Higher Education Inc.: the personal andprofessional dilemmas of environmental educators undertaking research with/for private corporations
Davis, J & Ferreira, JA 2006, 'Higher Education Inc.: the personal andprofessional dilemmas of environmental educators undertaking research with/for private corporations', Australian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 39-47.
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We are living in an era of market-driven, globalised economies characterised by reduced public investments in what, until now, have been considered public goods and services. In Australia and elsewhere, education, and higher education in particular, has seen steady declines in government funding. This has prompted universities to become much more entrepreneurial and to seek out new funding opportunities to support their teaching and research activities. This paper reflects on the personal and professional dilemmas and challenges we faced as two early career environmental education researchers who were commissioned to undertake research for a private corporation. As a result of issues raised during this process, we engaged in a critical reflection of our perceptions and feelings about our involvement in the project. In essence, dilemmas and challenges centred around two issues: (1) control/ ownership of the research; and (2) the clash between corporate and university values. This paper explores these issues and suggests that greater mindfulness on the part of individual researchers as well as the development of better university-corporate partnership processes and protocols might provide useful starting points for overcoming such dilemmas and for moving forward with university-corporate research partnerships.