Universities run for, by, and with the faculty, students and staff: Alternatives to the neoliberal destruction of higher education

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  • 1 Aarhus University suwr@dpu.dk
  • 2 Cornell University djg6@cornell.edu
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Abstract

After analysing the organisational pathologies and societal ills created by the neoliberalisation of universities, the article engages in an organisational critique of the pseudo-business model currently in use. It poses as a solution the re-creation of universities as trusts, with a model of beneficiary ownership, a matrix form of organisation and renewed relations with society. For inspiration it looks to beneficiary-run organisations on the model of the John Lewis Partnership or the Mondragón University. The article explains why such beneficial matrix organisations are superior to current universities and how they offer an opportunity to recreate universities for the public good.

Contributor Notes

Susan Wright is Professor of Educational Anthropology at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. She has coordinated two EU-funded projects (URGE and UNIKE) exploring the reform of universities in the global knowledge economies of Europe and the Asia Pacific. One of these, URGE, resulted in Death of the Public University? (co-edited with Cris Shore) to be published by Berghahn in 2017. E-mail: suwr@dpu.dk

Davydd J. Greenwood is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Cornell University, U.S.A. He has extensive experience of using action research to create participatory transformations of communities and organisations. He coordinates the ‘Improving Universities’ network of thirty-seven experts worldwide that arose from the final conference of the UNIKE project and is committed to developing universities based on cooperative principles, beneficiary ownership and participatory management. E-mail: djg6@cornell.edu

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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