character. Neoliberal practices have
been taken for granted by faculty members, no matter their academic disciplines, career stages, or
personal expectations. Some even aspire to a role as entrepreneurial subjects. These practices
colonize the academic profession through the establishment and propagation of evaluation systems
and metrics of accountability that recognize only the characteristics of the ideal entrepreneurial
worker, and quantifiable actions such as publishing and securing grant funding. This distorted
perspective of academic professionals does not consider what faculty members think about changes
in their work environment; it ignores personal reflections on the academic profession and its
Morales Vazquez and Levin underscored the complex, differentiated, and multidimensional nature of academic
work and academic identity, which cannot be homogenized according to managerial standards and reduced to a
byproduct of managerial financial concerns, as it is viewed and imposed by neoliberal approaches and ideologies
in higher education (Morales Vazquez & Levin, 2018, p. 43).
The strengthening of competition, managerial practices, and accountability has contributed to a
growing disregard of the human dimension of the academic profession, particularly the personal
histories and professional aspirations of faculty members. For example, reward systems highlight
superficial competency and measurable behaviors, including numerical scores on student
evaluations, impact factors of publication citations, and number of awards for research, teaching,
and service. These systems define the ideal faculty member as one who is aligned with audit
cultures, managerial practices, and standardized, homogenous values. This conceptualization of
academic work acknowledges merely a fragment of the selves of faculty members. Such
fragmentation denies the roles that personal histories or professional goals play in how faculty
members experience their work and their academic identities. Our approach to academic identity
counteracts fragmented subjectivity by emphasizing the role that social relationships, personal
experiences, and emotions, as well as academic disciplines, professional status, and institutional
contexts, play in the construction of, change to, or conflict in, academic identities.
The authors made a vigorous and necessary call for collective action against neoliberalism in higher education
(Morales Vazquez & Levin, 2018, p. 48).
In 2015, a group of feminist Canadian and U.S. scholars published an article in ACME: An
International Journal for Critical Geographies, ―For Slow Scholarship,‖ that called for resistance to
the conditions of the neoliberal university through collective action; yet there are too few responses
of this kind. We need more research and scholarship to inform leaders and
policymakersincluding faculty in positions of influence, such as department chairs and faculty
senate officialsthat the stakes are both personal and institutional.
Neoliberal practices in higher education may ―discourage interaction between faculty and students‖ (Marginson &
Considine, 2000, p. 12). Maximizing the development of human capital through
education at lower costs has
become a priority for nations, and ―one way to cut costs is by limiting the number of full-time faculty, hiring more
contingent faculty, and increasing class size, particularly in low-cost fields of study‖ (Apple, 2000, p. 32; see also
Slaughter, 2001). The increased role of commercial activities ―has reduced the share of faculty time and resources
devoted to students and teaching‖ (Anderson & Sugarman, 1989, p. 41; see also Blumenthal, Epstein, & Maxwell,
Such policies ―are leading to a devaluing of teaching and service‖ (Altbach, 1979, p. 21; see also Fairweather,
1996; Marginson & Rhoades, 2002; Ross, 1992; Slaughter, 2001; Slaughter & Leslie,
These changes to the profession are occurring despite the importance of frequent interactions between faculty and
students that are essential for students‘ education, performance in college, and the attainment of positive results, as
is well documented (Astin, 1993; Bean, 1985; Bean & Kuh, 1984; Feldman & Newcomb, 1969; Kuh, Schuh, Whitt,
& Associates, 1991; Pascarella, 1985; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991, 2005; Tinto, 1993). Using faculty self-reported
data, Umbach (2007, p. 51) found that ―part-time and full-time non-tenure-track faculty interact with students less Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
frequently, both inside and outside of the classroom.‖ This should be a reason for concern, particularly as student
populations become more diverse ―with increased enrollment of nontraditional students, including part-time, older,
and first-generation students, who benefit from greater faculty attention‖ (Rendón, 1994, p. 21).
6. De-Professionalization
The institutionalization of neoliberal models in higher education institutions inserts a hierarchical mode of authority
by which the market and state pressures are realized and made effective. De- professionalization of faculty is a
major effect of this imposition of authority. Olsen & Peters (2007), whom we follow in this section, argue that
de-professionalization of faculty involves the following (Olssen & Peters, 2007, p. 81).
A shift from collegial or democratic governance in flat structures, to hierarchical models based on
dictated management specifications of job performance in principal-agent chains of command.
The implementation of restructuring initiatives in response to market and state demands increasing
specifications by management over workloads and course content by management. Such hierarchically
imposed specifications erode traditional conceptions of professional autonomy over work in relation to
both teaching and research. Neoliberalism systematically deconstructs the space in terms of which
professional autonomy is exercised.
Traditional conceptions of professionalism [that] involved an ascription of rights and powers over work
in line with classical liberal notions of freedom of the individual. Market pressures increasingly
encroach and redesign their traditional understandings of rights, as institutions must adapt to market
trends (for example, just as individual departments and academics are being told of the necessity for
acquiring external research grants, so they are also being told they must teach summer schools).
