Essay on Higher Education in a Changing Climate: Neoliberalism

Essay on Higher Education in a Changing Climate: Neoliberalism

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June 2011 marked a significant, albeit controversial period for academics in Great Britain when the New College of the Humanities (NCHUM) was unveiled to the public as the country’s first private institution of liberal arts (Gopal, 2012, p.383). Some, such as professor Grayling of Birkbeck College London, supported the college’s defense of the humanities courses through privatization, while many academics viewed the NCHUM as a business opportunity in response to students who sought an end to the public funding of liberal arts (Gopal, 2012, p.383). The controversy surrounding this establishment illustrates a number of concerns that have sprung from the seeds of the neoliberal policies for higher learning. These issues include the shift in education from a social right to a market interest, the unintended deemphasis of teaching, a lack of subsidy for humanities courses and the reduced quality of student education. If these issues are branches of modern-day academics, then neoliberalism is the root.
Before the concerns about neoliberalism’s affect on higher education can be addressed, it must first be understood what constitutes neoliberal policy. According to Martinez and Garcia of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, neoliberalism “is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so” (n.d., p.1). These policies support a number of points including, but not limited to, a liberated free market, reduced government regulation on services that decrease profits, and the privatization of public goods and services (Garcia & Martinez, n.d., p.2). What this all amounts to is a an economic shift in control from the public to the private sector, meaning more profits for the corporate...


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...a more critical perception of the humanities, but one that is nevertheless shared by many neoliberal policy makers.
the cutting in the liberal arts departments represents a trend that has manifested since the 1970s (Beech, 2013, p.1). However, the details of this ‘attack’ on the humanities were planned over the preceding 40 years by cultural economists (Beech, 2013, pp.1-2). It was not enough to simply apply the concept of neoliberalism to the arts, as the field of cultural economics emerged in order to expose culture to the dictating market forces (Beech, 2013, pp.1-2).
Authors Baumol and Bowen published the first novel-length study of economics and art in 1966 (Beech, 2013, p.2). That same year also observed the United States-based Endowment of the Arts, and was followed by a period of increased interest in the humanities from economists (Beech, 2013, p.2).

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