One Thought To Start Your Day
The big news in Canada last week was the unveiling by the governing Liberals of a “National Housing Strategy”. Housing is a good policy file to watch for higher education policy types, because housing and higher education share a lot of qualities.
This might not seem like an obvious policy analogy, but hear me out. Shelter, like higher education, is often viewed as a “right”, but it’s one where the base assumption is (in North America, anyway) is that it … [ Read More ]
One of the greatest misapprehensions about rankings – and there are a lot, believe me – is that rankers are “just doing it for the money”. For the most part, this is wrong. It’s really hard to make money at rankings.
To start with, at a rough guess, only about half of all rankings are done for commercial reasons. Many get carried out by academic institutions or institutions affiliated thereto, and they have no intention whatsoever of making money. Maybe the most … [ Read More ]
Some simple Q & As to clear up the present hysteria in Canadian Higher Education follow the sundry events at Wilfrid Laurier.
Do Teaching Assistants have Academic Freedom? No. Academic Freedom is a protection of faculty rights based (at least in theory) on disciplinary competence. TAs have rights of free speech of course, but those don’t protect your job if you annoy your employer. In this sense, Lindsay Shepherd probably had fewer rights as a TA than she would have … [ Read More ]
To sum up the week’s arguments:
Neoliberalism is about markets. There are actually very few genuine markets in higher education and where there are they can be quite beneficial especially with respect to access. Neoliberalism is about competition. There is competition in higher education, especially status competition but it mostly predates actual neoliberalism. Some people claim neoliberalism is about managerialism and performance metrics but this is a genuinely terrible and ahistorical argument.
However, I think there are two additional arguments … [ Read More ]
To date, we have looked at market mechanisms and competition in universities and shown that a) they aren’t in fact all that neo-liberal and b) particularly with respect to expanding access, there are some upsides. Today I want to look at two other facets of modern universities that often get described as neo-liberal: performance data and management.
There is some variety in the way this topic is approached – see this blog from the London School of Economics (h/t to Marc Spooner for pointing me to … [ Read More ]