I would bet most professors have opinions on the influence of corporate culture on colleges and universities. Sociologist Gaye Tuchman has written a book on just that. In the book, Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University, Tuchman describes what she learned during six years of interviews with faculty members and administrators (in addition to drawing on her own experiences and observations).  The book description puts it this way:

Based on years of observation at a state school, Wannabe U tracks the dispiriting consequences of trading in traditional educational values for loyalty to the market. Aping their boardroom idols, the new corporate administrators wander from job to job and reductively view the students as future workers in need of training. Obsessed with measurable successes, they stress auditing and accountability, which leads, Tuchman reveals, to policies of surveillance and control dubiously cloaked in the guise of scientific administration. Following the big money to be made from the discoveries of Wannabe U’s researchers, Tuchman probes the cozy relationships that the administration forms with industry and the government.

Kathleen Megan reports on the book in a story for the Hartford Courant. Part of the angle she covers relates to the presupposition that the school Tuchman is describing it UConn, a claim that Tuchman refuses to affirm for ethical reasons. Megan also highlights some of Tuchman’s key concerns, including the impact these changes have for teaching. For example, she quotes Tuchman as saying:

Universities are no longer to lead the minds of students to grasp truth; to grapple with intellectual possibilities; to appreciate the best in art, music, and other forms of culture; and to work toward enlightened politics and public services. . . . Rather they are now to prepare students for jobs. They are not to educate, but to train.

It looks like it does raise some basic questions about the purpose of a college education and of colleges and universities. I suspect it also will raise questions about who gets to define success and how success should be assessed.

IndsideHigherEd.com also has an extended summary available here.

Google books has previews from the first couple chapters of the book available here.

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