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Academic Capitalism

Slaughter, S. & Leslie, L. L. (1999).

Presented by Karen Yan
History of the Relation
between Academics and the
The First Half of 20th
o Insulated from the market
o Guided by ideas of service
and altruism
The Second Half of 20th
1. The market became global
2. Lost shares of markets
3. Responding to the loss by investing
in new technologies
4. Less public money was available for
higher education
5. and what new money was available
was concentrated in technoscience
and market-related fields
The Second Half of 20th
o A turning point: 1980s
2. The market became global
3. lost shares of markets
o Taiwan’s share? Need data and analysis
4. responding to the loss by investing
in new technologies
o WHY: remain competitive in global markets
o HOW:
o demand government to sponsor commercial research
and development in research universities and in
government laboratories
o the development of national policies that facilitate the
1. Less public money was available
for higher education
o WHY: partly because of increasing
claims on government funds
o supply-side economics: shifting public
resources from social welfare programs to
economic development efforts
o HOW: tax cuts for the business sector
o HOW: stimulate technology innovation
o debt reduction
o increased entitlement programs: Social
Security, Medicare, and primary and
secondary education
o WHY: demographic changes
o What new money was available
was concentrated in
technoscience and market-
related fields
o e.g., in molecular biology,
materials science, optical
science, cognitive science
o So-called applied, commercial,
strategic, and targeted
Academic Capitalism def.=
o “institutional and professorial
market or marketlike behaviors to
secure external moneys”
o HOW: Research grants and contracts, service
contracts, partnerships with industry and
government, technology transfer, or the
recruitment of more and higher fee-paying

o “Market behaviors refer to for-profit activity

on the part of institutions, activity such as
patenting and subsequent royalty and
licensing agreements, spinoff companies,
arm’s-length corporations, and university-
industry partnerships”
o “…changes that blur the
customary boundaries
between private and public
sectors” (p.9)

o “They are academics who act

as capitalists from within the
public sector; they are state-
subsidized entrepreneurs”
Outline of Chapter 2 & 3:
International changes that shape
higher education
What and How
o What forces are driving the
restructuring of higher education?
o Emergence of global markets and its
implication on higher education
o How are these forces manifested in
national policy?
o promote shift from basic or curiosity-
driven research to targeted or
commercial or strategic research
o access to higher education: greater
student participation but lower national
cost; switch from student grants to loans
o curricula: prefer department and colleges
close to the market
Outline of Chapter 4
o How do administrators and
faculty describe the
advantages and disadvantages
of academic capitalism?

o How do individual academics

respond to the rise of
academic capitalism?
Case study of Australian in the late
“…faculty had to compete for
government research funds
rather than receive them as a
prerogative of holding a
university position…”

“The federal government began

to monitor institutions through
a quality assurance scheme,
rewarding universities that met
agreed-upon goals and
o University and faculty had to
compete for critical resources
(research money)
o Teach, public service,
o Research becomes the activity that
differentiates among and within
o Turn to academic capitalism to
maintain research resources and to
maximize prestige
“…if faculty were offered
more resources to teach
more students, it is not
clear that they would
compete for these moneys
with the same zeal with
which they compete for
external research dollars.”
Outline of Chapter 5
o How did faculty perceive the
impact of academic capitalism on
their unit, their universities, and
their careers?
o Were they developing new
strategies to deal with political
economic change and national
higher education policy change?
o If new strategies were emerging,
did they result in organizational
47 persons in eight unites in three
“Very often the new units called for
the addition of large numbers of
professional officers and
nonacademic staff, who fiercely loyal
to center or institute heads, did not
engage much with faculty, and were
not very interested in teaching. They
were much more a part of the
commercial culture than the
academic culture and tended to
bring commercial values to their
work, concentrating on making their
centers operate more like small firm,
expanding commercial activity, and
“Faculty especially valued
the improved relations with
external bodies, heightened
prestige of their units,
closer linkage to the
economy, and added
monetary benefits”
“Junior faculty,
postdoctoral fellows, and
graduate students were
less favorable in their views
of academic capitalism.
They felt that performance
expectations had doubled
because they were now
supposed to demonstrate
excellence in two research
venues, fundamental and
Outline of Chapter 6
o Whether academic conceptions of the
nature of knowledge were changing

o Did the faculty still value fundamental or

basic theoretical knowledge above all
else, or were market pressures and
resource dependence changing academic

o How did professors deal with the

professional norm of altruism when they
pursued the discovery and development of
profit-making products and processes?

o If change was occurring, was it across all

fields, or was it confined, in research
“…reconceptualize knowledge so
that entrepreneurial research
would be valued highly,
especially entrepreneurial
research on the frontiers of
science and technology,
research that involved discovery
of innovative products and
processes for global markets”

o Being ambivalent about altruism

o A loss to the concept of the
university as a community,
where the individual members
are oriented primarily toward
the greater good of the
o The successful academic capitalists
will gain personal power within
universities, both individually and
o The central administrators will
gain in the redistribution of power
The End