Dangerous Corporate Control of the University

Here are two stories about how corporations are taking over the universities.  Universities gather talented students together, provide needed infrastructure, and give prestige to the union-run program.  The corporations, like BMW, might give the university money, but that money puts the administration in the position of having to meet future corporate demands.

Chaker, Anne Marie. 2006. “Majoring in IBM: Dissatisfied With Graduates, Companies Design and Fund Curricula at Universities.” Wall Street Journal (12 September): p. D 1.

“When graduate students at North Carolina State University took their seats on the first day of a class called Services Management, the kickoff lecture wasn’t delivered by a professor. Instead, it was given by a manager from International Business Machines Corp. The company, in fact, helped develop the curriculum and awarded grants to the school with the expectation that the course would be taught — all with the aim of producing graduates better prepared to work for IBM.”

“In addition to IBM, other major corporations seeking to increase their presence and influence on campus include Credit Suisse Group and German auto maker BMW AG.”

“The federal government is also keen on strengthening the relationship between universities and potential employers. That is one of the issues before the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, appointed by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and comprising academics and corporate executives from companies such as Microsoft Corp., Boeing Co. and IBM. Its goal is to shake up what critics charge is complacency and unaccountability in higher education, leading to graduates who are poorly equipped for the realities of corporate work today.”

“The University of California, Berkeley — which has also been working with IBM to develop coursework — has created a “certificate” in Services Science, Management and Engineering, which started this fall. The company has also awarded research grants to five faculty members, IBM says. The effort began, says A. Richard Newton, dean of Berkeley’s College of Engineering, when an IBM executive who sits on an advisory board suggested the school devote more resources to teaching service sciences.”

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Browning, Lynnley. 2006. “BMW’s Custom Made University.” New York Times (29 August): p. C 1.

“Clemson University received a $10 million donation in 2002 from the German automaker BMW, the school gave the company some unusual privileges in return. The gift, the largest cash donation ever received by the school, was intended to energize an ambitious $1.5 billion plan to create what Clemson calls “the premier automotive and motor sports research and educational facility in the world.” And Bayerische Motoren Werke, whose only North American factory is 50 miles, or 80 kilometers, away, had some particular ideas.”

“So at Clemson’s request, BMW in large part created the curriculum for the automotive and motor sports graduate engineering school. The company also drew up profiles of its ideal students; gave Clemson, a state university, a list of engineering professors and specialists to interview; and even had approval rights over the school’s modern architecture.”

“”It looks like you’ve got a profit-making corporation that’s calling the shots in a university setting,” said Professor Sheldon Krimsky, who teaches urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University, and who has written on the commercialization of the university.”

1 comment so far

  1. Rich on

    Coming soon, Walton University!


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