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The Links Between Universities and the Broader Economic System

In this week’s readings, we read articles about the interconnections or links between higher education and the broader economy of the nation-state, in this case, the United States. Higher education, specifically, universities and colleges, have always play a significant role in shaping the economic landscape of a nation. In fact, the two extremes; that is, higher education and the economy are two aspects of the same coin and they can affect each other overtime. The following paragraphs are summaries of the main points that were briefly discussed in each articles related to the role of universities within the broader context of the economic system.

Galuszka’s made a compelling argument that state-run institutions of higher education have provided proven track records of excellence in various disciplines that are offer on their campuses specifically in Virginia and California. He asserted that there have been signification decreases in funding for state-run universities and colleges, which have impacted the cost of tuition imbalances between instate and out of state students. He added that this new paradigm has contributed to the low acceptance rate of instate students over out-of-state students who tend to pay more tuition. Galuszka also added that allowing the market to determine the price of college education is detrimental to the economy and institutions at large. However, economic liberalists would argue that allowing the market to determine the cost of tuition follow by less government intervention in the educational sector and other systems would promote efficient and competitive universities nationwide and in the long run, it would benefit the economy, a view that Galuszka’s article did not seem to agree with.

The Robertson’s article takes a similar approach, but asserts that in the midst of the declining funding for state colleges and universities and the current instability of the global economy, there is a need to restructure how financing higher education should be addressed. Unlike Galuszka, Robertson argues that allowing the market to determine the cost of college education would be an effective mechanism for colleges and universities to sustain their current programs and services in the midst of this harsh and unstable global economy.

The Stephens and McCauley’s article focuses on the utilization of sustainable green clustering and socio-technical transitions model as a mechanisms for effecting positive change in achieving sustainable energy transitions. The goal of their study is to enhance and promote the advancement of the socio-technical transitions towards green energy sustainability for regional development building one the theoretical frameworks of agglomeration of economies in relations to their proximity. In view of the widespread and universal occurrences of sustainable green clusters, Stephens and McCauley concluded that, it is essential to consider the advantages the model is worth and not just the promotion and enhancement of the green economy paradigm. They added that it sets the pace for achieving and facilitating the way for a more energy sustainable future.

The Kamenetz’s article on “College on Credit” dives into the issues and challenges of college financing by exploring increases in the cost of college education and how the cost of college education have skyrocket over the years. He argued that even though the cost of college education continue to increase almost every year, little has been done to restructure the process and product of the process. That is, the usual instructional environment in most colleges and universities where we still have the professor-centric approach in which a professor leads the instructional process and in some cases with minimum technological interventions; that is, with the use of PowerPoint presentations. He also noted that the increase in the cost of college education in recent years can be attributed in part to the retrofitting of college campuses and the inclusion of some technologies, modernized food courts as well as sport centers and libraries to make these campuses more accessible to the market of incoming college students. 

Works Cited

Galuszka, Peter (2011). "The Invisible Hand of William & Mary?" Washington Post

Kamenetz (2006). Chapter 2: College On Credit."

McCauley, S. M and Stephens J. C. (2012). "Green energy clusters and socio-technical transitions: analysis of a sustainable energy cluster for regional economic development in Central Massachusetts, USA." Springer, Sustainability Science, Vol. 1, No. 1. ISBN:1862-4065


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