Jennifer Washburn

Jennifer WashburnJennifer Washburn is a freelance journalist based in New York City and a fellow at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy institute located in Washington D.C. whose purpose is to bring promising new voices and ideas to the fore of America's public discourse. The talk she presented at the Mid-West Association of Graduate Schools was based on a cover story she co-authored with Eyal Press in the Atlantic Monthly in March of 2000, also titled "The Kept University." Last year, this article was awarded the National Association of Science Writers' "Science-in-Society" journalism award.

Prior to joining the New America Foundation, Ms. Washburn was a fellow at the Open Society Institute in New York City, where she examined the growing privatization of the public sphere. Before that she served as a senior research associate at the World Policy Institute, a foreign policy think tank housed at the New School University in New York City. Ms. Washburn's journalism articles and opinion pieces have appeared in a range of publications, including the American Prospect, the Journal of Commerce, Ms. magazine, Mother Jones, and Washington Times.

Jennifer Washburn: Hired Education. A hidden culprit in the Drug scandals: the increasingly corporatized university

Jennifer Washburn: Hired Education. A hidden culprit in the Drug scandals: the increasingly corporatized university

M. Michael Wolfe, a gastroenterologist at Boston University, admits he was duped by the Pharmacia Corporation, the manufacturer of the blockbuster arthritis drug Celebrex. (In 2003, the company was purchased by P?zer.) In the summer of 2000, The Journal of the American Medical Association asked Wolfe to write a review of a study showing that Celebrex was associated with lower rates of stomach and intestinal ulcers and other complications than two older arthritis medications, diclofenac and ibuprofen. Wolfe found the study, tracking 8,000 patients over a six-month period, persuasive, and penned a favorable review, which helped to drive up Celebrex sales.

Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn: The Kept University

Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn: The Kept University
Eyal Press is a contributing writer at Lingua Franca. Jennifer Washburn is a writer based in New York. They are both fellows at the Open Society Institute, where they are examining the privatization of the public sphere.

Commercially sponsored research is putting at risk the paramount value of higher education -- disinterested inquiry. Even more alarming, the authors argue, universities themselves are behaving more and more like for-profit companies

In the fall of 1964 a twenty-one-year-old Berkeley undergraduate named Mario Savio climbed the steps of Sproul Hall and denounced his university for bending over backwards to "serve the need of American industry." Savio, the leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, accused the university of functioning as "a factory that turns out a certain product needed by industry" rather than serving as the conscience and a critic of society. To the modern ear this sixties rhetoric may sound outdated. To many people in the academic world, however, Savio's words ring truer today than ever. Although our national conversation about higher education remains focused on issues of diversity and affirmative action, nothing provoked more debate on many college campuses last year than the growing ties between universities and business -- and nowhere was the debate livelier than at Berkeley.

Jennifer Washburn: The Tuition Crunch. For low-income students college is increasingly out of reach

Jennifer Washburn: The Tuition Crunch. For low-income students college is increasingly out of reach

A four-year college degree has become all but a necessity for getting ahead in the information age. Since the 1980s the average real income of workers with only a high school diploma has fallen, while salaries among those with at least a college degree have risen: they now earn 75 percent more than high school graduates. At the national level, having a highly educated work force is critical in order to sustain our technological edge in the global economy.

Jennifer Washburn: The Kept University

Jennifer Washburn: The Kept University

In the fall of 1964 a twenty-one-year-old Berkeley undergraduate named Mario Savio climbed the steps of Sproul Hall and denounced his university for bending over backwards to "serve the need of American industry." Savio, the leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, accused the university of functioning as "a factory that turns out a certain product needed by industry" rather than serving as the conscience and a critic of society. To the modern ear this sixties rhetoric may sound outdated. To many people in the academic world, however, Savio's words ring truer today than ever. Although our national conversation about higher education remains focused on issues of diversity and affirmative action, nothing provoked more debate on many college campuses last year than the growing ties between universities and business -- and nowhere was the debate livelier than at Berkeley.

Jennifer Washburn: Don't Kill the Goose

Jennifer Washburn: Don't Kill the Goose

In asking the university to become more commercial in its orientation, we must not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Since passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980, which encouraged universities to patent federally funded inventions, university-industry collaborations have exploded. Universities operate their own venture capital firms to finance start-up companies, hold equity in professors' companies and seek to generate royalty income from their faculty's research -- all of which has brought commercial imperatives directly into the heart of academic life as never before.

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