The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them

Event Date: 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Event Location: 

  • Third Floor-Regency Ballroom
  • Hyatt Regency Columbus
  • Ohio
  • Talk

Conference Title: ASHE 2016 Conference - Higher Education & the Public Good

Talk Title: The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them

Newfield believes that we’ve misdiagnosed the problems confronting higher education. The accepted wisdom says that universities have sheltered themselves from market discipline. Universities should be more like businesses—efficient, goal oriented, and run with a keen eye on the bottom line. Newfield will show in his talk how these assumptions are exactly wrong. He will argue that market discipline is not the solution to university troubles but its leading cause—that market discipline is damaging the private and the public value of universities. Newfield will argue that public universities have a privatization disease, and they are paying the high price of privatization, which shifts money away from the educational core. Universities have been destabilizing their finances, raising costs to students, creating a national debt crisis, and lowering educational quality, all because of a set of interlocking decisions that academic managers make. He will show how these negative effects serve as causes for each other, and lock each into place in an ever downward spiral. He will offer steps we can take toward a cycle of recovery to reposition higher education as an essential institution in 21st century civil society.