Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education


How can you turn an English department into a revenue center? How do you grade students if they are "customers" you must please? How do you keep industry from dictating a university's research agenda? What happens when the life of the mind meets the bottom line? Wry and insightful, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line takes us on a cross-country tour of the most powerful trend in academic life today--the rise of business values and the belief that efficiency, immediate practical usefulness, and marketplace triumph are the best measures of a university's success.

With a shrewd eye for the telling example, David Kirp relates stories of marketing incursions into places as diverse as New York University's philosophy department and the University of Virginia's business school, the high-minded University of Chicago and for-profit DeVry University. He describes how universities "brand" themselves for greater appeal in the competition for top students; how academic super-stars are wooed at outsized salaries to boost an institution's visibility and prestige; how taxpayer-supported academic research gets turned into profitable patents and ideas get sold to the highest bidder; and how the liberal arts shrink under the pressure to be self-supporting.

Far from doctrinaire, Kirp believes there's a place for the market--but the market must be kept in its place. While skewering Philistinism, he admires the entrepreneurial energy that has invigorated academe's dreary precincts. And finally, he issues a challenge to those who decry the ascent of market values: given the plight of higher education, what is the alternative?

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The New U

Part I: The Higher Education Bazaar
1. This Little Student Went to Market
2. Nietzsche's Niche: The University of Chicago
3. Benjamin Rush's "Brat": Dickinson College
4. Star Wars: New York University

Part II: Management 101
5. The Dead Hand of Precedent: New York Law School
6. Kafka Was an Optimist: The University of Southern California and the University of Michigan
7. Mr. Jefferson's "Private" College: Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia

Part III: Virtual Worlds
8. Rebel Alliance: The Classics Departments of Sixteen Southern Liberal Arts Colleges
9. The Market in Ideas: Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
10. The British Are Coming-and Going: Open University

Part IV: The Smart Money
11. A Good Deal of Collaboration: The University of California, Berkeley
12. The Information Technology Gold Rush: IT Certification Courses in Silicon Valley
13. They're All Business: DeVry University

Conclusion: The Corporation of Learning


Reviews of this book:
An illuminating view of both good and bad results in a market-driven educational system.
--David Siegfried, Booklist

Reviews of this book:
Kirp has an eye for telling examples, and he captures the turmoil and transformation in higher education in readable style.
--Karen W. Arenson, New York Times

Reviews of this book:
Mr. Kirp is both quite fair and a good reporter; he has a keen eye for the important ways in which bean-counting has transformed universities, making them financially responsible and also more concerned about developing lucrative specialties than preserving the liberal arts and humanities. Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line is one of the best education books of the year, and anyone interested in higher education will find it to be superior.
--Martin Morse Wooster, Washington Times

Reviews of this book:
There is a place for the market in higher education, Kirp believes, but only if institutions keep the market in its place...Kirp's bottom line is that the bargains universities make in pursuit of money are, inevitably, Faustian. They imperil academic freedom, the commitment to sharing knowledge, the privileging of need and merit rather than the ability to pay, and the conviction that the student/consumer is not always right.
--Glenn C. Altschuler, Philadelphia Inquirer

Reviews of this book:
David Kirp's fine new book, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line, lays out dozens of ways in which the ivory tower has leaned under the gravitational influence of economic pressures and the market.
--Carlos Alcal', Sacramento Bee

Reviews of this book:
The real subject of Kirp's well-researched and amply footnoted book turns out to be more than this volume's subtitle, 'the marketing of higher education.' It is, in fact, the American soul. Where will our nation be if instead of colleges transforming the brightest young people as they come of age, they focus instead on serving their paying customers and chasing the tastes they should be shaping? Where will we be without institutions that value truth more than money and intellectual creativity more than creative accounting? ...Kirp says plainly that the heart of the university is the common good. The more we can all reflect upon that common good--not our pocketbooks or retirement funds, but what is good for the general mass of men and women--the better the world of the American university will be, and the better the nation will be as well.
--Peter S. Temes, San Francisco Chronicle

