No subject

Thu Oct 25 20:22:17 EST 2012

past thirty years is effectively driven by the administrators you are talki=
ng about, who typically give themselves three-figure salaries. They come in=
, you see, in the wake of economic crisis, in order to make the university =
*more efficient* -- ha ha, which is apparently why there is a tuition spike=
 after every major recession, including a large one right now. The administ=
rators go before Congress every couple years to raise the level of the loan=
s that will be guaranteed by the government, and they use the proceeds, alo=
ng with corporate partnerships and financialized endowments, to preside ove=
r vast expansions.

I think the research university should be identified as the central institu=
tion of the neoliberal knowledge-based economy. The sea-change was the Bayh=
-Dole Act in 1980, which allowed for the patenting of publicly funded resea=
rch. Corporations as well as government could then scale back their large l=
aboratories and practice what's now called "open innovation," where relativ=
ely small amounts of seed money are enough to catalyze research processes w=
hose results can be selectively acquired by buying out the relevant patents=
. In a society where, since Reagan, only business is recognized as a value,=
 this transformation of scientific research was enough to justify running t=
he entire university like a corporation. The star system, the corporate par=
tnerships, the precarization of academic labor, the competition for the rev=
enue stream of student loans, and more recently, the franchising of major u=
niversity brands in Asia, are all among the results. For what? is the best =
question. In my view, very sadly, it's for reducing knowledge to nothing mo=
re than a function of capitalism.

The best book I've found on this is, fittingly, entitled Academic Capitalis=
m, by Sheila Slaughter and Gary Rhoades. It's serious, anything but simplis=
tic, a very impressive and wide-ranging piece of scholarship, check it out:

Another good one is Chris Newfield's Unmaking the Public University, partic=
ularly the chapter "Facing the Knowledge Managers":

Finally, my own attempt to sum these things up:

No one yet has the solution to these problems, but the good thing is, over =
the last five years people have finally started to ask the important questi=
ons and to begin mobilizing around those questions. Student loans and corpo=
ratization are issues in themselves: but they are also part and parcel of a=
 larger problem, which is the neoliberal development model. It can't addres=
s the problems of inequality and ecological unsustainability, and as long a=
s it rules over the universities, we will get nothing substantial from them=
. A great loss, I'd say.

