Stanley Ikenberry on the Commodification of Education

In 2001 the Chronicle of Higher education reported on the final words of the departing president of the American Council on Education, Stanley O. Ikenberry.  Ikenberry served as A.C.E. president over four years and scheduled a return in June of that year to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  In his remarks at the groups annual meeting he warned about the dangers of market forces in higher education.  The Chronicle reports him saying: “Market forces are in danger of pushing the leaders of colleges and universities out of the driver’s seat at their institutions.”  He is also reported to say: “higher education risks becoming a mere commodity, a change that would undermine such traditional values as academic freedom and scholarly standards of excellence.”

In particular Ikenberry identified three areas where the university was as risk:

  • Athletics:  “Athletics departments…live a life of their own, all but professionalized, part of the entertainment industry, purchased through television revenues and shoe contracts.”  -Ikenberry
  • Corporate sponsorship of research, Commercialization of intellectual property.  According to the Chronicle account paraphrasing Ikenberry: “Many faculty members live dual lives, ‘one as professor and one as entrepreneur-C.E.O., one as mentor and the other as employer.’  Commercial pressures on research, he said, could harm academic culture by bringing conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment into the university setting.”
  • Student aid policies.  ”…market forces are having too much of an influence on student-aid policy, ‘deciding who enrolls, determining what is studied, and shaping the very reason for being of the campus.’  He said such forces risk endangering the principle that any qualified student, regardless of family income, should be able to attend college.”

“He urged leaders in higher education to push back harder against the forces of commercialization, to bring athletics programs back in tune with the academic mission, to be bette advocates of need-based aid, and to do their best to protect the ‘integrity of the core academic…’”


Wheeler, David.  “Market Forces Endanger Higher Education.”  Chronicle of Higher Education.  February 20, 2001.  (retrieved 9/10/2001 via dti-discuss listserv)


About elloborojo

Okay, as the subtitle states, this is a notebook from what I call a New Mexico diaspora (look up diaspora if you are asking). I was a former resident of New Mexico, now living elsewhere, but New Mexico is still my homeland. To get more in touch with your homeland one must be away from it. This is my attempt to understand it. I was a former anti-militarism activist in the Albuquerque area. Still believe that United Snakes militarism is the greatest threat to the world, as do the majority of the worlds population. Uncovered much information about the ties in New Mexico, but never processed it all. This blog is an attempt to do that. Also hope it may come of use to others with similar interests.
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One Response to Stanley Ikenberry on the Commodification of Education

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on UNM Athletics | El Lobo Rojo: Notes From A New Mexico Diaspora

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