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The Lost Soul of Higher Education: Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom, and the End of the American University

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Schrecker, the leading historian of the McCarthy-era witch hunts, examines both the key fronts in the present battles over higher ed, and their historical parallels in previous eras – offering a deeply-researched chronicle of the challenges to academic freedom, set against the rapidly changing structure of the academy itself. The Lost Soul of Higher Education tells the int Schrecker, the leading historian of the McCarthy-era witch hunts, examines both the key fronts in the present battles over higher ed, and their historical parallels in previous eras – offering a deeply-researched chronicle of the challenges to academic freedom, set against the rapidly changing structure of the academy itself. The Lost Soul of Higher Education tells the interwoven stories of successive, well-funded ideological assaults on academic freedom by outside pressure groups aimed at undermining the legitimacy of scholarly study, viewed alongside decades of eroding higher education budgets -- a trend that has sharply accelerated during the recent economic downturn.


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Schrecker, the leading historian of the McCarthy-era witch hunts, examines both the key fronts in the present battles over higher ed, and their historical parallels in previous eras – offering a deeply-researched chronicle of the challenges to academic freedom, set against the rapidly changing structure of the academy itself. The Lost Soul of Higher Education tells the int Schrecker, the leading historian of the McCarthy-era witch hunts, examines both the key fronts in the present battles over higher ed, and their historical parallels in previous eras – offering a deeply-researched chronicle of the challenges to academic freedom, set against the rapidly changing structure of the academy itself. The Lost Soul of Higher Education tells the interwoven stories of successive, well-funded ideological assaults on academic freedom by outside pressure groups aimed at undermining the legitimacy of scholarly study, viewed alongside decades of eroding higher education budgets -- a trend that has sharply accelerated during the recent economic downturn.

30 review for The Lost Soul of Higher Education: Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom, and the End of the American University

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    Ellen Schercker is successful in conveying a clear-eyed view of the history of academic freedom, its evolution throughout time from within, and the assaults and pressures upon it from without. I did appreciate the fact that her prose is deliberately distant from romanticism about the virtues of academic freedom, and careful about avoiding cynicism and doom-sayings. This work gives a clear picture of the prime influencers in the way we think and regard academic freedom today: Outsider elites, jud Ellen Schercker is successful in conveying a clear-eyed view of the history of academic freedom, its evolution throughout time from within, and the assaults and pressures upon it from without. I did appreciate the fact that her prose is deliberately distant from romanticism about the virtues of academic freedom, and careful about avoiding cynicism and doom-sayings. This work gives a clear picture of the prime influencers in the way we think and regard academic freedom today: Outsider elites, judiciary and legislative elements, philanthropists, students, faculty and corporations all had their actions and evoked reactions . Nevertheless, in all cases examined in this book, the Soul of higher education, just like a shadow, followed the Geist of the American public, through war, fear of annihilation, peace, prosperity and yearns for social change, and just as is the case for shadows, it has kept its separate but connected shape over the years.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brinda Gurumoorthy

    This book could probably have been two separate books, one about the history of academic freedom and one about how universities have changed and how neoliberalism/corporatization have restructured the workforce at universities (the two ideas are tied together at the end though). It's a dense but very informative explanation of what's wrong with universities from the perspective of the faculty. I particularly liked the sections about adjunct and non-tenure track professors and the need to organiz This book could probably have been two separate books, one about the history of academic freedom and one about how universities have changed and how neoliberalism/corporatization have restructured the workforce at universities (the two ideas are tied together at the end though). It's a dense but very informative explanation of what's wrong with universities from the perspective of the faculty. I particularly liked the sections about adjunct and non-tenure track professors and the need to organize these groups.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Ellen Schrecker is a historian and what she writes is a history of academic freedom issues at universities through the twentieth century. The surprising thing to me is that by and large, there are very few instances, and most in the McCarthy era of breaches of academic freedom. Even here it seems that Schrecker is working with a far more expansive idea of academic freedom that simply the freedom of a professor to address curriculum objectives in the matter he or she deems best and to choose free Ellen Schrecker is a historian and what she writes is a history of academic freedom issues at universities through the twentieth century. The surprising thing to me is that by and large, there are very few instances, and most in the McCarthy era of breaches of academic freedom. Even here it seems that Schrecker is working with a far more expansive idea of academic freedom that simply the freedom of a professor to address curriculum objectives in the matter he or she deems best and to choose freely one's lines of research inquiry. What is less clear in the whole area of academic freedom what protection should be given to speech and associations that have nothing to do with one's discipline but affect the reputation of the institution you work with. The truth is, except for rare instances, even here tenured faculty are generally protected. Primarily, Schrecker's finding is that the exception almost always involves the squeeky wheel who doesn't get along with colleagues or who insists upon saying outrageous things outside the classroom context, such as the Ward Churchill incident. The last third of the book focuses on corporatization, and it seemed to me that the book could have simply focused here. Her account of the cost economies brought on by the recession of 2008, the increases in contingent or adjunct faculty and the almost complete lack of standing these individuals have is probably the most revealing part of the book. This has major implications for the quality of instruction,the governance of the university, as well as the just treatment of the new teaching "underclass". The real story of the lack of academic freedom is here--adjuncts are employed "at will", often have no offices or even university emails. Indeed, they hardly exist outside the classes they teach in the university's eyes. In sum, I thought this was really two books in one. Each was worthy of treatment. I suspect the historic survey of academic freedom was attractive to the author while the corporatization issues far more pressing. I also would have like a greater consideration of academic responsibility--what are the obligations of faculty that go along with the freedom and protections for which this author advocates. Here, Stanley Fish in Save the World on Your Own Time was actually far more helpful in outlining both the obligations,and in his mind, limits of academic freedom, which doesn't extend to proselytizing students for one's own cause or to one's out of classroom and research activity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bokeeffe

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Pursell

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristofer Petersen-Overton

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  11. 4 out of 5

    Britt

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mito Diaz-Espinoza

  13. 5 out of 5

    Default The Student Loan Documentary

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    Kim

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maya

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  18. 5 out of 5

    David

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Morrison

  20. 5 out of 5

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  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  22. 5 out of 5

    bhanu

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  24. 5 out of 5

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  25. 4 out of 5

    C

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dani

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gray Kane

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chad

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dawnene Hassett

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erin

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