Though it didn’t get a whole lot of ink/pixels, the Council of Ontario Universities launched a new lobbying campaign last week. It’s called Partnering for a Better Future for Ontario and its focal point is a document of the same name – you can read the short version of the report here (yes, I know, only in academia could the short version of a lobbying report be 44 pages long). In fact, it’s accompanied by a wide variety of supporting documents which are available … [ Read More ]
You may have read recently about how Canada is really sticking it to junior researchers. Dalhousie’s Julia Wright recently wrote about Canada haemorrhaging early-career research capacity and she has a point – just in the last seven years, the proportion of Canadian faculty aged 40 or less has fallen by a third, from roughly 22% to just over 15%.
The question, of course, is “why”? Some – including Wright – just blame a “shrinking academic labour market”, which tends to (either by … [ 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 ]
One of the key accusations about universities and neoliberalism is that the system is too obsessed with competition. On the face of it, this looks like the easiest argument to make about neoliberal universities: neoliberal thought does put a lot of emphasis on competition, and institutions do talk a lot about “competing” for students and staff and governments like the notion that institutions “compete” against one another. Among faculty members, institutions “compete” for research funding; in some countries, they literally compete … [ Read More ]