Academic And Social Infrastructure Of The Higher Education System

961 Words Dec 14th, 2016 4 Pages
"Organizational imperatives" are the interests determined by universities to ensure their survival and reputation in the higher education system (Armstrong and Hamilton 2013: 19). Three primary imperatives—solvency, equity, and prestige maximization—significantly pressure universities to adopt an academic and social infrastructure that simultaneously fits the interests of students with their own (Armstrong and Hamilton 2013: 19, 20). Universities achieve solvency with the help of tuition revenue and state funding that make higher education more affordable to students. Deep state budget cuts, however, has led to a major increase in tuition and large-scale recruitment of upper and upper-middle-class, out-of-state students who bring in more tuition dollars. These students—identified as either “socialites” or “wannabes”—fit the “party pathway” which involves forming social connections with similarly privileged peers who can provide job opportunities and high-status potential partners (Armstrong and Hamilton 2013). Full participation in the party pathway guarantees a fun-filled college experience and engenders a reproduction of privilege desired by these students. Therefore, socialites and wannabes prioritize their social lives over academics.
Equity is central to the missions of universities to ensure that all qualified students, especially those from less privileged backgrounds, have equal access to higher education. Universities that fail to commit to equity lose their…

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