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Ben Hannah
Writing 2010-093
Professor Jennifer Courtney

A Synthesis of Higher Education

While mapping out the differences and similarities throughout all these articles I found
that each article focuses on the current state of higher education in one way or another, so I
decided to lead with that. Within the overall state of higher education, the theme of neoliberalism
leading to the corporatization of higher education was also common. I then decided to branch off
into two groups that still had connections, but they were different enough that they required
First was the impact that corporatization had on higher education; this led to smaller
clusters inside the larger, including the effect it had on academic values and the resulting shifts in
priorities. It also included the benefits that have been reaped, such as more funding that leads to
more research, though that can be influenced by the benefactors. All of this made up one larger
group that was connected to the other by the authors query into how it all impacts the students,
staff, faculty, and community. The other main group is made up of two clusters; one lists
different ways the authors defined what role higher education needs to take, and the other is their
suggestion on how to go about getting there. Overall the map shows how even though each
author focused on a different aspect of higher education, they all have a common foundation and
support each others arguments.

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The focus of this conversation is the current status of higher education and where it is
headed. Each of the following articles referenced contribute to the effort of answering this
question, as well as ask what can be done in order to secure the best continued future for higher
education. They each focus on a different aspect of higher education, but they intersect with each
other at several key points. Adrianna Kezar begins by saying traditionally higher educations
public role and contribution to the public good has included educating citizens for democratic
engagement, supporting local and regional communities, preserving knowledge and making it
available to the community, working in concert with other social institutions such as government
or health-care agencies to foster their missions, advancing knowledge through research,
developing the arts and humanities, broadening access to ensure a diverse democracy,
developing the intellectual talents of students, and creating leaders for various areas of the public
sector. This statement is important because it touches upon every aspect that each author has
The role of higher education is the biggest question in this conversation. Each author tries
to determine where it is headed as well as what needs to be done to put it on the right course;
each author agrees that there are things that need to change. Kezar addresses the emergence of
neoliberalism in higher education and contends that a more utilitarian view that embraces a
changing and contested charter that is a blending of both the traditional and industrial models of
higher education is needed. Bob Hanke and Alison Hearn also speak of the ascendency of
neoliberalism and the negative affect it has had on higher education. They argue that it has
resulted in a quest for efficiencies that has displaced academic values. This leads into the
subtopic of the corporatization of higher education and how it is changing it into an industry.

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Sarah Bonewits and Lawrence Soley write that due to a decrease in funding from the
government, universities had to seek out other sources for support. This led to a huge change in
higher education that according to Kezar, Bonewits, and Soley resulted in more funding and
research; though Hanke and Hearn contend that this was at the expense of traditional academic
values and led to a quest for efficiency as stated above. The increase in funding led to more
research, but as Bonewits and Soley pointed out, this sometimes leads to the focus being aligned
with the benefactors agendas over the universities. All this influenced a move away from
teaching as a priority, to an emphasis on research.
Hanke and Hearn ask how all of this impacts students, staff, faculty, and the community.
Each article calls for something to happen; Bonewits and Soley call for the communities to take
action, Kezar calls on policy makers and educational leaders to step in, and Hurtado asks for
universities to focus on research that advances the role of higher education. The role of higher
education is another thing that is up for debate; each author focuses on a different aspect of that
role, though none of those roles are exclusive and I would argue the role that higher education
takes encompasses them all. Hurtado focuses her attention on diversity and research where
Bonewits and Soley focus more on research. Kezar, Hanke, and Hearn emphasize a need for the
humanities and arts; something they believe has been pushed to the back-burner.
In conclusion this conversation can be visualized as a large circle. The different clusters
and topics that make it up rely on one another, from the effect that the corporatization of higher
education has on what role it should take, to determining that role according to the changes that
higher education has experienced and needs. Throughout this conversation the authors present
their arguments through each of the rhetorical appeals at some point. Kezar using logos appeals
while describing the benefits that higher education has received through corporatization is an

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example of this. And when Hurtado argues for diversity she relies heavily on both logos and
pathos. Bonewits, Soley, and Kezar use ethos when they call out to the communities and leaders
to take action: there is a trust put in those who have the power to shape the future of higher

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Bonewits, S., & Soley, L. (n.d.). Research and the Bottom Line In Today's University. American Academic,
Hanke, B., & Hearn, A. (n.d.). Introduction: Out of the Ruins, the University to Come. 11-20.
Hurtado, S. (2006). Linking Diversity with the Educational and Civic Missions of Higher Education. The
Review of Higher Education, 185-196.
Kezar, A. (2004). Obtaining Integrity? Reviewing and Examining the Charter between Higher Education
and Society. The Review of Higher Education, 429-459.