Olssen and Peters (2007, p. 112) continued:
The essence of contractual models involves a specification, which is fundamentally at odds with
the notion of professionalism. Professionalism conveys the idea of a subject-directed power based
upon the liberal conceptions of rights, freedom, and autonomy. It conveys the idea of a power given
to the subject, and of the subject‘s ability to make decisions in the workplace. No professional,
whether doctor, lawyer, or teacher, has traditionally wanted to have the terms of their practice and
conduct dictated by anyone else but their peers, or determined by groups or structural levers that
are outside of their control. As a particular patterning of power, then, professionalism is
systematically at odds with neoliberalism, for neoliberals see the professions as self- interested
groups who indulge in rent-seeking behavior. In neoliberalism, the patterning of power is
established on contract, which in turn is premised upon a need for compliance, monitoring, and
accountability organized in a management line and established through a purchase contract based
upon measurable outputs.
There is a widespread perception that neoliberalism‘s impact on faculty‘s professionalism is highly problematic and
contentious. For instance, Kezar (2004, p. 36) argued that ―professionals have constructed a new form of identity
more suited to managerialism,‖ and that ―managerial reforms have restructured the identity of professionals.‖
Gamson (1997, p. 120) also argued that ―we cannot assume that this is in any way an automatic or linear process, or
that individuals respond in ways in which are consistent or coherent.‖ Or, as Gumport (2000, p. 330) suggested:
It is dangerous to draw sweeping conclusions about the replacement of the traditional
bureau-professional organizational order in education by a managerial one. Rather, it is better to
view the process as a dynamic one in which growing tensions between ―old‖ and ―new‖ are worked
out within particular policy and management areas as different value systems and interests of
Neoliberalism effectively alters the nature of the professional role of faculty. Faculty performance is assessed via
―targets‖ and ―performance criteria‖ that are increasingly adopted from the corporate world, thus limiting and
diminishing the autonomy of professors, researchers, and scholars as professionals. There is no doubt that neoliberal
agendas fight against ―academic freedom‖ by means of, for example, placing increased importance on ―managed
research,‖ and putting pressure to obtain ―funded research,‖ thus compromising the priorities and interests, as well
as the independence, of individual faculty.
Along these lines, neoliberalism has directly attacked the overall idea of a public service ethic in education and the
conception of the university as an autonomous realm, in the liberal professional sense. There is an urgent need to
recover these noble ideals, though it remains unclear to what extent this will be possible. Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
7. Ranking for Control
University rankings, where individual institutions are classified according to their scoring in a variety of indicators,
have become widespread as a tool to measure performance and to homogenize the field of higher education.
Rankings are an inevitable consequence of neoliberalism in higher education ―as they are integral to audit and
surveillance systems of regulation and control. They alter the internal culture of universities in terms of what they
measure‖ (Sauder & Epseland, 2009, p. 43).
Rankings enhance transparency, which is a positive trait, but given their political motivation they put pressure on
higher education institutions ―to change from being ‗a center of learning‘ to being ‗a business organization with
productivity targets.‘ They are expected to transfer allegiance from the academic to the operational‖ (Doring, 2002,
p. 140). Lynch . (2010, p. 61) correctly stated that:
―Treating change as a purely ―technical matter,‖ means that market values can be encoded in the
heart of the university‘s operations without reflection. When universities focus on ―key
performance indicators‖ this directs attention to measured outputs rather than processes and inputs
within education, including those of nurturing and caring.
Rankings induce ―reactivity‖ that, in turn, ―alters patterns of investment, intake, and outputs of higher education.
Universities can and do improve or retain their ranks by excluding risk factors that would downgrade their status‖
(Lynch, 2013, p. 71). As rankings form public perceptions of universities, ―senior administrators have to manage
their ranking whether they wish to or not(Farrell & van der Werf, 2007, p. 45). Thus, ―a range of ‗gaming
strategies‘ are deployed to advance university position in rankings‖ (Espeland & Sauder, 2007,p. 61).
One of the most notable responses is the increased funding for ―merit‖ scholarships to attract elite students
(Espeland & Sauder, 2007). ―Merit scholarships work to the advantage of the already privileged applicants for a
number of reasons, mostly because educational attainment is, in the first instant, highly dependent on the
expenditure of resources in a competitive system‖ (Lynch, 2013, p. 25). Parents ―can and do use private resources to
the advantage of their own children in economically unequal societies‖ (Marsh, 2011, p. 31).
As Lynch (2013, p. 23) noted:
As trust in professional integrity and peer regulation has been replaced by performance indicators,
the quality of peer relations is also diminished. Relating through audits and appraisals enhances
hierarchies and diminishes goodwill and collegiality. Rewarding staff on a measurable
item-by-item performance basis also leads to a situation where personal career interests
increasingly govern everyday academic life. As there are opportunities in the market for
commercialized professionals and academics, internal divisions between staff in the universities are
inevitable and open to exploitation by management. Academic capitalism brings highly
individualized rewards to those who engage.
As mentioned earlier, one major problem with focusing on ―performance measurement‖ is that it negatively affects
the cultural life of students ―as they are directed increasingly to economic self- interest and credential acquisition‖
(Lolich, 2011, p. 32). The noble ideals of students and staff to work for the common good and in the service of
humanity by doing public service are seriously curtailed in a context ―where universities operate as entrepreneurial,
purely competitive, business- oriented corporations‖ (Elton, 2000, p. 41).
