The Corporatization of the University
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The Corporatization of the University UUP Technology and Intellectual Property Issues Committee Karen Volkman [email protected] SUNY Plattsburgh Glenn McNitt [email protected] SUNY New Paltz Expansion of Postsecondary Distance Education in the U.S.

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The Corporatization of the University

UUP Technology and Intellectual

Property Issues Committee

Karen Volkman

[email protected]

SUNY Plattsburgh

Glenn McNitt

[email protected]

SUNY New Paltz


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Expansion of Postsecondary Distance Education in the U.S.

  • Distance Education at Postsecondary Institutions 1997-98, published by the National Center for Education Statistics is still the definitive survey

  • This survey indicates that 78% of public 4-year institutions and 62% of public 2-year institutions offer distance learning courses


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The Pie Chart on the Right Shows Enrollment in

Credit-Granting Distance Education Classes

Distance Education at Postsecondary Education Institutions:

1997-98 http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2000/2000013.pdf p. 31


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Corporate America Also Tracks University Distance Education

  • International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that in 2002 approximately 85% of 2-year and 4-year institutions will offer distance education courses

  • IDC refers to increased enrollments as the “elearning market”


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IDC Corporate Analysis on Market Potential

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jhtml?containerId=pr51213


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“Elearning” on Wall Street

  • Some of larger distance education corporations have graduated from venture capital to publicly traded companies on U.S. stock exchanges

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education has created a special index to track the performance of these companies


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Note that the “for profit” higher education

companies outperformed the S&P 500

http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i35/35a03601.htm


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Why? All companies showed significant

increases in enrollments; especially the

U. of Phoenix

http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i35/35a03601.htm


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The U. of Phoenix is part of the Apollo group.

This company outperformed the rest of the

for-profit index.

http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i35/35a03601.htm


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Distance Education by Category

  • State or community college distance education systems

  • Course Management System Vendors

  • Virtual Universities

  • Corporate - University Joint Ventures


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State or community college systems

  • Mixture of non-profit and for-profit

  • SUNY Learning Network (SLN), NYU Online, and U of Maryland University College are examples

  • Typically accredited same as home system, such as Middle States or North Central


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Course Management System Vendors

  • Vendors provide software platform environments for faculty to build their courses

  • The course environment simplifies organization and faculty interaction with students without having to know programming

  • Generally don’t provide course content

  • Examples: WebCT and Blackboard


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Virtual Universities

  • Completely online institutions

  • Most faculty are part time

  • Many are aimed at working adults

  • Accreditation varies; some have North Central

  • Often taught by practitioners; have more practical training focus

  • Examples are Capella U., U. of Phoenix, and Western Governors University


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Corporate -University Joint Ventures

  • Content contracted through corporate entity

  • Course offered through university

  • Course content is provided in module format for selection into course

  • Typically content is created by faculty stars

  • Teaching assistants can be subcontracted through company to “monitor” course


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Who Are the Corporate - University

Joint Ventures?

A Virtual Revolution: Trends in the Expansion of Distance Education p. 13

http://www.aft.org/higher_ed/downloadable/VirtualRevolution.pdf


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Watch the WorkCorporate -University Ventures

  • Many of these ventures are new on the horizon

  • These ventures tend to approach at the system level to gain entry

  • They focus on large enrollment classes, such as general education

  • They contract with expert faculty to develop various modules for a class


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Watch the Work in Your Backyard

  • Global Education Network (GEN) approached SUNY Central this academic year

  • GEN wanted to provide courses to meet the SUNY General Education requirements

  • GEN distributed recruitment emails to SUNY Faculty

    • See recruitment email


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GEN Deals with General Education

  • GEN’s premise is that system wide entry level courses are difficult to find enough faculty to cover

  • GEN assumes that there is less interest in humanities courses offered via distance learning

  • GEN contracts with five or six superstars to assemble course content


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NCES data doesn’t support a dearth of

humanities courses via distance education

Distance Education at Postsecondary Education Institutions:

1997-98 http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2000/2000013.pdf p. 39


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What’s the Story Behind GEN?

  • GEN was started by venture capitalist Herbert Allen and Williams College Professor Mark Taylor

  • $20 million has already been invested

  • GEN originally sought professors from private elite liberal arts colleges to develop content

  • Few such institutions have signed on


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GEN even seems to be interested in

marketing distance education via PBS


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Corporatization of the UniversityWhat Core Values Do We Lose

  • Academic freedom

  • Academic work ethic

  • Freedom for research

  • Traditional university interaction


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Wither Academic Freedom If you’re not the “superstar”

  • Dinner Module menu to choose from

  • No creation of own class content

  • Simplified mass production

  • Loss of departmental control of curriculum

  • Loss of comparison to traditional class based course

  • Different standards of assessment

  • Class can be contracted to outsider


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Wither Academic Freedom What Happens to Your Tenure?

  • How can you be evaluated for teaching someone else’s content?

  • Different expectations of both you and your students for the contract course

  • Second class citizen of faculty

  • Differing expectations of terminal degree


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Wither Academic Work Ethic

  • Faculty have no reason to be engaged

  • Faculty have no opportunity to share research with their students

  • Subcontracted faculty are not part of campus life; serving on governance and other campus functions

  • Department level work ceases to be relevant


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Wither Freedom for Research

  • Classes devolve into degree mills

  • Devaluation of faculty scholarship

  • Students miss opportunity to share and participate in faculty research

  • Enrollments, not scholarship are rewarded

  • Practitioner level scholarship emphasis

  • Devaluation of humanities scholarship


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Wither the Traditional University

  • No sense of engagement of peers

  • Devaluation of university peer system of department and faculty governance

  • Reliance on outsiders to teach

  • Loss of traditional interaction with students both in class and at campus forums

  • Loss of intellectual community


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What Will Be the Condition of the University?

What Risks Does Corporatization of the University Ultimately Impose?


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