in solidarity, Brian
empyre forum
empyre at<mailto:empyre at>

David Golumbia
dgolumbia at<mailto:dgolumbia at>

empyre forum
empyre at<mailto:empyre at>

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<div style=3D"direction: ltr;font-family: Tahoma;color: #000000;font-size: =
10pt;">Dear Nicky Donald,
<div>Thank you for your post. &nbsp;I had a postdoc at Leeds a couple of ye=
ars back and I caught a glimpse of what you're talking about. &nbsp;Thank y=
ou, Nicky!</div>
<div>Erin Obodiac<br>
<div style=3D"font-family: Times New Roman; color: #000000; font-size: 16px=
<hr tabindex=3D"-1">
<div id=3D"divRpF584910" style=3D"direction: ltr; "><font face=3D"Tahoma" s=
ize=3D"2" color=3D"#000000"><b>From:</b> empyre-bounces at
.au [empyre-bounces at] on behalf of Nicky Donald [nick=
y.donald at]<br>
<b>Sent:</b> Monday, November 26, 2012 11:55 AM<br>
<b>To:</b> soft_skinned_space<br>
<b>Subject:</b> Re: [-empyre-] Executives and corporatization<br>
<p>I'd like to put a couple of points from the other side of the fence (and=
 the Pond). It's not targeted at any of the posts here, largely because the=
 US is a different planet.</p>
<p>The UK academic establishment has always regarded and treated University=
 administrators with contempt. They have historically&nbsp; been part-time =
jobs for women who exist only to serve the great and good.</p>
<p>Time and time again administrators are bullied, shouted at and regarded =
as inferior. The attitude of many academic staff, especially, I have to say=
, the young ones on the make (professor by 35, HoD by 40, devil take the hi=
ndmost, probably the &quot;stars&quot; you
 mention) is shocking.</p>
<p>Now that universities are facing cuts across the board, the administrati=
ve staff have been the first to go. Rather than abandoning their silos and =
embracing cross-disciplinary projects or, God forbid, engaging with industr=
y and wider society, the academic
 elite are entrenching themselves and blaming the &quot;proliferation of ad=
ministrators&quot;. The main reason there seem to be so many is that they'v=
e never noticed them before. As the cuts begin to bite, stuff just isn't ge=
tting done like it used to.</p>
<p>A University free from administration is absurd. Labelling highly-paid m=
anagers arriving from commercial companies and driving up senior salaries a=
s &quot;administrators&quot; just betrays contempt for the little people wh=
o make sure we get paid, get our paperclips,
 get our proposals in on time etc. We need to distinguish between administr=
ators and senior managers/executives, and to appreciate the excellent work =
that many of the latter do in these hard times.</p>
<p>Having said all that, I agree with most of the points, though not all at=
tempts to democratise Higher Education are neo-liberal conspiracies (neo-li=
beral doesn't mean anything here, although the anti-intellectual movement i=
s gaining ground in the UK too.)
 25 years ago, most of my US High School friends had to join the military t=
o get to University, since they were poor, or lower-middle-class. Freedom o=
f speech is nothing without freedom of thought, and that shouldn't come at =
the price of a lifetime of debt.</p>
<div class=3D"gmail_quote">On Nov 26, 2012 5:58 AM, &quot;David Golumbia&qu=
ot; &lt;<a href=3D"mailto:dgolumbia at" target=3D"_blank">dgolumbia@=</a>&gt; wrote:<br type=3D"attribution">
<blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0 0 0 .8ex; border-left:1=
px #ccc solid; padding-left:1ex">
I want to thank Brian as always for his terrifically pointed, insightful, a=
nd accurate comments.
I want briefly just to note that these issues connect to two others, themse=
lves connected. They are somewhat to the side of this month's discussion, b=
ut I think they are too important to the general discussion to let pass.<br=
1) The neoliberal assault on higher education, endorsed and funded by many =
of the most prominent conservative and neoconservative institutions worldwi=
de, exists primarily to limit the amount of critical thinking that goes on =
in the minds of citizens, because
 democratic thought, with its emphasis on critique, has become a major stum=
bling block to capital's pure accumulation and acceleration. More accuratel=
y: it is one of the only remaining stumbling blocks to capital's accumulati=
on. The advent of the Tea Party
 and in particular its know-nothing rejection of science and of history, an=
d its &quot;coincident&quot; alignment with the most heavily-capitalized of=
 industrial interests, gave a public face to a form of ideological conditio=
ning only remarkable for its success at this
 time, in this moment, with so much &quot;information&quot; available, at i=
nspiring so many people to reject logic, fact, reason, emotion, communal so=
lidarity, and even their own self-interest. The instrumentalization and cor=
poratization of the University is one of the
 primary tactics this assault uses to realize its strategy, and thus analys=
es that attempt to meet the assault halfway by assessing liberal arts educa=
tion on the basis of measurable outcomes, especially related to particular =
lines of employment, can only add
 fuel to the fire that is meant to burn down the University's most vital fu=
nction: the maintenance of democracy through the continued study of the man=
y discourses (I mean this as broadly as possible) that have gone into its d=
evelopment.&nbsp; &nbsp;
2) Given the above, it is vital for educators to realize that the advent of=
 massive online education environments, including MOOCs, is not being done =
primarily to &quot;democratize&quot; access to education, but instead as th=
e decisive tactic in the war to analyze forcibly
 each part of higher education on instrumental and economic terms. This is =
a war we will lose. We should not be negotiating with forces whose explicit=
 intent is to destroy the institutions to which we have devoted our lives a=
nd careers, and we should not be
 mistaken in thinking their intent is somehow disconnected from the one men=
tioned in my first point. They are one and the same. The &quot;neoliberal k=
nowledge-based economy&quot; Brian so rightly names is not the same thing a=
s the understanding of democracy necessary
 for its survival.&nbsp; <br>
I've touched on this, especially the first point, in a preliminary way in a=
 blog post, &quot;Centralization and the 'Democratization' of Higher Educat=
<a href=3D"" target=3D"_blank">http://ww=</a>; I plan to follow up on the first point when=
 time permits.
<div class=3D"gmail_extra"><br>
<div class=3D"gmail_quote">On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM, Brian Holmes <s=
pan dir=3D"ltr">
&lt;<a href=3D"mailto:bhcontinentaldrift at" target=3D"_blank">bhcon=
tinentaldrift at</a>&gt;</span> wrote:<br>
<blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex; border=
-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204); padding-left:1ex">
On 11/23/2012 07:28 PM, Susan E Ryan wrote:<br>
<blockquote class=3D"gmail_quote" style=3D"margin:0px 0px 0px 0.8ex; border=
-left:1px solid rgb(204,204,204); padding-left:1ex">
I have witnessed the<br>
escalation of university administration, both in the number of<br>
administrative positions and in the rather breathtaking salaries that I<br>
have heard<br>
quoted to me. &nbsp;These are elite corporate executives. I assume this is<=
part of the corporatization of the university, and that that is the real<br=
Well, there has been a kind of star-system applied to professors, to the po=
int where salary scales have been all but abandoned in many places. You can=
 look up the salaries of professors in the UC system (public servants you k=
now) and it's interesting to see
 who gets what. But of course, the star system only affects the stars, leav=
ing everyone else with the usual wage stagnation, while the actual faculty =
majority, the adjuncts, get the worst deal of all. The question is indeed w=
hy, for what and for whom?<br>

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