Neoliberalism, the new managerialism, and the marketization of universities trigger the merging of commerce and
research. We now have a situation in many universities where the interests and values of business drive university
research. To be sure, universities need to interact with different people and to deal with a variety of interests and
priorities, but ―the ethical principles and priorities of the business sector are not synonymous with those of a
university‖ (Eisenberg, 1987, p.82). The danger is very real that the interests of university research can become
synonymous with those of powerful agencies and individuals in the case that universities become too reliant on
industry-funded research or too indebted to the business-driven agenda of the government.
Rankings imply a powerful ―methodological fetishism‖ (Amsler & Bolsmann, 2012, p. 292). Matters of
methodology and accuracy in using specific methodologies (positivistic and quantitative) take the place of serious
reflection on the nature and appropriateness of comparing essentially unique institutions. The focus is on getting the
rankings correct, even if this has little value unless the context and politics of the use of rankings are considered.
One could also argue that rankings benefit the wealthiest students as a tool they can use to decide where to attend
(Archer et al., 2002; Clancy, 2001; Espeland & Sauder, 2007; Karabel, 2005).
Rankings are also problematic because they are presented as purely objective measures of reality, while the fact that
they obey a specific neoliberal political agenda is neglected. What Hacking (1990, pp. 1–10) termed ―the avalanche Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
of numbers‖ has ―profoundly transformed what we choose to do, who we try to be, and what we think of ourselves‖
in higher education. Further, ―assessment measures permit the easy conflation of what is with what ought to be, of
what normal is in the statistical and moral sense.‖ The perceived neutrality of statistics and quantitative procedures
―deflects attention from their capacity to change the places and people that use them‖ (Espeland & Sauder, 2007, p.
36). The generalized use of rankings of performance in higher education has very negative consequences. Rankings
are a byproduct of a very specific political agenda in which some priorities are considered and others are left out.
Thus, ―rankings direct our attention into a different cognitive and normative order when evaluating higher education‖
(Lynch, 2013, p. 126). ―Questions regarding the value, purpose, and politics of higher education and rankings get
swept aside in the bid to find the best ‗method‘ of ranking‖ (Lynch, 2013, p. 131). Matters regarding access,
participation, social justice, and outcomes from higher education are usually disregarded in the ―positivist drive to
make ranking technologies more and more ‗objective‘‖ (Amsler & Bolsmann, 2012, p. 292).
Another consequence is that public intellectual work is unavoidably devalued. Rankings do not measure the role and
activities of academics as public intellectuals. They simply measure their communication activities with other
academics in a limited number of elite journals by discussing work that is primarily or exclusively the output of
commercially funded research.
Further, the increased overlap between private (market) and public perspectives and interests, the disregard of
neoliberal universities for public intellectual work, and the disincentive of important relationships in neoliberal
universities, all have as a consequence that knowledge is privatized to closed groups. As a result, the situation
―forecloses the opportunity to have hypotheses tested or challenged from experiential (disinterested) standpoints
outside the academy‖ (Lynch, 2013, p. 129).
8. Criticism and Alternatives
Neoliberalism affects the telos of higher education by redefining the very meaning of higher education.
Neoliberalism dislocates education by commodifying its intrinsic value and emphasizing directly transferable skills
and competencies. Nonmonetary values are marginalized and, with them, the nonmonetary moralism that is
essential in sustaining a healthy democratic society. Neoliberalism has had far-reaching effects on higher education.
Education is effectively reconfigured as business training to prepare the student as entrepreneur, society is
reimagined as the labor market, and the importance of rooting oneself in a deliberative, just, and equitable
community is lost in the face of rooting oneself in a competitive advantage.
Some of neoliberalism‘s features and their consequences for higher education can be summarized as follows:
Exclusive focus on entrepreneurial attitudes in terms organizational planning and priorities, as well as
reward systems and promotion processes for faculty
Unwarranted homogenization of the field of higher education by using rankings to measure performance
according to a specific political agenda and priorities that value excellence over equity
Reduction of ―education‖ (a deeply cognitive, emotional, and ethical pursuit) to ―training‖ and a focus
on outcomes over a sensible account of origins, processes, and contexts
Exclusion of higher education from consideration as a public good in national political and economic
priorities, together with the prevalence of individual rationality over collective explanations of behaviors
and choices
Exclusion of nonmonetary aspects in the educational process, aspects that are deemed inefficient and, as
a result, commercialization, consumerism, and transformation of students into customers deserving
Increased overlap between scientific research and market priorities, and increasing dependence of
research on corporate funders and their goals and objectives
Accountability and the artificial and misleading quantification of learning, which excludes fundamental
ethical, cognitive, and emotional aspects in the educational process
A focus on marketable competencies in courses and programs, resulting in the inability of students to
develop a sense of social and civic responsibility
Neglect of systemic disadvantage and prejudice, which leads to glaring social inequities and economic,
social, and civil disparities between people and groups
In Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education, Henry Giroux reminded us what is at stake for institutions of higher
education and the academy: ―Privatization, commodification, militarization, and deregulation are the new guiding Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
categories through which schools, teachers, pedagogy, and students are defined‖ (2014, p. 36). According to Giroux
(2014, p. 6),
This pedagogy of market-driven illiteracy has eviscerated the notion of freedom, turning it largely
into the desire to consume and invest exclusively in relationships that serve only one‘s individual
interests. Losing one‘s individuality is now tantamount to losing one‘s ability to consume. Shallow
consumerism coupled with an indifference to the needs and suffering of others has produced a
politics of disengagement and a culture of moral irresponsibility.
