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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 2015

A penny for your thoughts

How corporatization devalues teaching, in Canada’s universities

Claire Polster & Janice Newson. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2015; 403 pp; ISBN: 978-1-77125-196-9, $35 CAD.

Simmering conflicts in higher education have reached the boiling point across Canada and around the globe. Teach-ins, occupations, strikes, and mass protests are being mobilized against exorbitant tuition fees, declining educational quality, mismanagement, the commodification of research, and the suppression of free speech and critical inquiry. A Penny for Your Thoughts shows how Canadian higher education has come to this point. Through 17 real time studies, the authors track how the deteriorating condition of Canadian post-secondary education is rooted in corporatization, the process through which universities and colleges increasingly work for, with, and as businesses. The book’s central message is that the current state of our universities is neither natural nor inevitable — it is the outcome of choices, policies, and actions that can be unmade and undone. Polster and Newson do not prescribe easy recipes for achieving this. Instead, they help citizens to arrive at their own understandings of corporatiĀ­zation and to identify where and how they can intervene strategically in their local universities and communities to reverse its effects. By doing so, Canadians can reclaim their universities as public-serving institutions that realize their highest aspirations and meet their own, their fellow citizens’ and the global community’s most pressing needs.

Information made available by the publisher.