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

Winner of the 2003 "Silver" Frandson Award for Literature in Higher Education
Winner of the Alice L. Beeman Research Award in Communications for Educational Advancement

Paperback | 2004 | $28.95 / £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691120126
256 pp. | 6 x 9
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400825493 |
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Is everything in a university for sale if the price is right? In this book, one of America's leading educators cautions that the answer is all too often "yes." Taking the first comprehensive look at the growing commercialization of our academic institutions, Derek Bok probes the efforts on campus to profit financially not only from athletics but increasingly, from education and research as well. He shows how such ventures are undermining core academic values and what universities can do to limit the damage.

Commercialization has many causes, but it could never have grown to its present state had it not been for the recent, rapid growth of money-making opportunities in a more technologically complex, knowledge-based economy. A brave new world has now emerged in which university presidents, enterprising professors, and even administrative staff can all find seductive opportunities to turn specialized knowledge into profit.

Bok argues that universities, faced with these temptations, are jeopardizing their fundamental mission in their eagerness to make money by agreeing to more and more compromises with basic academic values. He discusses the dangers posed by increased secrecy in corporate-funded research, for-profit Internet companies funded by venture capitalists, industry-subsidized educational programs for physicians, conflicts of interest in research on human subjects, and other questionable activities.

While entrepreneurial universities may occasionally succeed in the short term, reasons Bok, only those institutions that vigorously uphold academic values, even at the cost of a few lucrative ventures, will win public trust and retain the respect of faculty and students. Candid, evenhanded, and eminently readable, Universities in the Marketplace will be widely debated by all those concerned with the future of higher education in America and beyond.

Review:

"Provocative and original. . . . Bok is one of the premier elder statesman of American higher education."--Stephen B. Sample and Warren Bennis, Los Angeles Times

"Astute and fair-minded. . . . Derek Bok, a sensible man, has written a sensible book about the commercialization of the American university."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

"Contending that the trend toward excessive commercialization is not yet irreversible, Bok offers cogent, urgent arguments for reorienting universities toward fulfilling their unique purpose uncorrupted by the insidious influence of money."--USA Today

"Derek Bok begins his new book with [a] nightmare of university avarice and moral decay. Some of the moneymaking schemes are imaginary, but, as Mr. Bok warns, the dangers inherent in the insatiable demands for revenue are not. . . . It is increasingly difficult . . . to meet higher education's insatiable financial demands through conventional means. . . . Mr. Bok notes that commercialization has seeped even into the core educational mission. . . . Having a Derek Bok to remind us of our higher calling and the present dangers may, if his words are heeded, be more consequential than we can imagine."--Anthony W. Marx, New York Times

"Raises lots of big, disquieting questions. . . . Universities that blur the lines between their own culture and that of the corporate world endanger their values without substantially raising the value of their endowments. It is, in short, shortsighted. With the publication of this book, the nation's universities can't say they weren't warned."--David M. Shribman, Chicago Tribune

"Derek Bok, the former president of Harvard, argues that institutions have, perhaps unwittingly, made Faustian bargains. . . . Athletics provides a cautionary tale. . . . The dangers of corporate-sponsored research are even greater."--Glenn C. Altschuler, Barron's

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This book has been translated into:

  • Chinese (Complex)
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Serbian
  • Arabic

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      File created: 4/17/2014

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