The use of business language and codes is widespread in order for faculty to ―sell‖ themselves and their programs to
deans and presidents in a constant search for funding. This is particularly true among faculty in the humanities.
More and more universities have decided to find sponsors in the corporate world and among the wealthy to fund
departments and to keep them open and active.
Neoliberalism has put forward the perception that disciplines like philosophy, religious studies, and theological
studies may be irrelevant and unnecessary in an environment that favors entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors.
Giroux‘s response was to develop critical pedagogies and to encourage faculty to reclaim their roles as public
intellectuals (2014, p. 99):
Academics have an ethical and pedagogical responsibility not only to unsettle and oppose all
orthodoxies, to make problematic the commonsense assumptions that often shape students‘ lives
and their understanding of the world, but also to energize them to come to terms with their own
power as individual and social agents.
Giroux‘s ideas pointed in the direction of reflecting about the role of teachers and the value of the teaching
profession: Teachers need to think about how they teach and why they teach. Indeed, teachers have the
responsibility to educate the students ask to think and act in ways that promote good ideas for shaping the world and
the betterment of humankind. The task of a teacher contains a profound ethical mandate: Raise up the youth so that
it can contribute to a better world. According to Giroux (2014, passim), action is urgently needed in five areas:
There is a need for educators to analyze the connections between the widespread attack on government as a
provider of public services and the transformation of higher education as a pawn of corporate power under
neoliberalism. A society-wide discussion ought to be held about the fundamental value of education as a
right for all, rather than an entitlement for those who can afford it. This is fundamentally a political
discussion in which the priorities of government spending should be discussed and questioned. It is not
acceptable to keep pointing to the increasing cost of tuition in higher education and rising student debt and
yet to remain silent about the government monies spent on the military and the taxes not paid by
A critique of neoliberalism needs to include a debate about how to transform a market economy into a
market society by realizing the damage that marketization has created in the West as well as the rest of the
world. In this regard, academics need to form coalitions for collective action with broader social movements
that aim at dismantling repressive institutions and other sources of injustice. Neoliberalism threatens higher
education and it threatens democracy as well.
Academics, journalists, and others need to fully analyze the close relationships among the growing
impoverishment of large segments of society and the rise of part-time labor with the massive inequality in
wealth and income as manifestations of the neoliberal agenda at home and abroad.
It is a main responsibility of academics, teachers, researchers, professors, and scholars to fight for the rights
of students to get a free education that is not colonized by corporate interests and is not aimed at developing
entrepreneurial values and a neoliberal persona at the expense of fundamental features of individuals, human
beings as members of collectivities and societies. Students need to be fully aware that a better world requires
that they defend civil responsibility, social justice, and democracy. Too many young people, especially from
low-income groups, have been excluded from getting a higher education and, in part, this means that they are
left out of the social contract and the discourse of democracy.
Within higher education, a fundamental topic for discussion and opposition should be the ongoing shift in
power relations between faculty and administration and managers. The trend has been toward lower
representation or even the exclusion of faculty from the governing structures of HEIs. Administrators and
their staffs now outnumber full-time faculty, producing two thirds of the increase in higher education costs in
the past 20 years. This trend is the product of a clearly defined political agenda and results in the loss of job
security and status by many faculty, who have been abandoned to the misery of impoverished wages, Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
excessive classes, no health care, and few, if any, social benefits.
As Bill Readings‘ The University in Ruins (1996) made clear, there are good reasons to regret our departure from a
―university of culture‖ and our arrival at a ―university of excellence‖; some call this transit a journey from a
―rational academy‖ to a neoliberal and instrumental one. Massification, marketization, and managerialism are at the
core of the neoliberal attack on higher education that enables education to emerge as a private good and a consumer
product. Critical thinking on the current state of higher education is more necessary than ever.
There is a need to discuss and teach critical university studies, as Jeff Williams has proposed. We need to engage in
far-reaching discussions about the university‘s literary, cultural, and social history. This would be a step in the right
direction, which Ronald Barnett, for instance, in Being a University, showed as a normative stance about what the
university ought to be in order to defend the common good and maintain the values that are intrinsic and essential to
the education of human beings. This is not only an educational project, but also fundamentally a political one.
Concluding Remarks
One of the byproducts of neoliberalism is innovation, the call to constant change and renewal and ―continuous
improvement.‖ This call for constant innovation in higher education has been made as an organizational and
institutional requirement with apparently no alternatives. Constant innovation, a particular instance of the creative
destruction in neoliberal capitalism, is presented as a fait accompli to which we must adapt and surrender without
The field operatives of neoliberalism in higher education are accreditation agencies (and too often the university
administrations), which have so far played, at least in the United States, a mediating role between the U.S. federal
government and academic institutions. Accrediting bodies have contributed, perhaps paradoxically, to preventing
the complete transformation of our temples of knowledge and critical thinking into pawns of political, corporate,
and financial power.
