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Universities once supported the pursuit of truth now are businesses

(14 Posts)
Alexa Wed 28-Feb-18 11:06:36

What's really at stake in the corporatization of academia is the traditional role the university as a repository of culture and training ground for open inquiry. "The obvious risk," says Michael Meranze, a professor of history at UCLA who shares a blog on academic issues with Newfield, "is that academic research gets done to advance the interests of outside corporations, rather than guided by the logic of the university's mission."

janeainsworth Wed 28-Feb-18 11:14:40

Well, if it wasn’t for applied science we’d still all be scrubbing our dirty clothes over the dolly tub and cooking on open fires, wouldn’t we.
There has to be a balance between pure academe and the pursuit of knowledge for particular ends.

Alexa Wed 28-Feb-18 12:12:04

Worth saying, Janeainsworth. Let me say that when I said truth I was including technology. Engineering is one of the tertiary educations which I most admire.

"Pursuit of knowledge for particular ends" whatever those may be but ethical ends only. When universities are run as businesses in competition with each other that is not ethical.

janeainsworth Wed 28-Feb-18 12:18:26

But how can they not compete alexa?
They have to compete for finance for their research projects, whether it’s from government or business sources.
Even in the days when very few people went to university, they would still be competing for the best students, by attracting the best academics and publishing the best research.

Alexa Wed 28-Feb-18 12:34:20

Jane, universities should not be in such financial hardship that they compete for funding from business in order to remain viable as institutions.

Competing for funds from government is ethical or not depending upon whether or not that government is a front for businesses.

To compete on grounds of merit is ethical . To compete on grounds of which business pays the most money is not ethical.

Deedaa Wed 28-Feb-18 21:51:20

DD complains about the way budgets are cut and valuable resources disposed of at the University where she works. She says their only interest is in "Improving the Student Experience" which seems to mean removing libraries and putting in coffee bars.

Alexa Thu 01-Mar-18 13:00:28

Tory man speak with forked tongue, Deeda.

SueDonim Thu 01-Mar-18 14:18:14

My son is an academic and receives funding from both government and businesses. Thanks to the research that he and his co-workers do, your lives have been made safer whenever you fly, whenever you're in hospital and in other common scenarios, too. I don't see the problem with that.

gillybob Thu 01-Mar-18 14:28:43

It concerns me that there are profit making businesses within many universities (usually with the university staff as directors or seconding themselves to the business, which I find dodgy to say the least). we had "dealings" with one such "company" a couple of years back and pulled out just in time before we got fleeced big time.

Alexa Thu 01-Mar-18 18:50:20

The problem with that SueDonim is that some researches are aimed at pleasing whoever is funding the research. University employees should not be beholden to any commercial interest. I am sure that you would not like a university teacher to be in the pocket of some business venture.
The experiments may not be disinterested. It's okay when the research and development people are employees of the business when it's not expected that they will be disinterested.

SueDonim Thu 01-Mar-18 19:35:48

Well, I'm as sure as I can be that my son isn't involved in any dodgy business. Because of his line of work, everything he and his team does has to go past an independent ethics committee.

In fact they recently published some work that caused a big kerfuffle in the media. It was partly funded by the EU, who may not have expected the result they got, but it will make lives better and safer.

janeainsworth Thu 01-Mar-18 19:56:47

alexa when research is published the authors have to declare any interests and who has funded the research, as far as I am aware.
You give the impression of criticising universities in general without offering any specific evidence of your claims.

gillybob Fri 02-Mar-18 16:06:40

I didn’t for one moment think he was SueDonim I am not talking about dodgy businesses anyway. I just find it “dodgy” that professors run separate ( for profit) businesses via the universities.

Alexa Sat 03-Mar-18 18:20:21

Janeainsworth wrote:

"alexa when research is published the authors have to declare any interests and who has funded the research, as far as I am aware.
You give the impression of criticising universities in general without offering any specific evidence of your claims."

Guilty as charged, except not criticising universities but the pay structures for universities. I am extrapolating the scarcity of public funding from teaching activities to research activities. Lecturers may have to take another job to make ends meet. Maybe some researchers are likewise frustrated in their academic freedom.