The Role of Governments in Corporatizing Canadian Universities

Jamie Brownlee, Jan 28, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The corporatization of universities, writes Jamie Brownlee, is a direct consequence of austerity. And the purpose of austerity was to introduce corporatization. "Austerity programs over the past four decades may have reflected resource scarcity on the part of governments, it is important to understand that they were also part of a deliberate plan to link universities more closely to the needs of the market and lay the foundation for corporatization." This resulted in governors and boards willing to raise fees, cut back on services, and turn more and more to the private sector for management and funding. This process, he argues, was replicated in the national funding bodies. "The NSERC currently has no natural scientists on its governing council, but it does include a number of corporate representatives." This reality is one I see on a daily basis. The question is what can be done and what we should do about it, if anything.

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