Eric Dahl, assistant vice president of research at UGA, and Karen Holbrook, former UGA provost and current president of Ohio State University, are two contributors to Buying In or Selling Out? The Commercialization of the American Research University. Edited by Emory University’s Donald Stein, the book brings together the comments of university presidents and others in higher education on the connections between business and scholarship when intellectual property and learning are treated as marketable commodities.
Universities were once ivory towers where scholarship and teaching reigned supreme. Whether they were ever as pure as we think, it is certainly the case that they are pure no longer. Administrators look to patents as they seek money by commercializing faculty discoveries, they pour money into sports with the expectation that these spectacles will somehow bring in revenue, and they charge for distance-learning courses that they market widely.
Some contributors to this volume write about the benefits of these connections. Others emphasize that the thirst for profits may bias the type and quality of research that is carried out.