Inside the Corporate University
By Gaye Tuchman
(University Of Chicago Press, Hardcover, 9780226815299, 272pp.)
Publication Date: October 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Based on years of observation at a large state university, Wannabe U tracks the dispiriting consequences of trading in traditional educational values for loyalty to the market. Aping their boardroom idols, the new corporate administrators at such universities wander from job to job and reductively view the students there as future workers in need of training. Obsessed with measurable successes, they stress auditing and accountability, which leads to policies of surveillance and control dubiously cloaked in the guise of scientific administration. In this eye-opening exposé of the modern university, Tuchman paints a candid portrait of the corporatization of higher education and its impact on students and faculty.
Like the best campus novelists, Tuchman entertains with her acidly witty observations of backstage power dynamics and faculty politics, but ultimately Wannabe U is a hard-hitting account of how higher education’s misguided pursuit of success fails us all.
Gaye Tuchman is professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Making News: A Study in the Construction of Reality and Edging Women Out: Victorian Novelists, Publishers, and Social Change, editor of The TV Establishment: Programming for Power and Profit, and coeditor of Hearth and Home: Images of Women in the Mass Media.
“Gaye Tuchman has managed to weave together both a cogent structural analysis of the corporatizing forces reshaping U.S. universities and a colorful ethnographic portrait of a single aspiring institution. She does this with wit and wisdom, highlighting many of the tensions and contradictions of a system where every unit strives and claims to be well above average.”—Troy Duster, New York University
“In a compelling case study of Wannabe University, Gaye Tuchman thoroughly traces the metamorphosis of a university. She lays bare the combination of a managerialism focused on chasing status and a logic of compliance among divided and complicit academics that results in a comformist, transformed university.”—Gary Rhoades, general secretary of the American Association of University Professors
“Wannabe U is an exceptional portrait of a state university that desperately wants to play in the big leagues. Tuchman illuminates how universities have not just borrowed tools from the business world but redefined them in ways that have had a far-reaching and pernicious influence on higher education. She deftly captures the careerist ambitions of administrators and the discomfort that these transformations can cause between older faculty and newer arrivals. In the midst of these changes and conflicts, Tuchman also notes how much the day-to-day experience of faculty and students is affected. No other book is as revealing about the revolution under way in American higher education as this one.”—Walter W. Powell, Stanford University
-Walter W. Powell
“Tough, honest, highly entertaining. . . . It raises serious questions about the desirability of the shifts in policy and practice that have changed the landscape of the academy, yet it manages at the same time to be funny and entertaining. . . . This book raises important questions about what kind of higher education we want. Tuchman is passionately engaged, but never loses her sense of humour and leaves us with much to think about.”—Times Higher Education