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Chris Newfield on the Great Mistake: How Private-Sector Models Damage Public Universities, and How They Can Recover
WhenMonday, Jan 25, 2016, 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room120
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsCo-sponsored by the Certificate in Public Scholarship, with additional support from the Joff Hanauer Distinguished University Professorship for Western Civilization.

Nearly all public universities now accept the conventional wisdom that the era of public funding is over. This is thought to mean that universities must commercialize, marketize, financialize, and economize. This "new normal" has polarized observers: most senior officials assert that higher tuition, continuous fundraising, corporate partnerships, and sports enterprise support the public mission; faculty critics say the university will no longer support independent thought. But both positions assume that private-sector changes will make universities more efficient. On this point, both positions are wrong: private sector "reforms" are not the cure for the college cost disease; they are the college cost disease. This lecture offers an overview of how privatizing public colleges has made them more expensive for students while lowering their educational value. It also outlines more productive policy directions.

Chris Newfield is Professor of Literature and American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His most well-known area of research is critical university studies, a field of public scholarship he has helped to found and in which he joins his enduring concern with humanities teaching with a wide knowledge of how higher education continues to be re-shaped by industry and other economic forces. His most recent books on this subject are Unmaking the Public University: The Forty Year Assault on the Middle Class (2008), and Ivy and Industry: Business and the Making of the American University, 1880-1980 (2003). He blogs on higher education funding and policy at Remaking the University, the Huffington Post, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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