“The Numbers Are There but the Attention is Elsewhere”: An Analysis of The Boyer Report



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Texas Education Review


A 1998 report from the Boyer Commission called “Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America’s Research Universities” issued a series of directives, suggestions, and critiques concerning the then-current state of undergraduate education at research universities. The document caused a minor media firestorm in the higher education and national outlets. This paper will analyze the report, the media responses to the report, and the academic articles inspired by it through the lens of the neoliberal economic models influencing higher education, encapsulated in the titular quote from the report regarding deficits in undergraduate education. We argue that neoliberal concepts infiltrated the discourse surrounding undergraduate education and provide the underpinnings for a value-added perspective on undergraduate education. We describe the historical circumstances influencing the report, conduct a poststructural analysis of the report using the lens of neoliberalism, and reflect upon the impact of the report for contemporary student affairs practitioners and faculty collaboration.



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