Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Stefani Relles

Second Committee Member

Vicki Rosser

Third Committee Member

Blanca Rincon

Fourth Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Number of Pages



In three studies, I examine corporatization and faculty labor in higher education. The first study is a critical review of the intersecting bodies of corporatization and faculty labor literature. I reviewed literature that describes how higher education institutions have been reshaped into organizations that more closely resemble for-profit corporations, then connected that to literature describing how labor policies that has altered the professoriate. The second and third papers, therefore, explored how corporatized faculty shapes student outcomes and faculty productivity.

The second paper is an embedded case study of corporatization based on the perspectives of contingent faculty. Findings revealed contingent faculty experienced the double-edged sword of autonomy, which freed them from many responsibilities and oversight but also alienated them from other faculty activities. Using complexity theory as an analytic framework, individual, agent-level interactions mostly excluded contingent faculty from the academy. Exclusion is grounded, in part, in the historical memories of higher education institutions which—via academic norms, policies, and relationships—reify non-tenure-track faculty as casual labor. The third paper is an embedded case study of corporatization based on the perspectives of tenure-track faculty. Findings revealed tenure-track faculty were under constant pressure to publish and pursue funding, which they described as a blend of physical and psychosocial stressors. Using academic capitalism as an interpretive framework, tenure-track faculty were entrepreneurs incentivized to pursue remunerative research activities, even as short-term gains—funding, prestige—exacted a significant toll on wellness. Although framed as entrepreneurs, faculty nevertheless are disincentivized away from risk.


Academic capitalism; Corporatization; Non-tenure-track faculty; Tenure-track faculty



File Format


File Size

824 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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