IBM and the Universities
Universities cherish their academic freedom above all else. Academic freedom gives them the ability to explore ideas and make pronouncements (wise or foolish) that are unthinkable in other venues. A set of initiatives by IBM breaches the separation between businesses and academic curriculums — to the detriment of both the universities and IBM.
IBM funds some college courses and dictates, at least in part, what the students will study. Instead of professors offering their best judgment based on research, the courses instill IBM theories and IBM methods into the students:
In the past two years, IBM has been drilling its priorities into graduate and professional schools to help ease its transformation from a manufacturer of hardware and software to a provider of what it calls "solutions" and "services," including consulting and support services. The Armonk, N.Y., company has even developed a new academic field: "Service Sciences, Management and Engineering," or SSME.
The universities surrender their academic freedom for money; at least they receive a return. But IBM will receive less, not more, for their pains. By reversing the traditional disaggregation between university studies and the doctrines of IBM, IBM forgoes the benefits: instead of receiving new ideas along with their crop of newly-hired graduates, they will receive employees pre-programmed with IBM's internal theories. In this program, IBM looses even more than the university does.
Topics: · business · education
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