How are institutions reducing the costs of teaching and research?

Over the past couple of decades, colleges and universities have been coming up with new strategies to reduce the costs of teaching and research. Unfortunately, this has come with the cost of losing teacher quality and diminishing focus on the public good in some cases. They have created the so-called “Market-Model” of higher education, turning to commercialization for funding. Marco Savio was one of the first critics of this tendency, according to Jennifer Washburn. At UC Berkeley, Savio “accused the university of functioning as ‘a factory that runs out a certain product needed by industry’ rather than serving as the conscience and critic of society (Washburn 1).” Clark Kerr later stated, “With public support for higher education diminishing, he explained, “lots of faculty members and administrators see advantages in getting extra money from private industry, and they may be willing to make concessions which from their own point of view are quite all right, but which are bad for the university… The university ought to remain a neutral agency devoted to the public welfare, not to private welfare(Washburn 2).” While professors are making large profits from research outside of their teaching salary, universities become more and more privatized. One of the most infamous examples of such practices is when Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, gave Berkeley $25 million over 5 years to fund basic research in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology… in exchange for one-third of the department’s discoveries, including projects funded by state and federal sources. This growing trend has been detrimental to public universities’ relations to whom they are supposed to serve—the public. By partnering with companies, some universities and professors are becoming more concerned with profit than providing a quality education to students. One of the biggest industries that has been collaborating with research universities is the biotechnology industry. “Both the Cohen-Boyer discovery and the rise of Genentech generated immediate ripple effects throughout the academic world. Venture capitalists began scouting academic labs for promising new research. Pharmaceutical firms signed large-scale sponsored-research agreements with academic biology departments (Washburn 56).” It is these types of private deals with public schools that have brought on major criticism from academics. Though research may benefit the professors, it focuses too much on making money rather than focusing on solving problems for the sake of improving society and the public.

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