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How can you turn an English department into a revenue center? How do you grade students if they are "customers" you must please? How do you keep industry from dictating a university's research agenda? What happens when the life of the mind meets the bottom line? Wry and insightful, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line takes us on a cross-country tour of the most powerful trend in academic life today--the rise of business values and the belief that efficiency, immediate practical usefulness, and marketplace triumph are the best measures of a university's success.
With a shrewd eye for the telling example, David Kirp relates stories of marketing incursions into places as diverse as New York University's philosophy department and the University of Virginia's business school, the high-minded University of Chicago and for-profit DeVry University. He describes how universities "brand" themselves for greater appeal in the competition for top students; how academic super-stars are wooed at outsized salaries to boost an institution's visibility and prestige; how taxpayer-supported academic research gets turned into profitable patents and ideas get sold to the highest bidder; and how the liberal arts shrink under the pressure to be self-supporting.
Far from doctrinaire, Kirp believes there's a place for the market--but the market must be kept in its place. While skewering Philistinism, he admires the entrepreneurial energy that has invigorated academe's dreary precincts. And finally, he issues a challenge to those who decry the ascent of market values: given the plight of higher education, what is the alternative?
An illuminating view of both good and bad results in a market-driven educational system.
— David Siegfried
Kirp has an eye for telling examples, and he captures the turmoil and transformation in higher education in readable style.
— Karen W. Arenson
Mr. Kirp is both quite fair and a good reporter; he has a keen eye for the important ways in which bean-counting has transformed universities, making them financially responsible and also more concerned about developing lucrative specialties than preserving the liberal arts and humanities. Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line is one of the best education books of the year, and anyone interested in higher education will find it to be superior.
— Martin Morse Wooster
There is a place for the market in higher education, Kirp believes, but only if institutions keep the market in its place...Kirp's bottom line is that the bargains universities make in pursuit of money are, inevitably, Faustian. They imperil academic freedom, the commitment to sharing knowledge, the privileging of need and merit rather than the ability to pay, and the conviction that the student/consumer is not always right.
— Glenn C. Altschuler
David Kirp's fine new book, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line, lays out dozens of ways in which the ivory tower has leaned under the gravitational influence of economic pressures and the market.
— Carlos Alcalá
The real subject of Kirp's well-researched and amply footnoted book turns out to be more than this volume's subtitle, 'the marketing of higher education.' It is, in fact, the American soul. Where will our nation be if instead of colleges transforming the brightest young people as they come of age, they focus instead on serving their paying customers and chasing the tastes they should be shaping? Where will we be without institutions that value truth more than money and intellectual creativity more than creative accounting? ...Kirp says plainly that the heart of the university is the common good. The more we can all reflect upon that common good—not our pocketbooks or retirement funds, but what is good for the general mass of men and women—the better the world of the American university will be, and the better the nation will be as well.
— Peter S. Temes
David Kirp's excellent book Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line provides a remarkable window into the financial challenges of higher education and the crosscurrents that drive institutional decision-making...Kirp explores the continuing battle for the soul of the university: the role of the marketplace in shaping higher education, the tension between revenue generation and the historic mission of the university to advance the public good...This fine book provides a cautionary note to all in higher education. While seeking as many additional revenue streams as possible, it is important that institutions have clarity of mission and values if they are going to be able to make the case for continued public support.
— Lewis Collens
In this delightful book David Kirp...tells the story of markets in U.S. higher education...[It] should be read by anyone who aspires to run a university, faculty or department.
— Terence Kealey
David Kirp's Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line is more than a breath of fresh air: it is a healthy slap upside the head to academics who think they are immune to the grubbing and grabbing of raw market forces. Elegant, amusing, irreverent, refreshingly written, and beautifully edited, this book shakes the scales off a purist's eyes
[Kirp] balances descriptions of the impressive successes of some experiments with a warning that the assertion "leave it to the market" is itself a political statement, "a default of institutional leadership and an abandonment of the idea of a university's mission." His concluding chapter raises all the right questions about the balance between providing for the private gain of individuals and corporations by charging market rates for the products of professors' work and protecting the common good by arranging subsides for the things that enrich society but that do not pay for themselves (like "sociology, comparative literature, and pure mathematics").
— David W. Leslie
|Introduction: The New U||1|
|I||The Higher Education Bazaar|
|1||This Little Student Went to Market||11|
|2||Nietzsche's Niche: the University of Chicago||33|
|3||Benjamin Rush's "Brat": Dickinson College||52|
|4||Star Wars: New York University||66|
|5||The Dead Hand of Precedent: New York Law School||93|
|6||Kafka Was an Optimist: The University of Southern California and the University of Michigan||110|
|7||Mr. Jefferson's "Private" College: Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia||130|
|8||Rebel Alliance: Classics Departments in the Associated Colleges of the South||149|
|9||The Market in Ideas: Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology||164|
|10||The British Are Coming - and Going: Open University||185|
|IV||The Smart Money|
|11||A Good Deal of Collaboration: The University of California, Berkeley||207|
|12||The Information Technology Gold Rush: IT Certification Courses in Silicon Valley||221|
|13||They're All Business: DeVry University||240|
|Conclusion: The Corporation of Learning||255|
Posted March 16, 2004
As the title implies, David Kirp can write with some humor - and fortunately with an informed critic's eye. This book is essential reading to anyone (student, parent, faculty member) interested in the business of providing higher education, and business it most certainly is. Kirp is no pollyanna - he shows excesses and bad leadership on the part of some institutions, and near-genius on the part of others. The vignettes are intelligent, informative, highly readable and well chosen to illustrate the spectrum of issues in the 'business'. The most readable book by a university professor published by a university press that I've read in a long time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.