Skip to main content
placeholder image

How we got here: The transformation of Australian public universities into for-profit corporations

Journal Article


Abstract


  • The application of New Public Management (NPM) approaches throughout the Australian higher education system (AHES) over the last thirty years has radically altered the ways in which tertiary education is administered and governed. We explore the ensuing crisis in the AHES through a focus on ‘commercial business models’ adopted by vice-chancellors and university governing bodies. We argue these models are premised on university executives acting as ‘information gatekeepers’ whereby most of the data about institutional operations are withheld from external (and especially public) scrutiny. Public accountability with respect to these neoliberal changes has been rendered problematic as the result of legislative changes to the governance clauses of universities. We consider the broader economic and cultural focus of NPM as calculative and commodifying practices that are constructed to be largely impervious to public evaluation. These regressive changes have legitimated by reducing the oversight of staff and student representatives on university governing bodies.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Guthrie, J., & Lucas, A. (2022). How we got here: The transformation of Australian public universities into for-profit corporations. Social Alternatives, 41(1), 26-34.

Web Of Science Accession Number


Number Of Pages


  • 9

Start Page


  • 26

End Page


  • 34

Volume


  • 41

Issue


  • 1

Abstract


  • The application of New Public Management (NPM) approaches throughout the Australian higher education system (AHES) over the last thirty years has radically altered the ways in which tertiary education is administered and governed. We explore the ensuing crisis in the AHES through a focus on ‘commercial business models’ adopted by vice-chancellors and university governing bodies. We argue these models are premised on university executives acting as ‘information gatekeepers’ whereby most of the data about institutional operations are withheld from external (and especially public) scrutiny. Public accountability with respect to these neoliberal changes has been rendered problematic as the result of legislative changes to the governance clauses of universities. We consider the broader economic and cultural focus of NPM as calculative and commodifying practices that are constructed to be largely impervious to public evaluation. These regressive changes have legitimated by reducing the oversight of staff and student representatives on university governing bodies.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Guthrie, J., & Lucas, A. (2022). How we got here: The transformation of Australian public universities into for-profit corporations. Social Alternatives, 41(1), 26-34.

Web Of Science Accession Number


Number Of Pages


  • 9

Start Page


  • 26

End Page


  • 34

Volume


  • 41

Issue


  • 1