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Academic Fault Lines

The Rise of Industry Logic in Public Higher Education

American public higher education is in crisis. After decades of public scrutiny over affordability, access, and quality, indictments of the institution as a whole abound. Campus leaders and faculty report a loss of public respect resulting from their alleged unresponsiveness to demands for change. But is this loss of confidence warranted? And how did we get to this point?

In Academic Fault Lines, Patricia J. Gumport offers a compelling account of the profound shift in societal expectations for what public colleges and universities should be and do. She attributes these new attitudes to the ascendance of "industry logic"—the notion that higher education must prioritize serving the economy. Arguing that industry logic has had far-reaching effects, Gumport shows how this business-oriented mandate has prompted colleges to restructure for efficiency gains, adopt more corporate forms, develop deeper ties with industry, and mold academic programs in the interest of enhancing students' future employment prospects. She also explains how industry logic gained traction and momentum, altering what constitutes legitimacy for public higher education.

Yet Gumport's narrative is by no means defeatist. Drawing on case studies of nine public colleges and universities, as well as more than 200 stakeholder interviews, Gumport's nuanced account conveys the successful efforts of leaders and educators to preserve and even strengthen fundamental public values such as educational access, knowledge advancement regardless of currency, and civic responsibility. Ultimately, Academic Fault Lines demonstrates how intrepid faculty and administrators engaged their communities both on and off campus, collaborating and inventing win-win scenarios to further public higher education's expanding legacy of service to all citizens while preserving its centrality to society and the world.

About the Author

Patricia J. Gumport is a professor of education, the vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, and the director of the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research at Stanford University. She is the author of Academic Pathfinders: Knowledge Creation and Feminist Scholarship, the editor of Sociology of Higher Education: Contributions and Their Contexts, and a coeditor of American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century: Social, Political, and Economic Challenges.

Endorsements

"An extraordinarily well-researched, well-written, and important book by one of the most eminent scholars of higher education writing today. In elegant and insightful prose, Gumport provides abundant evidence not only of the myriad causes for the rise of industry logic, but also of the many successful efforts of administrators and governing boards to preserve and even strengthen those fundamental public virtues of civic responsibility, diversity, and the preservation of liberal arts. Finding valuable patterns in the bewilderingly complex nonsystem of US public higher education, Academic Fault Lines is comprehensive and informed by rich qualitative research."

- D. Bruce Johnstone, Emeritus Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo, coeditor of Universities and Colleges as Economic Drivers: Measuring Higher Education's Role in Economic Development

"A comprehensive, conceptually coherent, research-informed portrayal of the remarkable transition toward industry logic in all sectors of higher education during the late twentieth century. Gumport's writing is some of the best I've seen in our field: clear, concise, and evocative but also appropriately qualified and rigorous. The chapters on the nine case study campuses are perceptive and convincing. An important contribution."

- James Hearn, University of Georgia, coeditor of The Public Research University: Serving the Public Good in New Times

"This is a tour-de-force review of institutional and sociological theories that interprets college case studies of the ascendancy of industry logic over a 30-year time period. With a focus on social discourses of campus administrators and faculty and detailed document analysis, Dr. Gumport creates a nuanced account of the way industry ideologies unevenly shaped campuses' academic restructuring."

- Adrianna Kezar, University of Southern California, author of How Colleges Change: Understanding, Leading, and Enacting Change

"While acknowledging that higher education in the United States has been moving during the last few decades from an academic to a more commercial 'logic,' or rationale, Patricia Gumport marshals in-depth evidence from nine case studies of a diverse set of colleges to point out that changes undergone by colleges are much more varied and nuanced than is widely recognized. Calling on not only her extensive scholarly and research skills but also a decade of upper-tier administrative experience, Gumport has crafted a thought-provoking examination of the power and potential of skilled administrators and faculty leaders to shape their own fate."

- W. Richard Scott, Stanford University, coauthor of Higher Education and Silicon Valley: Connected but Conflicted
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Hardback
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Other Titles by Patricia J. Gumport

American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century, fourth edition

edited by Michael N. Bastedo, Philip G. Altbach, and Patricia J. Gumport
Mar 2016 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$69.95 USD - Hardback
$32.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$32.95 USD - Electronic book text

Sociology of Higher Education

edited by Patricia J. Gumport
Jun 2007 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$59.00 USD - Hardback
$31.00 USD - Paperback / softback

In Defense of American Higher Education

edited by Philip G. Altbach, Patricia J. Gumport, and D. Bruce Johnstone
Jul 2001 - Johns Hopkins University Press
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$32.00 USD - Paperback / softback

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