Has organizational and program innovation been adopted on U.S. campuses? Yes, to a degree. At the same time, the
discourse on innovation has been vigorously transformed into a tool to promote social- scientific research on
learning, pedagogical innovation, and the so-called ―quality‖ of teaching, and to assuage, or even to neutralize, the
ethos of quasi-military submission that nested in its corporate origin. Today, after almost two decades of
experimentation, we can offer tangible results and some lessons on innovation to business and financial leaders and
their political supporters, as follow.
First, it is not necessary to turn students into ―customers‖ in order to demonstrate that they are the focus of attention
in the educational process, let alone to improve their education. The students-as- customers view is stimulated by the
corporate process of ―customer-oriented innovation,‖ which dictates that the interaction with the customer (in sales,
marketing, service, and delivery) must be guided by satisfaction at all costs. In higher education, this idea is
counterproductive or inapplicable. When applied, it has often led to harmful consequences for students, who enter
the university expecting the ―satisfaction‖ of, for example, receiving a high grade on an exam even if it is obvious
that they do not deserve it.
It has been argued that the individual criteria of teachers when judging the work of a student may be in some cases
questionable or arbitrary. In order to avoid this possible shortcoming, there are widespread procedures that include
collective and multiple assessments that use multiple methods and external evaluators. What an educator should not
do is prioritize ―satisfying‖ students, because this would undermine the principle of quality and the spirit of sacrifice
that should govern all human action in general and any educational action in particular.
Second, long before the corporate and financial world began to speak of ―product innovation,‖ educators and
researchers had already embraced the Heraclitan principle of ―everything flows, nothing remains.‖ This was
traditionally reflected in curricula and the contents of specific courses. Further, innovation is a form of applied
creativity, and creativity and intuition have always been prominent features in the work of the best researchers in
any field of knowledge—the ―super-creative core‖ of Richard Florida—from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
There are countless examples of creativity applied in the sciences, philosophy, arts, and social sciences that
demonstrate the essentially dynamic nature of the search for truth and knowledge and the proclivity of researchers to
constantly innovate. In this respect, the corporate world, given its fascination with innovation, could learn
significantly from educators, researchers, and scholars. Third, corporate gurus like to talk about ―process innovation‖
and to promote the idea that business organizations ought to become ―communities of practice‖ in which the
know-how of the company gets distributed in a reticular way, rather than hierarchically. Today, many corporations
are new to the use of these ideas as tools to better manage their ―tacit knowledge.‖ Organizations and HEIs, think
tanks, and research centers, however, have always duly respected the principle that knowledge is free and that any Review of European Studies Vol. 12, No. 1; 2020
member of the organization can contribute ideas that may have an influence on the innovation of organizational
In conclusion, organizational innovation in the centers of knowledge and research has, in many cases, transformed
and improved the discourse and practices of continuous improvement promoted by corporate, financial, political
actors, and institutions, whose original purpose was primarily to increase economic efficiency and to impose
organizational and political hegemony, domination, and control.
Innovation, when it is practiced within the context of teaching, learning, and research organizations and presided
over by the Aristotelian ethos of public service, is a source of examples and lessons applicable to other areas of life
and society that seem much less committed to promoting the common good and more prone to indulging in self- and
shareholder interests.
It is reasonable to believe that if political and corporate leaders devoted some time to reflecting about the potential
benefits they would obtain by learning the approaches and methods of most teachers, scholars, and researchers, and
if they acted accordingly, we would be in a position to avoid or to mitigate some of the terribly corrosive effects of
power and the market that we endure today and could look into the future with greater renewed aspirations.
Author Note
The author‘s interest in neoliberalism and marketisation in higher education developed during his many years
serving the Middle States Commission on Higher Education as a field evaluator of institutions of higher education in
the United States. The insights gained through that experience are reflected in this article. This article is a
substantially updated and modified version of ―A Critique of Neoliberalism in Higher Education,‖ published by
Oxford University Press in 2019.
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... The business model of higher education has changed over the years due to marketisation [56,57], which started with mass higher education [58], the introduction of student tuition fees, and the trend of universities selling teaching and research as services with increasing student numbers and reduced budgets [58][59][60][61]; the granting of university status to polytechnic colleges [4,[59][60][61]; and the spread of the (UK) Open University model [62]. ...
... Finally, the chronosystem refers to broader, historical movements, and indeed, disruptions, including, for example, the industrial revolution [1], the massification of higher education on a global scale [56], and digital globalization [114]. For example, the earlier referred to Globalisation 4.0 [3] would fit into the chronosystem, with a fluid spill-over into the macrosystem. ...
... The business model of higher education has changed over the years due to marketisation [56,57], which started with mass higher education [58], the introduction of student tuition fees, and the trend of universities selling teaching and research as services with increasing student numbers and reduced budgets [58][59][60][61]; the granting of university status to polytechnic colleges [4,[59][60][61]; and the spread of the (UK) Open University model [62]. ...
... Finally, the chronosystem refers to broader, historical movements, and indeed, disruptions, including, for example, the industrial revolution [1], the massification of higher education on a global scale [56], and digital globalization [114]. For example, the earlier referred to Globalisation 4.0 [3] would fit into the chronosystem, with a fluid spill-over into the macrosystem. ...
