Student orientations to learning in a marketized environment: Disciplined learners, disinterested consumers, or distorted constructions?
Nickolai, Daniel H.
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Recent scholarship suggests today's higher education institutions are embroiled in a steady process of marketization resulting in profit-oriented, capitalistic behaviors on the part of faculty and administrators, and consumerism on the part of students. However, little empirical research has systematically investigated the degree to which different groups of students actually express these attitudes. In this dissertation, I address several general questions: What defines student orientations to learning? Have consumer attitudes replaced or displaced traditional student orientations to learning? And to what extent do these attitudes vary across groups of students from different subject areas or at different stages in their academic career? This research makes contributions to several bodies of scholarship including the educational literature on the relationship between marketization and students and the organizational literature on the influence of institutional change on social actors, while also highlighting general implications for the sociology of teaching and learning.