Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of by Derek Bok

By Derek Bok

This article investigates the commercialization of upper schooling and argues that this may merely reach the non permanent, whereas these universities that uphold educational values will win public belief and keep the dignity of school and scholars.

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Only in Division IA schools, where women’s basketball is coming more and more to resemble its high-pressure male counterpart, have the differences in SAT scores between female athletes and their classmates grown substantially. Overall, the academic rank of women athletes at every type of school stood above the 40th percentile of the class for students entering in 1989. 43 ATHLETICS The reasons for this disappointing performance are not well understood. One plausible explanation, however, is that most college athletes today are heavily recruited, choose their college for its athletic rather than its academic program, and continue to be far more absorbed by their sport than by the subjects being taught in their courses.

In these domains, certainly, corporate practice and experience may have valuable lessons to teach. A second important lesson universities can learn from business is the value of striving continuously to improve the quality of what they do. Because of the growing speed of innovation and change, businesses have been trying particularly hard in recent years to transform their organizations so that they can learn and adapt more quickly. ”6 To excel in this way, corporate executives have made major efforts to decentralize their organizations and give more discretion to semi-autonomous groups to experiment and innovate.

At Harvard, President Charles W. 6 In addition to being popular with students and alumni, football generated publicity that was widely believed to help colleges compete for students, thus endearing the sport to many trustees. ”7 As football and other intercollegiate sports tightened their grip on American colleges, the quest for revenue grew more and more determined. Universities built bigger stadia to attract larger paying audiences. Gradually, students were moved further and further away from the 50-yard line to make room for “boosters” who contributed money to the athletic program.

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