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Gentrifying the University and Disempowering the Professoriate: Professionalizing Academic Administration for Neoliberal Governance

By Beth F. Baker

Abstract:

Public higher education is under threat from state disinvestment, leading to the gentrification of the university through rising tuition rates and increasing reliance on adjunct professors. At the same time, there has been an expansion in the ranks of higher education administrators, who are concerned with improving university rankings and superficial metrics of success at the cost of educational equity and shared governance. The policies and technorational systems of regulation that they champion tend to gentrify the university, making it less accessible to students from underresourced communities. I argue that the growth of academic administrators is not just a drain on university budgets but also works to erode the role of faculty, staff, and students in decision-making. The gentrification of the university depends on the technocratic erosion of shared governance in the name of efficiency and productivity.

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