Tag: marketization

Recorded seminar on consumerism in American higher education

We are delighted to share with you another seminar recording from the research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional dynamics and Knowledge cultures). HEIK is a research group located at the Faculty of Educational Sciences in University of Oslo, the coordinating institution of Hedda.

Professor Christopher Morphew  (University of Iowa)

Professor Christopher Morphew
(University of Iowa)

This time, we are pleased to feature professor Christopher Morphew from University of Iowa who visited University of Oslo in June 2014 and gave a presentation titled: “Academic Consumerism: The American Advantage?

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The presentation will draw from several recent articles by Professor Morphew.

Please see: 




Guest blogger: How students become consumers of higher education

Dr. Joanna Williams
(University of Kent, UK)

In this post, dr Joanna Williams from University of Kent (UK) argues that there is a complex process by which students adopt a consumer perspective to higher education, and it is not merely tuition fees that contribute to this. 

The entry draws on her recent book “Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can’t Be Bought“, London: Bloomsbury. 

Recent news reports suggest the true cost of a university education for English students may be close to £100,000. It is perhaps not surprising then that students are increasingly described as ‘consumers’ of higher education (HE) (see Brown: 2011 and Molesworth, Nixon and Scullion: 2011). In Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can’t Be Bought I argue that the payment of university tuition fees (currently £9000 each year for English students) is a symptom rather than a cause of students being considered as consumers. Students are constructed as consumers both before entering HE and while at university by a range of government policies and institutional practices, many of which pre-date tuition fees paid by individual students. Indeed, students were first referred to as ‘customers’ of HE in government publicity in 1993, five years before they were required to pay any fees at all (see the Conservative government’s 1993 Charter for Higher Education).

Students are constructed as consumers from the moment they first begin to think about attending university. Government-sponsored websites offering guidance to school children present university as mainly concerned with future employment and material reward: ‘Higher education could boost your career prospects and earning potential … on average, graduates tend to earn substantially more  … Projected over a working lifetime, the difference is something like £100,000’. The government’s perception of the benefit of HE emerges clearly: it is to enable youngsters to get a job and earn money. Education is presented as an essentially private investment from which material rewards can be accrued. The ‘good consumer’ will shop around to choose the university that will most efficiently yield the highest return on their investment.




New HEIK working paper on changes in English higher education

The research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional dynamics and Knowledge cultures) from the University of Oslo has recently launched the third issue of the HEIK Working Paper Series. The working paper series features papers on various issues related to higher education research, both from HEIK members and selected national and international guests.

The paper is titled “The regulated market and the process of change in English higher education: Lessons from Oxbridge” and is written by prof. Ted Tapper. Professor Ted Tapper has extensive experience in the fields of political science and higher education. He was a long time professor at the University of Sussex, and holds a research professorship at the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies. One of his core interest areas has been on the relationship between education and politics and he has extensively published on system level governance and policy issues related to higher education.

You can view the abstract and download the paper here.




EU and USA: Different pathways to marketization?

The US higher education system is frequently stated as the prime example of a market oriented system, whereas the broadly speaking ‘European’ tradition of higher education has traditionally been closer to the state.

The US system is now increasingly seen as the ideal, due to international rankings being topped by prestigeous American research universities and due to the high amounts of revenue from innovation in the US. There seems to be an implicit assumption that ‘more market’ (whatever that then means) will help universities become more competitive, more responsive and in the end have a positive boost to the economy all over the world.

The debates in Europe have become increasingly instrumental, where the focus on market, revenue, competitiveness, innovation and so forth is becoming central. This is visible in the current EU policy rhetoric, where the “innovation gap” with the US and fear of emerging economies becoming major forces is quite visible. And this is only to be solved through a substantial change in the idea of how universities in Europe should function. The EU is becoming a central player in advancing this agenda, and they recently announced a substantial increase of EU funding available for education and research, providing reason to assume that the EU involvement will definitely not decrease. Despite this focus on competitiveness, there is also reason to suggest that the pathway towards more innovation and more market oriented universities is still somewhat different in Europe




International Higher Education Podcast- Episode 20

British Higher Education, Change and the Market

Episode 20 of our podcast series features an interview with Professor Roger Brown as he discusses change in higher education systems, comparisons between higher education in Britain and the USA and finally higher Education and the Market.

Listen to the podcast!


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Professor Roger Brown

Professor Roger Brown

Professor Roger Brown is Co-Director for the Centre of Higher Education Research Development (CHERD) at Liverpool Hope University. He is an  Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Education at London Metropolitan University and at the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Studies.

He was former Vice Chancellor of Southampton Solent University. Prior to his previous roles at Southampton Solent University, he was Chief Executive of the Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC). Before moving to higher education, he held various posts in central and local government.

His most recent book, Higher Education and the Market, was published in May 2010.