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 placeswhere 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
An illuminating view of both good and bad results in a market-driven educational system.
-- David Siegfried Booklist
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
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
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
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 Alcalá Sacramento Bee
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
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
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
David Kirp's Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line is more than a breath of fresh air: it is a healthy slap upside the head to academics who think they are immune to the grubbing and grabbing of raw market forces. Elegant, amusing, irreverent, refreshingly written, and beautifully edited, this book shakes the scales off a purist's eyes
[Kirp] balances descriptions of the impressive successes of some experiments with a warning that the assertion "leave it to the market" is itself a political statement, "a default of institutional leadership and an abandonment of the idea of a university's mission." His concluding chapter raises all the right questions about the balance between providing for the private gain of individuals and corporations by charging market rates for the products of professors' work and protecting the common good by arranging subsides for the things that enrich society but that do not pay for themselves (like "sociology, comparative literature, and pure mathematics").
-- David W. Leslie Academe