By Derek Bok
This article investigates the commercialization of upper schooling and argues that this may in basic terms achieve the temporary, whereas these universities that uphold educational values will win public belief and maintain the honor of school and scholars.
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Such complaints have not stopped presidents from employing business consultants to review their operations or from talking grandly to alumni on occasion about “Total Quality Management,” “reinvention,” “restructuring,” and other terms borrowed from the corporate lexicon. But language of this kind invariably grates on the academic mind and threatens to widen the gulf between faculty and administration. THE RELEVANCE OF BUSINESS If every business practice were truly at odds with the ideal university, there would be good reason to resist the growth of commercialization.
Still other defenders of college sports point out that winning teams increase school spirit and lift student morale. Again, however, no one has shown that it is necessary to mount a high-pressure program in order to achieve these 49 ATHLETICS results. 42 Far from improving morale, moreover, at least two foundation studies claim that big-time college sports can have destructive effects on undergraduates. ”44 More than a few college presidents seem to think that a successful athletic program will at least inspire the alumni to give more money to their alma mater.
The students may not have known it, but they were participating in the first intercollegiate sports contest in the United States. Even then, although there were no paying spectators and no television crews, the event had definite commercial overtones. The race was the brainchild of a railroad owner and real estate developer who hoped to attract the public’s attention to the charms of Southern New Hampshire by staging an athletic spectacle. ” From this modest beginning, intercollegiate athletics, especially football and basketball, have become big business on many campuses, attracting large audiences and generating millions of dollars in revenue every year.