Reviews of this book:
David Kirp's excellent book Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line provides a remarkable window into the financial challenges of higher education and the crosscurrents that drive institutional decision-making...Kirp explores the continuing battle for the soul of the university: the role of the marketplace in shaping higher education, the tension between revenue generation and the historic mission of the university to advance the public good...This fine book provides a cautionary note to all in higher education. While seeking as many additional revenue streams as possible, it is important that institutions have clarity of mission and values if they are going to be able to make the case for continued public support.
--Lewis Collens, Chicago Tribune

Reviews of this book:
In this delightful book David Kirp...tells the story of markets in U.S. higher education...[It] should be read by anyone who aspires to run a university, faculty or department.
--Terence Kealey, Times Higher Education Supplement

The monastery is colliding with the market. American colleges and universities are in a fiercely competitive race for dollars and prestige. The result may have less to do with academic excellence than with clever branding and salesmanship. David Kirp offers a compelling account of what's happening to higher education, and what it means for the future.
--Robert B. Reich, University Professor, Brandeis University, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor

Can universities keep their purpose, independence, and public trust when forced to prove themselves cost-effective? In this shrewd and readable book, David Kirp explores what happens when the pursuit of truth becomes entwined with the pursuit of money. Kirp finds bright spots in unexpected places--for instance, the emerging for-profit higher education sector--and he describes how some traditional institutions balance their financial needs with their academic missions. Full of good stories and swift character sketches, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line is engrossing for anyone who cares about higher education.
--Laura D'Andrea Tyson, former Chair, Council of Economic Advisers

David Kirp wryly observes that "maintaining communities of scholars is not a concern of the market." His account of the state of higher education today makes it appallingly clear that the conditions necessary for the flourishing of both scholarship and community are disappearing before our eyes. One would like to think of this as a wake-up call, but the hour may already be too late.
--Stanley Fish, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the University of Illinois at Chicago

This is, quite simply, the most deeply informed and best written recent book on the dilemma of undergraduate education in the United States. David Kirp is almost alone in stressing what relentless commercialization of higher education does to undergraduates. At the same time, he identifies places where administrators and faculty have managed to make the market work for, not against, real education. If only college and university presidents could be made to read this book!
--Stanley N. Katz, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Princeton University

Once a generation a book brilliantly gives meaning to seemingly disorderly trends in higher education. David Kirp's Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line is that book for our time [the early 21st century?]. With passion and eloquence, Kirp describes the decline of higher education as a public good, the loss of university governing authority to constituent groups and external funding sources, the two-edged sword of collaboration with the private sector, and the rise of business values in the academy. This is a must read for all who care about the future of our universities.
--Mark G. Yudof, Chancellor, The University of Texas System

David Kirp not only has a clear theoretical grasp of the economic forces that have been transforming American universities, he can write about them without putting the reader to sleep, in lively, richly detailed case studies. This is a rare book.
--Robert H. Frank, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University

David Kirp wanders America's campuses, and he wonders--are markets, management and technology supplanting vision, values and truth? With a large dose of nostalgia and a penchant for academic personalities, he ponders the struggles and synergies of Ivy and Internet, of industry and independence. Wandering and wondering with him, readers will feel the speed of change in contemporary higher education.
--Charles M. Vest, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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This Little Student Went to Market
Nietzsches Niche The University of Chicago
Benjamin Rushs Brat Dickinson College
Star Wars New York University
The Dead Hand of Precedent New York Law School
Kafka Was an Optimist The University of Southern California and the University of Michigan
Mr Jeffersons Private College Darden Graduate School of Business Administration University of Virginia
The Market in Ideas Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The British Are Comingand Going Open University
A Good Deal of Collaboration The University of California Berkeley
The Information Technology Gold Rush IT Certification Courses in Silicon Valley
Theyre All Business DeVry University
The Corporation of Learning

Rebel Alliance Classics Departments in the Associated Colleges of the South
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Acerca del autor (2003)

David L. Kirp is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of fourteen books, most recently Almost Home: America's Love-Hate Relationship with Community.

Jonathan VanAntwerpen is Director of Communications and Program Director at the Social Science Research Council. He is editor of The Immanent Frame, an SSRC blog on secularism, religion, and the public sphere.

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