The Self-Propagation of the Consultants


In its list of the most influential people in higher education for 2014, the Chronicle of Higher Education includes diverse individuals and just one group, “The Hired Guns: The Consultants.”

In her article on the increasing influence of consulting firms on higher-education policies and practices, Goldie Blumenstyk seems to think that this increased influence is largely a good thing: “it’s hard to argue that colleges and universities still don’t need the help. Faced with cost-conscious students, flagging state support, and challenging student-demographic trends, just about every college leader in the nation is searching for the miracle cure-all that will reduce spending and open up new streams of revenue.”

Worse, she strongly suggests that any resistance to the recommendations of these consultants amounts to an self-serving and even gratuitous obstruction of institutional progress: “Yet seemingly more often than not, when the consultants from these national firms show up promoting money-saving approaches—like…

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