Premises, promises, and perils of the Academic Potemkin Village
Increased competition for students and financial resources has contributed to a managerialist perspective in higher education. In this competitive landscape, institutional decision-making may prioritize choices perceived as rational imperatives to the forces buffeting higher education, bringing unintended consequences when they are driven mostly by short-term, marketing-based, revenue-enhancing considerations. In their efforts to “look good,” such institutions risk becoming Academic Potemkin Villages where symbolic façades are erected to impress relevant stakeholders at the risk of overshadowing core missions of learning and research. Exploring the Academic Potemkin Village metaphor, we examine its premises (factors that are pressuring higher education), its promises (the seduction of building various symbolic façades to respond to those pressures), and its perils (the impact on institutions, faculty, and students). We then suggest ways of building out Academic Potemkin Villages into lasting and unique collaborations, re-focused on the core values of higher education.
Dean, Kathy Lund; Fornaciari, Charles J.; Bento, Regina; and Asarta, Carlos, "Premises, promises, and perils of the Academic Potemkin Village" (2020). Management and Leadership Faculty work. 68.