Thursday, February 02, 2012

America's universities turn to the market

In a recent book, Creating the Market University, Elizabeth Popp Berman argues that America's universities have move towards creating new products themselves instead of merely producing knowledge that helps create products. The move towards the market, she contends, is driven, not by the need for funds or even by ideology, but by the shared interest among university and political leaders to retain America's edge in innovation.

I read the book with interest but find that the case is not fully made. It does appear that there is more applied research than before. This helps augment university finances and it makes faculty richer, so it's win-win for both. But I doubt that this involves any shift in focus from theoretical to applied research- the book does not document such a shift with figures.

My guess is that younger faculty, on their way to tenure, would still be resolutely focused on publications. More senior faculty, with their reputations to back them, would get into commercial ventures. In other words, tenured faculty may have found new and more lucrative ways of making money but this would not compromise the universities' basic mission of producing knowledge.

More in my ET column, Universities as growth engines.

1 comment:

Noori Khan said...

You have try to show the reallity........