The Key Implication of the 2006 Spellings Commission Report: Higher Education is a “Knowledge Industry” rather than a Place of Learning?

By Fernando F. Padró.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The 2006 Spellings Commission Report wants to formalize a paradigm shift regarding the purpose of higher education in the USA. Colleges and universities are part of a knowledge industry and no longer places of learning where learning can be pursued for its own sake. The new paradigm is utilitarian in nature because vocationalism is more pronounced than before in the name of consumer need to know and the nation's need to maintain its economic competitive edge. The purpose of a college education is to be measured by improved individual rates of return on their investment and the degree of social benefit (and revenue generated) from the commercialization of research and other college-based activities (Scott, 2003). This paper is a discussion of how the impact the Spelling Commission and previous reports have on defining instructional and organizational performance excellence on campuses.

Keywords: Spellings Commission Report, Knowledge Industry, Knowledge Economy, Four Academic Freedoms, Globalization, Higher Education Paradigm

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp.97-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 560.188KB).

Dr. Fernando F. Padró

Associate Professor, Education Leadership, Education Leadership & Special Education, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA

Fernando Padró specializes in quality assurance, higher education systems, and faculty governance. His research interests include institutional quality assurance at universities, the role of accreditation, and organizational psychology of universities. He is a former Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner and is a Project AQIP reviewer for The Higher Learning Commission.


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