This is a reasonably good Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post (“College is not a commodity. Stop treating it like one”) by the president who signed my doctoral diploma at the University of Iowa a few years back. I agree with its general drift.

What it lacks, however, is an honest recognition that the vocational (commodity) turn in higher ed has largely been imposed and sustained by academics themselves. University scholars, researchers, and administrators have been willful participants, playing along and profiting quite nicely from the commodification of higher education for at least two generations.

A call like this one for the media and the public to stop treating higher ed like a commodity can’t be taken seriously as long as university faculties and administrators continue to lust after government and industry grants, and market their programs to unsuspecting potential student consumers with hollow promises of jobs and lucrative careers, if they only sign up for the right major, with often misleading or unsubstantiated job placement rates.

Academics have only themselves to blame for the commodification of higher education.