C. Gibaldi

Harvard & St.John's University (UNITED STATES)
This paper will examine the "unfortunate" changes in practice (the devolution) that the Marketing of Higher Education has had on all institutions in the U.S. Since marketing practices were embraced in the 1970's most institutions have slowly begun to "sell off" more and more of themselves, some becoming almost unrecognizable compared to their former selves. We have moved from applying marketing practices in order to attract students (which is bad enough), to selling the works of universities for profit, stadium naming rights, endowed chairs, programs, online programs, and entrepreneurial practices by professors and their departments in biochemistry, computer science, biology, chemistry, and business, as well as other academic units.

In addition to "blaming" College presidenst and their top tier administrative cheerleaders for becoming more concerned with boosting enrollment, accumulating money/wealth, expanding the size, status, ranking, and reputation of their institutions, and forcing the practices of the marketplace on Academic leaders (faculty), there are other factors. Has the loss of our societal moral and ethical compass affected the behavior of academic leaders? Marketing of "everything" seems to have polluted our entire society, and certainly the American life and culture. It has adversely affected health care, education (at all levels), cultural institutions (including museums and performance companies), and even religion. The question can be posed; has the University lost its way, its purpose...what is/are the mission/s of the great university. It is obvious that colleges and universities have become much more concerned with and focused on job/career preparation, versus providing a broad education, rooted in the humanities. Most, if not all faculty appear to be committed to their disciplines and have a good sense of mission, but there appears to be a double message being sent out by College Presidents and administration as to what the overall institutional mission is, and inadvertently, money is in the equation. Where do institutional values come into the equation? How influential have wealthy individual donors become in influencing the work of the university? Why do we now have more and more administrators at our academic institutions, and less and less faculty? Are political forces and markeplace forces becoming more important then Academic excellence, and education and preparing our students for "life" and citizenship. Somewhere along the way, learning and research have come to be viewed and even valued in terms of their ability to be converted into cash or some merchandise. At a very minimum, the "entrepreneurialization" of universities has caused the attention paid to marketing and money to overshadow other intellectual values and that university programs seem to be judged primarily by the money they can and do generate, and not by their intrinsic intellectual quality.