Scholars and Entrepreneurs: The Universities in Crisis

Cooper, Simon

Simon Cooper, John Hinkson and Geoff Sharp (eds) Scholars and Entrepreneurs: The Universities in Crisis Arena Publications, 2002, 318 pp. ISBN: 0-9598181-6-2 (pbk) Australian universities are in crisis. That is the premise of all 13 of the contributions to this collection, which forms a special double issue (numbers 17 and 18) of Arena Journal. For the last two decades, and in a similar way to universities in the UK and elsewhere, they have had to contend with tighter budgets for both teaching and research, a rapid expansion in student numbers, with a consequent decline in the staff-student ratio, and increasing casualisation. The collection is divided into three parts. Part 1 reprints four articles originally published in Arena (Arena Journal's forebear) in 1988, in the immediate aftermath of the so-called 'Dawkins reforms', which initiated the transformation of Australian universities. Part n contains five chapters offering 'perspectives on the university today', while Part in considers 'the university and global restructuring'. The four pieces in this final part are all written by editors of Arena Journal-including one by each of the editors of this particular collection-but it is not otherwise entirely clear to me what distinguishes them from those in Part II. Clearly, I cannot deal here with every chapter individually. Instead I will pick out some of those sections I found most interesting, before turning to some general criticisms.

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