For years now, private corporations have been bombarding their way into the realm of public, post-secondary education. It started with the oil companies BP and Chevron, along with other Big Oil companies, who would fund university research to release studies that would effectively play into the company’s agenda.
Pulling from the same playbook, JPMorgan Chase is has placed its sights on creating its own financial Ph.D. program, reports Inside Higher Ed. And professors at the University of Delaware, where JPMorgan wants to implement the program, have serious objections to the endeavor.
The bank has already had strong ties to the school since 2009 and helped the Univ. of Delaware establish and fund the Institute for Financial Analytics and also helped business school dean Bruce Weber readjust the program to make its graduates more competitive in the job market. Having such a huge financial player enhance and broaden the advantages of students wanting to go into its industry is an admirable act.
However, the relationship between a private corporation and a university should not go past the goal of simply giving students a better advantage in life. And wanting to institute a corporate-designed curriculum breaks that relationship and could create a conflict of interest.
“The real issue is that this is not a gift or contribution to the university, but one of those insidious ‘partnerships’ that deans and university presidents like so much,” Sheldon Pollack, Univ. of Delaware professor of law and political science, told The Atlantic. “Universities have to have some backbone and resist pressures from outside contributors, who almost always want to influence what is taught or how.”
Such an arrangement, as described by Pollack, would also close the gap between academic institutions and its donors, while also skimming opportunities for students and potential employers.
“JPMorgan people would sit on Ph.D. doctoral committees,” continued Pollack, speaking to The Atlantic. He also noted to Inside Higher Ed that “It just puts other banks at a disadvantage — you wouldn’t be able to send students to Goldman Sachs.”
Basically, JPMorgan would be creating its own, possibly highly-expensive, little training camp, as it grooms crop after crop, trying to commodify brilliant, young minds.
Before this plan gets off the ground, the proposal has to be reviewed by the proper academic committees and then will be placed before the Univ. of Delaware’s University Faculty Senate for a vote.