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Broad societal disruptions (i.e., the industrial revolution, digitalisation, and globalisation) have created a need for an increasingly adaptive higher education system in recent decades. However, the response to these disruptions by universities has generally been slow. Most recently, online learning environments have had to be leveraged by universities to overcome the difficulties in teaching and learning due to COVID-19 restrictions. Thus, universities have had to explore and adopt all potential digital learning opportunities that are able to keep students and teachers engaged in a short period. This paper proposes a digital learning HeXie ecology model, which conceptualises elements and relationships pertaining to the societal need for a more agile and digitally resilient higher education system that is better placed to confront disruptive events (such as pandemics) and that is able to produce graduates who are well-equipped to deal with disruption and uncertainty more broadly. Specifically, we propose a digital learning ecology that emphasises the role of self-directed learning and its dynamic interaction between formal, informal, and lifelong learning across a five-level ecosystem: the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. This study contributes to the theoretical literature related to flexible learning ecologies by adopting and incorporating the Chinese HeXie concept into such ecologies.
... Additionally, existing research has suggested that HEIs should place a greater emphasis on students, as the students themselves (as customers and recipients of HE) are the best judges of what they want from HE. As a result, there are those who claim that HE should be student-centered to enhance educational quality [29]. ...
Purpose – Globalization has led many countries to promote cross-national academic programs in the interest of national development, and this trend has catalyzed educational reform in Asian countries, where a growing number of international students are choosing to study. Taiwan in particular has become one of the most popular destinations. Accordingly, globalization and internationalization have received increasing attention from researchers in education management over the past decade, who have found that internationalization is an indispensable component in the sustainable development of higher education (HE). This research aims to construct the Innovative Marketing Strategies (IMS) for international student recruitment by analyzing various educational marketing management theories and literature reviews. Design/methodology/approach – A literature review was used to construct the Innovative Marketing Strategies questionnaire. The data collected from 300 international students studying in Taiwan were subsequently used for feasibility study analysis and construct the final questionnaire. After the feasibility study, survey data collected from 522 participants were used for more in-depth statistical analysis such as descriptive analysis, variance analysis and SEM to test the hypothesis model. Interviews were also conducted via email and Google Meet with selected participants to deepen their perspectives on the Innovative Marketing Strategies. Findings – The research results show that combining the marketing mix 4C with innovative strategy is sustainable recruitment marketing strategies toward higher education institutions' internationalization from the customer-oriented perspective. The Innovative Marketing Strategies in this study include two dimensions, ten strategies followed by thirty-two indicators. The 4C marketing mix, which in the case of higher education recruitment, entails caring about student needs, cost, convenience, and communication. The innovative strategy toward sustainable internationalization of higher education includes STP strategy, i.e., market segmentation, targeting and positioning, as well as collaboration, brand image, international experience and online marketing, i.e., website and social media strategies. Additionally, an appropriate SEM model was constructed, which explored the impact of the Innovative Marketing Strategies on international students’ decision-making processes and students’ choices. Originality/value – This research contributed to the theoretical development and the practicality of sustainable HE internationalization management. Additionally, a comprehensive model was developed that diagrammatically demonstrated international students' perspective of HE innovative marketing strategies in Taiwan. Discussions and recommendations based on the results of this study are also given.
... Additionally, existing research has suggested that HEIs should place a greater emphasis on students, as the students themselves (as customers and recipients of HE) are the best judges of what they want from HE. As a result, there are those who claim that HE should be student-centered to enhance educational quality [29]. ...
Full-text available
Globalization and internationalization have received increasing attention from researchers in the field of education management over the past decade, who have found that internationalization is an indispensable component in the sustainable development of higher education (HE). This research aims to construct Innovative Marketing Strategies (IMS) for international student recruitment and contribute to the sustainable internationalization of higher education (IoHE). A literature review was used to construct an Innovative Marketing Strategies questionnaire. Data collected from 300 international students studying in Taiwan were used for a feasibility analysis in order to construct the final questionnaire, and survey data collected from 522 participants were used for more in-depth statistical analysis of the final strategies. The research results indicate that combining the marketing mix 4C with an innovative strategy (IS) approach provides sustainable recruitment marketing strategies toward higher education institution internationalization from a customer-oriented perspective. The IMS in this study includes 2 dimensions, 10 strategies, and 32 indicators. Additionally , a comprehensive analysis demonstrating the perspectives of international students with respect to the strategies was also conducted. This research contributes to the theoretical development and practical implementation of sustainable HE internationalization management. Discussions and recommendations based on the results of this study are also given.
... However, all these actions do not necessarily entail a genuine commitment by the institutions to diversity and inclusion [38]. This view and the tensions that are generated from it are consistent with what Thomas (2018) proposed on "Diversity Regimes" [39]; on the one hand, the imperative need to adopt a perspective focused on the generation of social value and an inclusive approach linked to quality is disseminated and highlighted [42][43][44][45]; on the other hand, the concept of quality has been assumed and measured in terms of productivity and efficiency in a market-based context, under which there is no room for the valuation of diversity and the social role [27], marginalising non-monetary values with the strengthening of competence mechanisms centred on the hegemony of rankings as surveillance and control procedures [46]. ...
