Next Stage Marketization: Perceived effects of commercial infrastructure partnerships on academic life, professional autonomy, and institutional practice in the context of UK/US/Australian/Canadian international branch campuses

  • Maryjane Nolan Bock

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


During the past several decades, higher education has undergone profound changes through internationalization, privatization, and marketization. Since many universities are now global entities operating in the style of New Public Management (NPM), there is a need to explore how this impacts the experiences of academic life. International Branch Campuses (IBCs) are interesting and complex sites because they represent various dimensions of marketization in both organizational structure and management. This study focuses on IBCs specifically those that are entered into private equity/commercial infrastructure partnerships. The intended aim of the research is to provide insight into how academics perceive the effects of marketization on academic life, professional autonomy, and institutional practice. The primary academic literature is focused on the wide-scale implications of the marketization of higher education. Therefore, this study examines the theoretical literature at the micro-levels of institutional practice and professional experience. Using a critical realism paradigm, the research approach is dynamic, drawing on both grounded theory and multiple case studies. Instruments of data collection include semi-structured interviews and participant reflective responses, which are examined using a critical thematic analysis approach. The analysis suggests that the organizational qualities of a commercially partnered IBC may foster an environment where the effects of marketization and NPM are more pronounced, and critical and creative practices are less likely to be encouraged due to curriculum standardization, deprofessionalization, and efforts to involve faculty in sales and retail practices. As a result, the study recommends long-term investment in critical and creative teaching and more transparency through the reporting and publication of institutional and financial data.
Date of Award17 Jan 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHugh Lauder (Supervisor), Mary Hayden (Supervisor) & Richard Watermeyer (Supervisor)

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