American Higher Education, Leadership, and Policy: Critical by Penny A. Pasque (auth.)

By Penny A. Pasque (auth.)

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The authors are clear that the crucial function of political engagement is to connect the personal, individual good with the public good. In his revealing contribution to an autoethnographic research project of Latina/o faculty perspectives on higher education and the public good, Padilla (2008) talks about how the public and private “can easily morph into the other” (p. 13). He describes this interconnection through his own experiences as a student, migrant worker, valedictorian, admissions counselor and organizer and, through his story, reveals the ways in which the two become easily entangled throughout one’s lifetime.

Specifically, Gottlieb and Fogarty found that educational level is one of the strongest predictors of economic welfare for a city. This idea justifies higher education as a value to market economies and as a societal good. Using 1980 and 2000 US Census data, they found that among 267 metropolitan areas in the United States, “an educated workforce is a significant determinant of subsequent per capita income growth” (p. 331). 001) over 20 years. The authors controlled for any increase in labor force participation, specialization in manufacturing, size of the city, and region of the country.

Higher education scholars Rhoades and Slaughter (2004) describe the shift in the United States from an industrial to a knowledge- and informational-based economy. The authors state that this shift, coupled with a decrease in state funding, has served as a catalyst for an increase in the generation of income from institutional teaching, research, and service areas. There may be a transformation in the economy and a “blurring of the boundaries” (p. 38) between profit and nonprofit. This transformation comes from an increase in “neoliberal and neo-conservative politics and policies that shift government investment in higher education to emphasize education’s economic role and cost efficiency” (p.

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