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Introduction During the last century, the inclusion of all kinds of diversity became a social imperative in all social spaces but above all in some institutions such as the educational ones. Among these, inclusion has been least studied in the tertiary education organizations. This communication proposes and evaluates the psychometric properties of a new instrument, named Inclusive Management in Tertiary Institutions Scale (IMTIS), to assess inclusive management in universities. Method The researchers used a quantitative research model through survey. We based on the Index for Inclusion to design the IMTIS. We first submitted it to the assessment of experts. Then we applied the resulting version in an online survey including a sample of 1557 students from two universities and 121 different undergraduate careers. A panel of experts judged the content validity of the instrument. Participants answered the IMTIS after informed consent. We used confirmatory factor analysis to assess the construct validity of the instrument. We also evaluated the reliability of the measurements. Results From a kit of 33 originally proposed items, we obtained a version of 22 items with CVR between 0.60 and 1.00, and a IVC = 0.78. The confirmatory factor analysis showed that the six-factor solution had a better adjustment than the one and three factors solutions (RMSEA = 0.059; CFI = 0.947; TLI = 0.937). The McDonald ω coefficients were between 0.864 and 0.922. Conclusion The results deliver evidence that supports the validity and reliability of the IMTIS measurements to carry out research and diagnosis of inclusive management in higher education institutions.
... Neoliberalism affects the telos of education by redefining its meaning and commodifying its central value. It accentuates transferable skills and competencies, while disregarding non-monetary values, indispensable in enduring a healthy democratic society [33,34]. Under this model, economic growth is undebatable and obtained at the expense of the quality of the relational and ecological environment, therefore bringing a potential negative effect on individual and collective happiness [35,36]. ...
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For a positive global future, it is fundamental to tackle the existing web of psychological, economic, sociological, and cultural processes reflected in current education systems. Confronted with complex issues that are essential to the stability of civilizations, we need more voices addressing a critical analysis of education in its key role. This can result in more people participating as happy, informed, and engaged citizens. This paper introduces the argument for education to promote public happiness (Felicitas Publica) and support global peace, addressing the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #3, #4, and #16. It begins by mapping the landscape of promising education-related practices supporting these SDGs and provides recommendations for research and actions. In addition, it presents the work of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Global Peace Sustainability, based at the Universidade de Lisboa, in Portugal, as an illustrative example. With this paper, we hope to convey the input of different branches of psychology that have the common good as their aim and address the positive transformation of our current educational processes.
In this chapter, we argue that, driven by the threat of eroding enrollments and guided by perverse college ranking incentives, academic management executives capitalized on pandemic upheavals and uncertainty by adding market-driven academic programs, most commonly masters’ degrees, and pushing for other market-driven changes, such as microcredentialing as tactics to capture new sources of revenue. In doing so, they continued to weaken shared governance and the power of faculty. Additionally, they further distorted the values of the academy through a reemergence of vocationalism that looks similar to their for-profit college counterparts.KeywordsEroding enrollmentsCollege ranking incentivesAcademic management executivesMarket-driven academic programsShared governance
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Objective To understand how researchers experience working in academia and the effects these experiences have on their mental health and well-being, through synthesizing published qualitative data. Method A systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis was conducted to gain a comprehensive overview of what is currently known about academic researchers’ mental health and well-being. Relevant papers were identified through searching electronic databases, Google Scholar, and citation tracking. The quality of the included studies was assessed and the data was synthesised using reflexive thematic analysis. Results 26 papers were identified and included in this review. Academic researchers’ experiences were captured under seven key themes. Job insecurity coupled with the high expectations set by the academic system left researchers at risk of poor mental health and well-being. Access to peer support networks, opportunities for career progression, and mentorship can help mitigate the stress associated with the academic job role, however, under-represented groups in academia are at risk of unequal access to resources, support, and opportunities. Conclusion To improve researchers’ well-being at work, scientific/academic practice and the system’s concept of what a successful researcher should look like, needs to change. Further high-quality qualitative research is needed to better understand how systemic change, including tackling inequality and introducing better support systems, can be brought about more immediately and effectively. Further research is also needed to better understand the experiences and support needs of post-doctoral and more senior researchers, as there is a paucity of literature in this area. Trial registration The review protocol was registered on PROSPERO ( CRD42021232480) .
Purpose Given their young age, students are at a heightened risk of violent victimisation. Yet few studies have considered students’ perceptions of safety and the impact of these, on a British university campus. The purpose of this research was to close this gap. Design/methodology/approach From late 2019–2020, using an online university wide survey, data was gathered over a three-month period from 550 students studying at a university in the north of England on “city” campuses about their perceptions of safety and security on-campus. Findings Students, particularly women students, felt unsafe on the university campuses because of poor lighting, limited CCTV, security patrols and the presences of others. They felt unsafe in and around teaching buildings, moving around the campuses and in transport locations. Research limitations/implications The response rate of the survey was 6%. Consequently, the findings are not representative of the wider student population on the campuses. Practical implications Campus Security should consider enhancing surveillance on the campuses. Social implications Students, particularly women, limited the time they spent on-campus studying because they felt unsafe. Their choices about when and how to engage in their university education were therefore restricted. Originality/value This study addresses the gap in research on students’ perceptions of safety and the impact of these, on a British university campus. In doing so, it forefronts the responsibility of higher education institutions to enhance students’ safety, including their perceptions of safety, on-campus.
