“The question of what is to be done to fight against academic precarity, strikes into the heart of the involvement of academics with politics. …The neoliberal short-term flexible contracts, the enormous work-load of teaching and publication under the “publish or perish” imperative, and the incentive for short-term project based research-oriented fundraising all compartmentalize the experience of research. In a life of accelerated mobility and inflated demands of work and activist involvement, they create a fake dilemma between political commitment and thorough academic work. It creates a dichotomy between those in permanent position, who can afford time to research, think, and write, but who are critiqued as becoming a part of the establishment, and the precarious academics who have none of these privilege, and whose political work is often seen as a lost cause for their academic advancement. And while the new ethos of academic-activist requires a reassessment of the relation between political involvement and knowledge production, meaningful public intervention still stay beyond the scope of overworked scholars cast invisible as workers and human beings.” “The Age of Precarity and the New Challenges to the Academic Profession” by Mariya P. Ivancheva.
This short article reviews contemporary forms and practices of university branding and marketing, and links these to the broad-based neoliberal structural transformations taking place in all aspects of university education around the globe. It argues that the ascendance of university branding and marketing practices is both symptomatic and constitutive of the new raison d’ être of universities, which is to serve as points for the circulation and reinvestment of overaccumulated finance capital. Given the university’ s new role as private business, corporate entity, and investment bank, we can no longer imagine that its branding and marketing practices are politically or ideologically neutral; indeed, the position we take in relation to university branding efforts has broad implications for the future of free research and education around the globe. “The Politics of Branding in the New University of Circulation” by Alison Hearn in International Studies of Management and Organization.
“In the past 40 years, BOGs have been stacked with members of the corporate elite. As Canadian universities have been defunded by governments and have had to rely on alternative sources, captains of industry have used their alleged financial ability and multiple corporate directorships as leverage. BOGs at so-called elite universities like McGill, Toronto, and Queen’s have included directors from Teleglobe, TD Bank, Molson, Noranda, and Bombardier. BOGs at universities in different regions of Canada, like Calgary, Laval, and Dalhousie have included directors from RBC, Scotia Bank, TD Bank, Coca-Cola, and Bank of Canada. All universities are now drawn into the same net as decision-making power is vested in corporate representatives.” ‘We must compete’: Corporate elite leveraging public universities into private profit by Alexander Ervin and Howard Woodhouse on Rabble.
“Universities increasingly seeking revenues from partnerships with the corporate sector. What are the problems, what are the principles? Since York is pursuing such partnerships and relies on them for its planned expansion to Markham, we need to be aware of what can happen and what we can do.” 2013 Report by Canadian Association of University Teachers.
“At all career stages, though perhaps most harmfully amongst PhD students and early career researchers, a sense of commitment to a calling helps license acquiescence to precarious and exploitative labour relations which make a lie of the ideal of collegiality still alluded to within the academy.” Life in the Accelerated Academy by Mark Carrigan on The London School of Economics and Political Science.
“The debate over working conditions for adjunct faculty was recently reignited by the death of Margaret Mary Vojtko on September 1. Vojtko, who had a long career as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, died penniless after being fired from the university in the last year of her life. Her story served as a reminder of what has become a massive underclass of underpaid contingent labor in academia.” Interview with an Adjunct Organizer: “People Are Tired of the Hypocrisy” by Moshe Z. Marvit in Dissent.
by Justin Podur: “…another shock is coming to the university community: the SHARP budget model, or “activity based budgeting”. Like other damaging shocks to the community, this is being prepared in secret, away from the eyes of those who will be affected by it. Details of the budget model are embargoed, and faculty are told only vague promises that the model will provide additional transparency. Units have been threatened that when the new model comes in, there will be huge new deficits that are an artifact of the new way of accounting for things.” More…
“…a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education [US] data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.” The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much by Paul F. Campos on The New York Times.
“Teach Higher is a company which will effectively outsource hourly paid academic staff, whereby they will no longer be employed directly by the university but by a separate employer: ‘Teach Higher’. Teach Higher has been set up by Warwick University-owned ‘Warwick Employment Group’, and is about to be piloted at Warwick University. But it is a national company, which intends to be rolled out across UK universities.” Warwick University to outsource hourly paid academics to subsidiary on Fighting Against Causalisation in Education.