In speaking about the tensions that exist in contemporary post-secondary institutions such as culturally diverse classrooms and challenging students with tasks they resist, Brookfield (2015) proposes that the “market-driven, organizational effectiveness paradigm that has taken hold in higher education” (p. 3) compounds these tensions. In their study of the corporatisation of community colleges in the United States and Canada, Levin, Kater, and Wagoner (2006) find that faculty are expected to contribute to institutional productivity and efficiency as well as to local economic development. Corporatism they propose is bound up with neo-liberal ideology where control is transferred from the public to the private sector. This study concludes that faculty are: pressured to accept larger class sizes, subject to a growing percentage of part-time and non-regularized employment and must tailor their curriculum to business, industry and students. The implication is that students become customers and political and economic agendas loom large (p. 115).
I have almost forty years of experience with Selkirk College. I attended the College in the first half of the 1980s, taught there in early 2000s and now run the Teaching and Learning Institute. Unlike Levin, Kater and Wagoner (2006) I do not see a shift from education to training. There is still a lot of education going on at Selkirk College. Having maintained relatively small class sizes (with the exception of some recent larger classes for international students) the learning environment is known as caring. The challenge, I see, is making education, for example critical thinking, open-mindedness, creativity, problem-solving abilities, explicit. An outcomes-based approach to education is being adopted at the College but some faculty have resisted making the heart of education (example of abilities just listed), which in my experience has been going on since I was a student, part of our course and program outcomes as well as associated assessments. Awareness of the need for cross cultural competencies in both staff and students is relatively new in the Region, bolstered by an enormous increase in international students in recent years and national initiatives like Truth and Reconciliation. Internationalization and indigenization are political and economic agendas but they are also vital to our multicultural society.
Levin, J., Kater, S., & Wagoner, R. L. (2006). Community College Faculty. New York, UNITED STATES: Palgrave Macmillan US.