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A critique of the idea of the entrepreneurial university

CHEF Lunch Talk by Wesley Shumar, Drexel University, United States.

11.07.2018 | CHEF

Dato ons 05 sep
Tid 12:00 13:00
Sted Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media, Aarhus University, Building 1483, Room 656. Video-link to DPU, Emdrup, room D120.


Since Burton Clark’s 1998 book, Creating Entrepreneurial Universities, there has been various discourses discussing the idea of the entrepreneurial university. These discourses tends to bifurcate along a pro/con binary, interlocutors are for or against the entrepreneurial university. Overall, the discourse, either pro or con, tends to define the entrepreneurial university in similar ways. First, and foremost, the entrepreneurial university is seen as an instrumental institution meeting current (primarily economic) needs. But even more, entrepreneurship in this context tends to get conflated with neoliberalism, consumer capitalism and corporate capitalism.

This presentation will suggest that the equating of entrepreneurship with capitalism, while understandable, is in fact quite incorrect. It is understandable because some of our most prominent entrepreneurs have become major capitalists. This presentation will suggest that this happens more because of the social system and not as a result of the essence of entrepreneurship.

Further the presentation will put forward the thesis that entrepreneurship, as the agentic process of creating new value (all kinds of value and not just instrumental value) is in fact the opposite of the corporate capitalist process. Current universities are neoliberalized, and their structures are deeply influenced by the structures of corporate capitalism. But they are not entrepreneurial.