The Neoliberal Transnational University: The Case of UBC Okanagan

By Whiteley, Robert; Aguiar, Luis L. M. et al. | Capital & Class, Autumn 2008 | Go to article overview

The Neoliberal Transnational University: The Case of UBC Okanagan


Whiteley, Robert, Aguiar, Luis L. M., Marten, Tina, Capital & Class


Introduction

In March 2004, the provincial Liberal government in British Columbia announced the creation of Canada's newest university, the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), (1) located in Kelowna, British Columbia/The promises were many, and the speed of Okanagan University College's (OUC) transformation from a regional post-secondary institution to a research-intensive university was both frantic and chaotic. UBCO would be connected to UBC Vancouver (UBCV) through a common board of governors, modelled on that of the University of California. UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver would each have an independent senate to 'set academic priorities for their respective institutions, based on regional needs and priorities' (MacDonald, 2004), but there would be one president and one chancellor for the two institutions. The connection to UBCV would enable UBCO to take advantage of 'one of the world's greatest universities with all the enormous assets and resource capability it has to offer' (ibid.).

Our task in this paper is to examine and discuss how and why this takeover happened by placing the University of British Columbia in context within the global market of university education, (3) where UBC increasingly functions as a neoliberal transnational university. This is part of a general change in which regions are reinventing themselves in an attempt to reposition value-added economic activities in an increasingly crowded marketplace in which competition is more intense regionally, nationally and globally. Regions no longer compete primarily within national borders and against internal fractions of the elite, but in the global marketplace and against the global capitalist class. Flexible capitalism 'is not so much global as regional in its impact', and 'regionalization is not a counter-tendency to globalization but, probably, an integral element in its operationalisation' (Munck, 2002: 83). As a result of neoliberalism and the global economy, regions are redefining themselves due to global economic pressures and the need to establish a niche for competitive advantage as the bourgeoisie searches for higher returns on investment.

Thus, we argue that UBC has actively joined with the local capitalist and financial bloc in the reinvention of the Okanagan region by setting itself up as a regional 'economic driver' (Perry & Wiewel, 2005). This arrangement has strengthened UBC's corporate power and influence by establishing a regional presence, while members of the local political and economic class now have available entrepreneurial academics in the university to aid them in the regional, national and global marketplaces of a deregulated contemporary capitalist economy.

The power bloc in the Okanagan

It was no accident that UBC should come to the Okanagan Valley. Rather, it was a carefully constructed joint effort by the Okanagan power bloc (Poulantzas, 1978) to attract BC provincial and Canadian federal government support, and to impose its political will by the establishment of a UBC branch campus in the Okanagan. UBC promotes itself as a significant economic and cultural player with a global identity, and it has now become an economic force in the Okanagan Valley region. According to former UBC president Dr Martha Piper, the new UBCO will be a 'magnet for brainpower' and will contribute some $500 million a year to the regional economy. However, the evidence suggests that UBC moved in to take advantage of the economic possibilities in the region (Poulsen, 2004; Steeves, 2005), although the growing alliance between postsecondary education and the regional power bloc was set before UBC moved in. In ,003, regional leaders initiated the Okanagan Partnership (OP) for the purpose of charting an economic (and social) course for the Valley. The region's economic development districts, OUC, the province, the Federal Western Diversification Fund, the National Research Council and Industry Canada financially backed the partnership. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Neoliberal Transnational University: The Case of UBC Okanagan
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.