It is argued that higher education institutions are part of a knowledge industry feeding a knowledge economy. One of the positive consequences of making education the key to future economic prosperity is a pronounced interest in access, affordability, learning, and benefits to individuals and society at large. However, there is the negative consequence of national interest potentially overriding individual preferences as exemplified by government efforts to steer students toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in order to generate the intellectual capital needed to fuel national economies. Such efforts place higher value on the aforementioned academic disciplines while de facto de-emphasizing others that are not seen as direct contributors to the national well-being based on extra- and intra-institutional allocational directives generated to meet these expectations. What happens to disinterested research? Creativity, an intended consequence linked to economic gain, however, is a subjective act based on individual interaction with the surrounding environment. To be creative, individuals must enjoy what they are doing, not worry about failure, or be self-conscious among other things (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Limiting preferences revisits Snow’s (1959) concern about the dissonance between disciplines, restraining the impact that interdisciplinary has on intellectual capital. This paper explores how a university’s transition to an element of the knowledge industry threatens student freedom to learn (Lernfreiheit) by indirectly limiting disciplinary choice and creativity as defined by discovery or through innovation and refinement.
|Keywords:||Academic Capitalism and Corporatization, Autopoiesis, Creativity and Flow, Intellectual Capital and Knowledge Industry, Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit, Policy Steering|
Associate Professor, Education Leadership and Special Education Department, Monmouth University, Tinton Falls, New Jersey, USA
Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, School of Education, Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA, USA
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