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Universities in the Marketplace:
The Commercialization of Higher Education
Derek Bok

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [HTML] or [PDF format]


"Bok realizes that there are times when allowing a business to provide funding for research or clothing for an athletic team is critical to a particular college's survival, but the trend of marketing various aspects of higher education is becoming more prevalent. This book is Bok's way of sounding the alarm for universities to analyze their practices critically."--Library Journal

"A humane and beautifully crafted book. Bok believes that the intrusion of the marketplace into the university is eroding fundamental academic values, and that we must act now to halt this decline. . . . [A] thoughtful and thought-provoking book."--Jeremy Gunawardena, Nature

"This is a good and needed book. . . . Bok strives for balance. He tries to puncture both the dangers to academe raised by its purists and the promises of easy money made by mortarboard Babbitts. He calls for new scrutiny of financial relationships between university researchers and companies. He [worries that] . . . corporate cash, fed slowly but in rising and addictive doses, will become the force behind what is discovered and what is ignored and even suppressed."--Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer

"Bok shows that he knows his subject well and that he has done his homework. Moreover, he marshals the relevant facts with an even hand and unsparing candor. . . . One can only hope that his book will help the public understand what is at stake and will generate support for the needed reforms. Derek Bok has sounded a warning that ought to be heeded."--Arnold S. Relman, New England Journal of Medicine

"Bok is sensibly, judiciously and presidentially concerned. He puts the commercialization of the university into the same frame as big-time intercollegiate sport: both are unambiguous distractions from what universities are properly supposed to be about."--Steven Shapin, London Review of Books

"A thoughtful, clear-eyed inquiry into the impact of commercialization on the university's fundamental missions of education and research."--Daniel J. Kevles, American Scientist

"Bok is a retired President of Harvard, who was Dean of Harvard Law School before becoming President, and has been a distinguished professor in the Kennedy School of Government in his retirement. Harvard's endowment is worth something around $20 billion, so Professor Bok's views on money in higher education carry a certain weight. Bok provides a measured account of what goes wrong when too much of what a university does is seen to be up for sale--but not so measured that the point is lost or the lesson muffled. . . . Bok's patient attention to useful policies that each university can institute on its own--forbidding coaches to lean on professors for better grades, putting gin place policies about disclosure that commercial sponsors must sign up to--is the sort of thing that is needed."--Alan Ryan, Times Literary Supplement

"[An] excellent and beautifully written book."--Gordon Johnson, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Informed, concise, readable, temperate yet sounding necessary alarms."--Change


"Derek Bok grasps better than anyone I know the changes that have taken place in the academic culture of American higher education. In Universities in the Marketplace, he documents the sheer growth of market forces and the escalation of commercialization in academia. Perhaps more important he alerts us that the reach of commercialization has moved from the innocent fringe of the campus (athletics and sweatshirts) to its academic heart. University presidents, trustees, and faculty leaders: take note! This is an important book."--Stanley O. Ikenberry, Regent Professor and President Emeritus, University of Illinois

"Derek Bok's wise and judicious book offers a road map for all concerned with the health and integrity of higher education in an age that has seen the boundaries between the academic, corporate, and public worlds become more permeable and the need to understand the costs associated with that transition more urgent. At the same time, President Bok's analysis of the potential dangers lurking in contemporary tendencies toward 'commercialization' is an affirmation that the enduring values of the academy can be extended and strengthened through thoughtful and careful engagement with the questions at issue."--Hanna Holborn Gray, President Emeritus, University of Chicago

"Combining the experience of a seasoned university president with the analysis of a respected legal scholar, Derek Bok explores what he concludes are 'signs of excessive commercialization in every part of the university.' His somber assessment of the current state of athletics, scientific research, and distance education, and his call for review and restraint, should engage the attention of every faculty senate in the country. He has given us a timely, candid, courageous, and important book."--Frank H. T. Rhodes, President Emeritus, Cornell University

"This book is a thoughtful and wide-ranging analysis of the commercial pressures on universities. There is no other study like it. Extremely well organized, clear, and gracefully written, Universities in the Marketplace will be of interest to all those concerned about higher education and its future."--William G. Bowen, President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

"Universities in the Marketplace is quite a successful book that breaks valuable new ground. Derek Bok's calmly reasoned voice contrasts favorably with the hyperbole that surrounds many such discussions. The writing is so clear and the arguments so reasonable that it is easy to overlook the author's effortless command of the relevant literature and his well-judged historical treatment of his subjects. No other book is both so comprehensive and so accessible."--Michael McPherson, President, Macalaster College

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File created: 4/21/2017

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