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Contemporarily, universities are perceived as neoliberal entities, self-absorbed, driven by corporate interests, markets and economic goals, rather than perceived as providing a public good, concerned for the wider world (del Cerro Santamaria in Review of European Studies, 12(1), 22–38, 2020). This perception of universities as individualised communities rather than collective communities (Rousseau in Social Currents, 7(5), 395–401, 2020) accentuates the responsibilisation of individuals who are viewed as responsible for solving their own problems (Martinez and Garcia in What is neoliberalism, 2000), including ensuring their own safety (Garland in The British Journal of Criminology, 36(4), 445–471, 1996). Set against this social-political backdrop, this paper, using data from an online survey about students’ perceptions of on-campus safety at a university in the north of England, shows how some students, particularly women students, view others as dangerous, rather than view them as vulnerable groups who are residing on the margins of an inequitable society. The porous borders of the university campuses amplify some students’ perceptions of dangerous others and students’ suggestions for campus security to keep out such others arguably serve to aggravate rather than relieve their perceptions of unsafety. Yet the porous borders of the campuses should be seen as advantageous because an ecological university can connect its students to the wider world to help facilitate care for the other (Barnett in The ecological university, 2018). In doing so, this may enhance students’ own sense of well-being and safety in the urban environment. This is a timely argument amidst a global pandemic, where the university restricts access to unauthorised others and, in doing so, facilitates the makings of an exclusive community.
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Capitalism is ecologically irredeemable. It simply cannot be fixed. This is because capitalism is based on endless capital accumulation, entailing growth in material throughput, whereas the planet Earth is finite. From this conclusion of ecological Marxism, this book continues to theorise how capitalism is reproduced in the 21st century. It is argued that the logic of capital and production based on the profit motive, competition and productivity enhancements is not enough to reproduce capitalism, but a wide variety of national and transnational institutional arrangements, repressive and ideological state apparatuses are needed as well to secure and protect its continuation. One of the most important state institutions from this perspective is higher education. Higher education has an integral role not only in educating people to become part of the capitalist production, but also has a significant role in providing knowledge, innovations and other outputs for expansive capital accumulation. Based on neoliberal restructuring of contemporary higher education, it is claimed that one of the primary purposes of higher education is to reproduce capitalism, and because of this higher education is increasingly functioning on an ecologically unsustainable basis.
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This article addresses grading, one process in the management education pedagogical framework, to explore how the economic metaphor underlying grading practices has shaped stakeholders' perspectives both of the purpose of education and of the meaning of grades. It is argued that the stakeholders of higher education interpret grades as a currency that neatly quantifies learning, permitting market comparisons and exchange. This money metaphor objectifies education. The economic metaphor and its effects on the educational process are discussed with the intent of increasing awareness of the implications of the metaphor. The metaphorical linkages between money and grades are explained. The social criticisms of money that help explain why the money metaphor is problematic for the education domain are reviewed. The main criticisms offered address the intrinsic nonmaterial goals of education and the student-teacher relationship, both of which are poorly represented by the grades-as-money metaphor. The implications of these criticisms for business schools are addressed.
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Tobacco, alcohol and gambling corporations have been highly effective in stalling, diverting and blocking public health measures. This book provides an original and engaging exposé of the ethical issues faced by people and organizations when they accept industry money in ways that facilitate corporate influence with the public and with policy makers. It starts with a detailed examination of the risks of accepting such profits and what might be done to reduce them, then moves on to introduce the concept of a continuum of 'moral jeopardy' which shifts the emphasis from accept/not accept binaries to a focus on the extent to which people are willing to accept funding. This shift encourages people to think and speak more about the risks and to develop clearer positions for themselves. The content will be helpful to those working in government agencies, addiction services, community organizations or anyone interested in reducing the harms of addictive consumption.
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This paper aims to study a set of entrepreneurial activities at a public university and the interaction with other universities, the business sector and government at Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), Brazil. The study sought an understanding of the dynamics and results of the research activities, the interaction with various organizations and the establishing of commercial, social, cultural and civic entrepreneurship developed by UNIRIO’s research groups. Analysis of the activities related to entrepreneurship, in a broad sense, offers the possibility of shedding light on less appreciated but equally important aspects of the activities performed by universities, representing an initiative focused on social and humanistic activities. It is this set of endeavors, aimed at the commercialization of technology and appropriation of knowledge, along with others aimed at creating social value, that comprise the entrepreneurial university.
Addresses what educators, young people, and concerned citizens can do to reclaim higher education from market-driven neoliberal ideologies.
This essay describes some of the psycho-emotional injuries in the American Academic Profession as a consequence of neoliberalism in higher education.
Book synopsis: The world has changed profoundly since the publication of the influential book Technopoles of the World. As policy-makers and practitioners attempt to harness science, technology and innovation to create dynamic and vibrant cities many wonder how relevant Manuel Castells and Peter Hall's messages are today. Twenty years later, this book returns to their concepts and practices to update their message for the 21st century. Making 21st Century Knowledge Complexes: Technopoles of the World Revisited argues that the contemporary technopole concept encompasses three new dimensions. Firstly, building synergy between partners is vital for the success of complexes. Secondly, the correct governance arrangements are critical to balance competing interests inevitable in any science city project. Thirdly, new evaluation mechanisms are indispensable in allowing policy-makers to steer their long-term benefits. Through twelve case study chapters and a detailed comparative analysis, this book provides academics, policy-makers and practitioners with critical insights in understanding, managing and promoting today's high-technology urban complexes.