The Corporate University, an extension of corporate research–Good? Doubtful

I haven’t read the book, “The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the University”, but this discussion of the goals of education seem relevant to our system of medical education. I’ll be getting it soon. This, from a review in the NY Times:

“There is an important difference between learning which is concerned with the degree of understanding necessary to practice a skill, and learning which is expressly focused upon an enterprise of understanding and explaining.”

Forty years ago medical professors were engaged in education and research. Their educational goal was to train physicians and medical researchers. Their research goal was to understand and explain medical issues. At the time relationships between researchers and the medical industrial complex were discouraged and frowned upon. One had the sense that such relationships were unethical and broke down objectivity in research. Money from the companies was somehow tainted.

Guess what they were right. Today our system runs on conflicts of interest. Universities and their staffs seem more concerned with outside activities. obtaining lucrative patents, and business relationships than teaching. They are no longer institutions of “higher” learning, rather they are institutions of higher income.

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